Why You Should be Playing State of Decay

Hey everyone, just a quick little post this week. Earlier this week State of Decay, a 3rd person sandbox Zombie survival game released on Xbox Live Arcade. The game, which will only set you back $20, is hands down one of the best games I’ve played so far this year. Let me give you a little breakdown as to why…

1) You’re not in it alone. State of Decay places you in charge of a group of survivors, not just a lone individual. At any point in time you can switch from one survivor to another (assuming that they are friends with each other) and start running around as them. Each character has their own physical and personality traits, with some of them being VERY adapt at surviving the apocalypse and some of them… not so much. (Having leet beer pong skills for example, isn’t going to help fend off a horde of zombies). Of course, there is nothing stopping you from picking one character and sticking with them. I did. But be warned…

This is Maya "Yoga Pants" Torres; the "main character" of my playthrough.
This is Maya “Yoga Pants” Torres; the “main character” of my playthrough.

2) Oh God! Not Bill! That’s right, much like Fire Emblem and XCOM, State of Decay features autosaving and Perma-death. So if you aren’t careful out there in the zombie apocalypse and die, then you’re not coming back. At one point, a few hours into my first play-through, I lost Maya (my favorite character) to a particularly large zombie who tore her in half. So I was forced to restart the whole game in order to try and keep her alive again. Of course, despite my best efforts I was unable to save the other “main” characters of the game (the one you start as and his best friend). So it’s safe to say that just about anything can happen.

3) So.. Much.. To do. State of Decay makes you balance a LOT all at once. In much the same way XCOM asked you to sacrifice one area to save another, State of Decay will often throw 2 or 3 different objective at you at once. If you’re fast enough, maybe you’ll complete them all. But if not… well… then be ready to lose morale with your fellow survivors (at best) or lose people to zombie hordes (at worst).

Just driving around... doing your thang...
Just driving around… doing your thang…

4) We need ammo! On top of all the tasks you’ll be asked to do by other survivors, you’ll also have to worry about keeping your group well stocked and supplied. This means savaging the houses and buildings that litter the ghost towns of the zombie apocalypse. Of course, running into zombie territory is hardly safe, and resources are not infinite. So you can’t just hold up in one location forever, as you’ll eventually run out of provision to survive. This means you can either start scavenging farther from your “safe zone” (which isn’t really all that safe) or move to a new location. Both of which have their innate drawbacks.

5) There’s too many of them! Sure most of the zombies just wander around mindlessly, but even they can be dangerous if you get surrounded by a horde of them. Noise, light… pretty much anything will attract zombies. So you have to watch yourself when you’re exploring and looking for supplies. To make matters worse, their are also “special” zombie. Bulletproof ones, feral super-fast ones, giant fat ones that can literally just pick you up and tear you apart, ones that explode into a poison gas… even ones without arms that will call in and attract other zombies (and stun/deafen your character briefly). It’s a dangerous world out there, and even a high-level tricked out character can be easily killed if you get too cocky.

The Screamer. VERY annoying...
The Screamer. VERY annoying…

6) Wait, it’s how much? For $20 bucks this game offers not only hours of playtime (around 12 on average from what I hear) but has quite a bit of replayability (as the missions and survivors you’ll run into will very game to game). Is the game perfect? No. The framerate can chuck when driving around and textures have a tendency to load slowly or pop from time to time. But the experience as a whole easily dwarfed these issues when I played it, and even added to it’s charm in a way. Perhaps the biggest draw-back to the game is the lack of co-op, which would easily make this an instant GOTY contender. Luckily, the studio behind the game wants to do co-op, but needed to see how well the game was received before they invested in it. Thankfully, the response to the game has been quite positive, and hopefully the studio will be able to kick co-op down the pipeline soon and even work on their ultimate goal: a zombie survival MMO.

This is a game that deserves to be played. Like, right now. The price, the experience… it’s easily one of the best games you’ll play this year and only cost you a little more than two movie tickets. If you have an Xbox, you need to be playing this game; I promise you that you won’t regret it!

And BOOM goes the dynamite...
And BOOM goes the dynamite…

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