State of Decay PC Review – “Great Zombie Survival!”

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State of DecayDeveloper: Undead Labs
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platforms: Steam, XBLA
Release Date: November 5, 2013 (PC) June 5, 2013 (XBLA)
Price: $19.99 US (PC Version)

I am not exactly a fan of zombie survival games with few exceptions, this includes Left 4 Dead 1 and 2, as i believe there is not much left that developers can offer when it comes to zombies and the classical downfall of humanity due to an epidemic, virus or evil company behind it.
During my gaming sessions it was hard to let the control pad go. I have to say i greatly enjoyed State of Decay and the immersive world it presents to the players, it will leave you craving not for brains, but more of the addictive gameplay the title has to offer.

Story
There’s not much to it, you are one of the many survivors, finding other people and trying to gather clues as to what or why this started, sadly not much backstory of why this apocalypse is taking place.
The interesting bits come from talking to survivors and learning their stories, seeing how people gather and try to remain civilized with a dose of humanity and conscience in this hellish zombie infested world.

State of Decay

Grow crops, upgrade your base

Gameplay
State of Decay is a open world environment game in which you can explore, roam all over the place, loot and go crazy, doing whatever you want, until you realize that it’s quite pointless. Pointless, so what’s the point? Well, the game is not about your own survival but to meet and help the other survivors you encounter in this world.
What makes the game stand out from other games is this sense of community and helping others to survive the zombie apocalypse. The more survivors you find and help, your reputation grows, once you have certain status people will listen to you and can help decide on defenses, stuff that needs to be done in the community, etc.
Morale and health of the survivors is important, there will be missions in which you take one survivor with you to smash zombie skulls to help him/her with frustration which will increase morale. Finding supplies, not only to eat or in search of medicines or ammunition, but also to gather materials to upgrade your strongholds.

You can say this is a core simulation with a lot of depth to it, including your character perma death, yep.. die and your stats and hard work go away with it. If this happens you control a different survivor, so be sure to keep your brain away of the zombies in search of nom noms.
Exhaustion, injuries and sickness are things to keep an eye on, sometimes you have to switch and play a different survivor until your character recovers strength. Nice mechanic and adds variety to the game, playing and leveling different survivors is something i liked.

State of Decay

Hordes can be dangerous, specially at night

Hordes roaming in the street will make you plan your movements and routes, be careless and you can find yourself trapped in a roof or behind a fence surrounded by tons of zombies that will not stop until you are dead. Here the stealth mechanics come handy, to avoid zombies and survive the streets.
Helping survivors to defend a stronghold wave after wave of zombies or going into a house to stop an infestation is intense and challenging, especially when some mutant zombies are present. Screamers will make you will lose balance with their cries, which will attract zombies around the area, good luck if a horde joins the party! Defeating the zombies and putting an end to the infestation is intense to the utmost

Can’t say that the combat is special or memorable, rather pretty standard. The usual melee and gun, i wish we were able to combine and create weapons like in Dead Rising but alas. You need to take care of weapons as they will easily break, ammunition is scarce, so careful going gunblazing, that’s a no no. Same goes for the cars, they will not respawn so you will have a limited amount of vehicles at your disposal, they can be fixed if your stronghold has enough upgrades built, so take care of those cars, valuable and limited resource.
Control pad is the way to go, being a console port it is obvious it’s the way to play it. I found the controls responsive and easy to learn. I highly doubt you can play it better with a mouse and a keyboard.

Audio
Fairly standard and not so remarkable voice acting. Zombies moaning or screaming in the far distance will keep you nervous when you explore the town, especially if you’re away from your base and it’s night time, have to say this was nicely done!

Graphics
Being a port from an XBLA game the graphics are not spectacular, but certainly better than the console release. Jaggies here and there and some textures popping from time to time but nothing game breaking.
One of the best things they did was to add a day/night cycle, away from your base, scouting and looking for supplies in the dark, oh man that’s pretty frantic!

Downsides
As i commented before, one of the weak points is the story, weak and almost non existent, i wish there was more deep to it, discover more of the zombie origin and the downfall of humanity.
Originally the game was plagued with tons of bugs, glad to say Undead Labs has been pretty active fixing and nailing them down.
Noticed some zombies clipping on walls here and there but seems that’s nothing compared with earlier builds of the game.

State of Decay

Easy to use inventory and upgrades system

Overall
State of Decay managed to bring a unique and captivating gameplay experience to a market saturated with zombie games that in some cases are mediocre and contribute little to the genre.

Plus a dedicated team to fix bugs, it’s nice to see that Undead Labs is concerned with improving the port for the PC version. If you’re not a fan of the zombie survival genre, i can’t say that this the game for you, but on the other hand if you like zombies, this is right up your alley.

Can say that the game exceeded my expectations, didn’t check the console version so didn’t know what to expect, thought it would be generic, i came across a great game. The final verdict is it’s a pretty good game, you must try it!

Giving it 8.5 riceballs out of 10!