State of Decay 2 Xbox One X Review

State of Decay 2 doesn't provide anything amazing and at its best is an average survivor zombie title.

By Grayshadow, Posted 18 May 2018

State of Decay 2 opens strong, you're in an open world against the zombie horde and other survivors and your goal is to keep yourself and everyone in your settlement alive. High-stakes are peppered throughout as you gather supplies while attempting to keep an eye out for any hostiles. Eventually, the fight for survival becomes dull as monotonous mission structures and technical issues overwhelm the adventure. State of Decay 2 starts off strong but slowly fades into a repetitive and bug ridden mess. 

State of Decay 2,NoobFeed,Undead Labs,

State of Decay 2 has you in control of multiple survivors. The stamina for each character is limited and if killed they're gone for good. Since each character has a specific set of skills and traits their death could lead to a domino effect. You'll be placed into 1 of 3 open maps depending on which group of survivors you choose. Next beings your primary goal, to scavenge the rural landscape in search of supplies, fend off zombies and other people, destroy plague hearts and cleanse the area of a diseased called Blood Plague.

State of Decay 2 can be played with up to 4 players in cooperative mode between PC and Xbox One. Together players bring back resources to the host camp but are provided bonuses to their own game, giving more reason to work together instead of trolling. In fact, during my playthrough players would actively aid in my hosted game and vice versa because of the rewards. But eventually, the game begins to highlight empty the world is.

Despite radio chatter hinting at a larger pandemic most of State of Decay 2 is limited to personal quests. You'll encounter people asking for help in the sandbox, aid them, and create your own tale. The narrative takes a back seat as the game focuses more on the individual identity for the characters around you. NPCs can build relationships and integrate themselves which is interesting.

State of Decay 2,NoobFeed,Undead Labs,

Limited, surprisingly, is the number of zombies or "zeds" you'll encounter per battle. Unlike titles like Left 4 Dead or Dead Rising, you won't see more than a dozen zeds at once. Although they can overwhelm you an experienced gamer will find these minor encounters more annoying than threatening. 

The basic zeds may not be threatening but State of Decay 2 does mix together other zombies to add tension. Feral zombies will chance you down, Bloaters will act like roadblocks that explode on impact, lying on roads waiting for you to drive over them, Screamers call surrounding zeds, and Juggernauts can soak up damage and kill in one hit.

Plagued zombies, red-eyed versions of the yellow-eyed zeds, are the most valuable zombies. They're more aggressive and infect you with a blood plague but also offer the cure. Since components of the cure are plentiful it just becomes another resource you have to gather.

State of Decay 2,NoobFeed,Undead Labs,

You won't only encounter zombies in State of Decay 2 but also other survivors. Most humans start off friendly but eventually start asking for help. If you aid them stat bonuses are provided but if you don't they'll attack. Unlike the zombies, humans are way faster and can attack from a distance.

Combat plays out as you might expect. Guns come in the standard shotguns, pistols, rifles, SMGs, and grenade launchers that sound and operate fine. Ammo is scarce so you'll rely on melee to attack most of the time. Melee involves simple button mashing but the sound of smashing a zeds head never gets old. 

Weapon durability does force you to change weapons and keep you from overusing powerful items. It's not vexing like Far Cry 2 or Breath of the Wild but occasionally I did find myself in a precarious situation because of my lack of preparation but this rarely happened.

State of Decay 2,NoobFeed,Undead Labs,

Cars handle moderately well. They operate with an arcadey touch that allows for you to plow through zeds but still have to remember to fill up on gas. Speaking of gas every car in State of Decay 2 has terrible MPG and requires constant gas, fortunately, the developers took the time to ensure that specific rest stops carry unique items tailored to that location. Expect to find what you would expect from a building just by looking at it.

As you use the characters their skills begin to grow. Running adds to your endurance, fighting boosts melee and shooting, and other unique skills can lead to new support or crafting options. This sense of progression also means keep them alive takes priority since death means losing all that progress.

Most of State of Decay 2 does focus on building and maintaining a base of operations. The board-game management allows you to place constructions such as farms to reduce the amount of food you need to find, beds to raise morale, and more. You'll still end up dedicated most of your space to essential things and since construction takes real-time replacing and rebuilding can become time-consuming. 

State of Decay 2,NoobFeed,Undead Labs,

State of Decay 2 may provide a moderately entertaining zombie surviving experience it's oversaturated with bugs. I haven't played a game with this many issues since Mass Effect: Andromeda. The game would crash, cars would flip 50 feet into the car, and zombies fall out of the sky. During multiple missions, I was faced with an immortal zed that prevented me from completing missions that required me to kill all the hostiles.

State of Decay 2 does have some appeal but for every positive, there's a big flaw. The resource gathering and survivor system can become addicting once you start gaining traction developing your camp but the myriad of issues present a lot of vexing moments. Many of the missions repeat themselves and you'll find yourself doing much of the same things throughout the adventure. Look for supplies, kill enemies, and destroy Plague Hearts. State of Decay 2 doesn't provide anything amazing and at its best is an average survivor zombie title.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Publisher(s): Microsoft
Developer(s): Undead Labs
Genres: Survival game
Themes: Zombies
Release Date: 2018

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