State of Decay 2 is an open world, zombie survival game developed by Undead Labs. Released in 2018 on PC, Xbox One and is also on PS4, this game was a refreshing take on the over-done zombie genre by introducing camp mechanics and having a team of survivors you could switch between.
An interesting aspect of the game is you first start out choosing a pair of characters who come with a bio and background. Siblings, a lesbian couple, a pair of best friends, post apocalyptical lovers, each come with their strength and weaknesses. In my playthrough I had picked the siblings brother and sister. You then bump into other characters through your journey and build up a camp. Sometimes they are extremely loyal to working for the greater good of the camp. Other times, they might have their own ideas to rule over the camp, which can create intrigue and tons of variety within the story itself.
The Story as such is very loose fitting, as it unfolds itself as you naturally drop into role playing your character. There are other camps. Some friendly looking for allies and will occasionally ask for your help. Others are hostile and would rather take you down than befriend you. Zombies are varied but they are sometimes the least of your worries.
The gameplay itself is well polished, the right balance between horror and a free roam survival game. There are scarier games out there, but you care more for the survivors in this one than you do when you are just going through a horror ‘experience’.
The graphics are decent, though nothing too ground-breaking. Emphasis has really been poured into the vast variety of experiences and replay-ability there is in this game.
Gun mechanics, social impacts within the survivors and the foraging mechanics are all remade in a refreshing way. I personally am tired of the Zombie survival genre, but this is truly a unique experience.
The characters you play also grow tired as you use them. Eventually this leads to their stamina shrinking over time but is recharged once they have rested back at the base. This means that you are encouraged to use different survivors, each with their own skills and attributes, even if some of them are the less “team spirited”.
1 great feature of the game is the (up to) 4 player online co-op. You can use the survivors of your camp to go and join in with others. Note that if one of your survivors dies in someone else’s world, they are dead in yours as well! This Co-Op element does not impede on the development of the story between your characters and adds a lot more fun in the game. It is pretty cool driving in a small convoy of cars around the zombie apocalypse, drifting round the corner, surrounding some gas station where a zombie horde are and taking down the horde to help make your survivors at home feel safer and happier!
Complexity = 7 /10
There is a fair amount to get your head around before you have a group of happy campers. There is then always the impending threat of a horde attack and infinite things that could happen to keep you on your toes throughout your playthrough.
Story = 9 / 10
I enjoyed the in depth characters both in your camp and those you would meet elsewhere. I feel that these are the driving plot points that make every playthrough unique and difference. This is quite a high rating considering there isn’t just the typical singular story that is traditionally is in games, proving that a sandbox game environment like this, with minimal plot points with no precise end can still be compelling and good.
Gameplay = 8 / 10
Gameplay is smooth, though the cars do not feel properly weighted. The game can be quite punishing at times. There are very few glitches present in the game, if any. All in all a well made game. Graphics are equally good, but not as stunning as a triple A title.
Online = 9 / 10
An enjoyable co-op environment. I have only ever played with people I know so from that perspective its really good to help one another’s camps out. Once in the game there are no real bugs or issues with the gameplay elements. All in all, very stable and enjoyable.
Overall = 8.5 / 10
A well made survival game that re-define the zombie survival genre. There are no other games like this to this day so if you’ve not played it, I do recommend it. Even more so if you have people to team up with. Every playthrough is different, every experience varied.
The game is available on steam for £25, and £20 on Xbox store (a £5 discount currently ongoing).