Game Review: State of Decay Allows You to Manage the Apocalypse
While there is no shortage to the number of zombie-themed survival games out there, State of Decay offers players a pretty unique perspective on the survival mechanic. And while the lack of a multiplayer feature may seem like a drag, the sing single player approach allows you to have less wildcards to deal with and be able to focus on making important decisions for the good of yourself and all the survivors who have joined you. This game is more than just shooting down zombies, it is about being being able to rebuild against impossible odds. Continue Reading
Release Date: 5th June 2013
Available on: Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows, PC Download
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Gameplay: Everyone Counts
State of Decay does follow a story –despite the open world approach, there are a few core events that can transpire if the player chooses to proceed with the storyline. Just remember that as with most zombie-themed games, the deeper the story goes, the more hell is unleashed. It is most ideal to strengthen the player’s character, fortifications, and NPC allies prior to pursuing the game’s storyline as doing so will lead to changes that will make living in this already dangerous world even more hazardous.
As one would expect of a survival game, there is plenty of scavenging, crafting, and stat-managing to be made. You will have to watch stamina, ensure having enough medicine, food, and ammunition in order to stay alive. But that is not all you will be doing. Aside from securing a good “home” location to fortify, you will also have to find other survivors and if you can, recruit them to join you. NPCs are mostly randomized units (though there are a few special ones connected with the game’s story mode that will appear when you trigger events), and the spawn locations are not pre-set.
Building and fostering relationships with NPCs is important as those who become close friends with the player character become available as secondary units to play or as companions when you go out and scavenge. In general, NPCs will help out in your base, doing small tasks or hunting for resources on their own. Players have the responsibility of ensuring the happiness and morale of everyone in the base as it is possible that NPCs would decide to leave camp. When you turn off the game, the NPCs will still go about their business, though they will not abandon you or get into serious trouble.
Delivery: Beautiful Contrasts
One of the things that people will love about State of Decay is that despite the often dark and gritty theme of dealing with zombies, the game actually looks beautiful. Well, things do get a little dark and scary during the nighttime periods of the game, but once daylight hits, the world is bright, sunny, and actually quite nice to look at. The game’s impressive graphics is most evident when you explore abandoned houses –many houses look like they have had great interior work prior to the apocalypse, and many still manage to have that sleek modern look. The character models have been given plenty of attention to as well –the animations are lifelike and smooth, allowing players to perceive the characters as living things.
The game’s user interface could use a bit of a touch up. While we appreciate the whole “messy-journal” theme going on, the overall layout of the menus feel awkward –as if they were designed for quick access with a touchscreen instead of a controller. Aside from that little hiccup however, the rest of the UI is easy to use; and this matters a lot since you will want to pay attention to the onscreen radar as it gives you an idea of the range of noise you are making when performing certain actions (such as scavenging).
The Verdict: Post-Prepper Fun
Well, we still have not gotten a game where you confront the apocalypse as a prepper (basically, you start out with a base, plenty of weapons and food, the ability to say “I told you so” to NPCs, etc), but State of Decay helps you get grounded up pretty fast –from the game’s tutorial lessons until you decide on the best location to have your main base it is an easy ride to get started. Expect plenty of mishaps (like really big ones that may get characters killed) but ride them through as they lend themselves pretty well to the overall drama of the game. So basically, yes, this game does get a little hardcore with the whole perma-death thing, but it is also quite forgiving in terms of being able to try out new things as you start out. Best of all, it plays quite smoothly; sure, the graphics are a little bit dated for a pretty recent game, but that’s a solid trade for the game’s overall performance.
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State of Decay is developed by Undead Labs.