One of my biggest gaming fantasies has always been a “true” zombie survival game, although there have been some solid zombie games like Resident Evil, Left 4 Dead, and Dead Rising they were not what I was looking for, I always wanted this zombie game were you have to get supplies, create hideouts, outside/town setting and a true survival experience. My gaming fantasies have never come to life but thankfully! That ended this year with State Of Decay because it’s everything I wanted plus much more.
When you start up State Of Decay there is no messing around, the game throws you in to an automatic survival situation. Don’t expect tutorials or anything of that nature to be holding your hand throughout this game. Once you start then it’s up to you to survive, don’t expect to be a fully suited up specialist gunman when you start this game… You start with a stick! A STICK! As your weapon. Fighting not your thing? You always have the option to run from the hordes of zombies when it gets too crazy out there, one problem though, you have a meter opposite your health meter that is for stamina so after a while you can and will get gassed from running so if you don’t stock up on supplies or use your energy correct then expect to get eaten by some hungry zombies.
Death is a major feature of the game, there is no coming back to life in this game because once you’re dead… You’re dead! “How does that work!!??” You might be saying, well it fits in with the next part of State Of Decay I wanted to discuss, and that is the survivors. They’re two different kinds of survivors you can come across in the game, one is a survivor who is a NPC so that means this character can’t be used to progress in the games storyline, and the second kind of survivor is one who can be used in this game. Characters can be switched throughout the game whenever you want. Survivors who die can also have their equipment stolen by your survivors (Just find the icon on the map)
Choices are impactful in State Of Decay, hell one choice in this game can wind up getting your survivor killed. What makes this even more interesting is the game hardly warns you about how much a wrong choice can get you killed, while searching around in buildings looking for items that may help increase your survival chances you are told that you can search through parts faster by holding down the LB button but there is a chance that a loud noise can happen which will cause a ton of zombies to come after you, and if you’re not prepared then you can say goodbye to that survivor. The other kind of choices mix in with this next major feature.
State Of Decay has a real-time function in the game so this means literally the game never sleeps, if you have chosen to leave a mission for too long then you can face some severe consequences like a survivor leaving the group, stealing items or even committing suicide if the survivors morale level becomes too low. Completing missions will help boost morale and also stop certain incidents like the ones I mentioned from happening. You are able to leave missions for a while but if you make the choice to leave them too long then expect bad things to happen. While on the subject I thought I would make it clear that the Day/Night cycle is not in real time, each Day/Night is one hour long.
There is actually a story to play in this game, it isn’t just a pure survive as long as you can game. Along with main missions you can also do some missions that are kind of like side quests, missions will include finding survivors to join you group and clearing out infestations of buildings along with a few other side missions. The main story altogether is decent although it drops down in quality in my opinion near to the end but like always this is a non spoiler review so I will not talk about the main missions any more.
Finally there are some last features I want to talk about in State Of Decay, the first one is something I have wanted (Along with many other people) in a zombie game for a long time, and that is being able to create your own homebase, and customize it to your liking. Once you secure a home base you can have like fences or walls for example to protect yourself from the zombies. This was a really needed feature, and is something I have wanted for YEARS! Lastly there are different skills in the game that you can increase by doing certain actions like leveling up your fighting skills by killing zombies with melee weapons and the shooting skills are earned by killing zombies with different guns in the game. At certain skill levels you can add a special technique that relates to that skill.
The Final Verdict
With State Of Decay, Undead Labs managed to create a true open world zombie survival apocalypse to consoles. That type of game hadn’t been mastered until now. Although the game does have some pretty big issues (Lots of glitches/bugs in the game) most can be looked past due to how well the atmosphere, setting, and experience has been implemented. Undead Labs promises this game will be kept up-to-date (First update is already been sent for rating) and Co-Op has been said to be a very big possibly, lets all hope. The game costs $20 on the Xbox Arcade, and in my opinion that is a steal for a game that felt like it could be a $60 game. If you are a fan of zombie survival games then this one is a no brainier (Pardon the zombie pun)
+Zombie survival done right
+Lots to do/Long game
-Bugs. Lots of them
-Story got a little weak near the end