I’d heard of State Of Decay quite a bit ago and unfortunately it fell of my radar until I saw the release on XBLA yesterday. Eager to see how the game turned out, I set aside the title I had been playing and downloaded the demo. What Undead Labs has produced is an awesome open world game that after you try it out, you’ll see that the price is quite fair. I was skeptical at first, but there is a lot to do and the games progression keeps you interested.
Presuming the starting survivors aren’t randomized (I’ve only had one play through, but thanks to the generous demo that took most of my night) you start off as one of two guys on a camping trip. The game drops you right into the action as your buddy is getting mauled by a couple zombies! Your melee weapons allow you to either kill or knock down zombies so you can easily do a finishing move on them. You can also shove zombies as well to knock them away or down, which can be helpful if you’re without weapons at the moment.
So these two find their way to a rangers station which serves as your first home base in the game. From there you can spread out into the world and search nearby camp sites, cabins and buildings for survivors. The exciting thing about this is everything feels very randomized. You’re usually looking around nervously to make sure there aren’t any prowling undead out in the woods nearby. Your friend usually gives you some sort of audio cue to inform you of danger, but you do need to pay attention too. Buildings sometimes contain resources like snack food (for stamina boosts), pain killers which work as your health items, and various weapons. As you progress, you’ll unlock the ability to store items at your home base as influence points. This is basically a currency to allow you to take more of what you need, but more so take what you have earned and deserve.
As the demo goes on you’ll unlock vehicles and be able to drive across the countryside which is where State of Decay really shines. The game itself is beautiful to begin with, and getting to tour the open world is a lot of fun. On top of that it’s very much enjoyable to explore as well. Take this for example. You’re driving down the road and it’s become late at night. Everything is dark and you pull up to a gas station. Figuring you could find some supplies and burn off some of the midnight hours, you and your survivor companions hop out of your vehicle and search around. Of course, there’s zombies hidden about. Behind the cash register, presumably the store clerk lies slumped against the back of the counter. When you approach they spring to life and your companions leap on them to help you out. It’s things like this, the exploration itself, that really makes State of Decay fun.
Another thing to note is that your character is part of a group. In the beginning you can end up with about two people following you around. At least one of these characters you can switch to and play as! So you can actually decide who to control. Each character also has stats which can be raised in various ways. Fighting, cardio, firearms, there are a good mix of skills to raise. However, apparently death in game is permanent, which adds to the stress of encounters. Most are quite forgiving at the start, but as you get into bigger groups of zombies it becomes quite a real possibility to lose your characters.
I’m going to dive back in today. There is a lot to be enjoying in this title and I definitely suggest trying out the demo!