State of Decay 2 is an open world zombie survival game that has been released on the 22nd May 2018. It was developed by Undead Labs and published by Microsoft Studios. It is currently available to play on Xbox One and PC, and it is cross-platform between the two. You can have up to three other players at a time join you through a co-operative mode, and this can be completely open to the public or you can keep this private and only invite your friends. State of Decay 2 is a sequel to the very popular State of Decay that was originally released in June 2013.
State of Decay 2 is much like the first game in that you have to build your community, find a base to house them, and keep them alive by gathering resources, like food, medical supplies, ammo, etc. You will complete missions to clear up the town and to gain influence, which is the in-game currency you will use to gain a bigger base, upgrade the parts to your base, trade with other survivors and buy outposts. You can also use influence to buy special weapons and buy resources if you have exhausted the area. State of Decay 2 is an anything can happen kind of game when it comes to surviving. You swap between the characters in your community and build up their skills so that you have different characters that specialize in different key aspects of surviving. For example, you may have a character that has a higher level in cardio and wits, which is great for a supply run, or you may have a character that has a higher level in fighting and shooting, which is great for clearing an infestation or horde of zombies. If you have a character that you really enjoy playing as or a character that has a lot of key skills at a high level, make sure that when you take them out on a mission that you are not out of your depth. You should think about getting another survivor to tag along as a bit of protection. As I said, anything can happen with this game, so losing characters to a sudden, horrifying death is a great possibility. It can happen to any of your characters, including the main ones that you start the game with.
With only 5 years between the two games, State of Decay 2 is very similar to the original. There are a few differences though, with one of them being at the start of the game. When you start your adventure, you get the option of who you want your main characters to be. The options of characters come In pairs of two. Some of them will be a couple, some are siblings, and they all have different skills to offer, so choose wisely. After playing the introduction to the game, you then get the option of which map you would like to start out in. You get the choice between three maps, which are Drucker County, Meagher Valley and Cascade Hills. The reason for this is to limit the feeling of repetition and to create the feeling of moving from one small town to another, as would be expected in a zombie apocalypse, and to give the developers an easy way of creating an expansion. Another difference with State of Decay 2 compared to the original is that there are new threats. We have the blood plague zombies which are more aggressive than the average zombie and can cause greater levels of infection to your survivors. If your survivor is attacked by a blood plague zombie, a meter will appear just above the mini-map that fills up with each time they hit you. When this meter is filled up, your survivor has contracted the blood plague and will need to be treated with a cure which can be created through gathering blood plague samples and at your base camp’s infirmary. With the blood plague zombies, there also comes what is called a plague heart. These are kind of like breeding grounds for blood plague zombies. They consist of big, disgusting mounds of flesh, blood and bone that pulsate to draw in hordes of blood plague zombies, and they need to be destroyed. As you destroy the plague hearts, they become more difficult.
Another new threat that State of Decay 2 has to offer is that other survivors become hostile if you ignore their requests for help. They become very aggressive and can attack your base if left to their own devices. If a group becomes hostile, there is no going back, so it is best to nip that in the bud and kill them before they attack you, and afterwards you can take all of their stuff. Everything that happens in State of Decay 2 is completely dependent on you and the decisions you make to survive. Another big difference with State of Decay 2 is the introduction of fuel for the cars and vehicles. In the original game, it was as if there was an unlimited amount of fuel and running out was never an issue, whereas in this new sequel you have to think about how much fuel you have when doing a mission or a supply run, and you must make sure you have an extra fuel can with you just in case you run out. In my opinion, this actually makes the game more realistic and makes more sense than having unlimited fuel as it makes the game even more immersive.
I have really enjoyed playing State of Decay 2 because it feels so much like the original but with the added bonus of there being more to do. There are more enemies, more weapons, new possibilities, and I get to enjoy it all with my closest friends. As I have mentioned, the game is all based on the choices you make, and I think that is what makes this game great. It is also very fun to play and extremely addictive. I found myself playing all day without realising what time it was and wondering to myself where the time had gone as there is constantly stuff that needs to be done. I would say to myself that I would do one more mission or one more supply run, and then I would turn it off and go to bed, but I would then find myself spending another hour or two playing.
The surroundings and landscapes for State of Decay 2 are beautiful, especially at sunrise or sunset when you are driving along an open road just taking in the view whilst squashing zombies with your car door. The biggest issue with State of Decay 2 is that there are huge glitches and lagging issues. This causes a bigger problem when trying to play co-operatively. It doesn’t really happen much for the host, but it can cause issues for the people joining the host’s game. It regularly kicks the joining players out of the game, and you can be standing guard whilst the host has to search for supplies when a group of zombies will appear and drop in front of you as if from nowhere. Even though it is quite rare, there are bugs where you can be driving along a road and one tiny little rock will flip your vehicle, causing it to blow up. This can be frustrating if your vehicle is full of supplies because your characters can only carry one rucksack at a time.
Overall, State of Decay 2 is fun, addictive and entertaining. It has a great humor element to it when killing zombies in different ways, and the game really makes you think about what is important when surviving a zombie apocalypse. It pushes you to be the best zombie-killing hero you can be, and the fact that it is cross-platform between Xbox One and PC gives it easier for players to be able to play with friends. The game has completely set the standard for any future zombie survival games, and there is a real feel of social gaming and community. When one of your most valued survivors dies in a horrifying zombie attack, you genuinely feel the grief and devastation, but you move on and build yourself up again. I am really hopeful that there will be more from Undead Labs within this game and for future games to come.
Developer: Undead Labs
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox One, PC
Release date: 22nd May 2018