The First State of Decay Was Slept On.
(AfroGamers.com) I got my Xbox 360 several years after it released. I mainly got it to play titles from that generation.
There were no first party games I wanted on Xbox and by that time since the bulk of the games on a console could be found on competitors. Then I saw State of Decay. It still wasn’t enough to move me to go Xbox but there was a particularly cheap one on eBay so I got it.
The first title I snagged was Saints Row 2 and NHL 10, two titles that were three or four years old by this time. I was so intrigued by State of Decay that I got it on launch. While not the best zombie survival game out, it showed a ton of potential.
Just Enough Plot
So, the game starts with two friends on a camping trip in a fictional valley town. It could’ve been a small rural county but the world—while large compared to your character’s scale—was fairly small. The zombies first appear during this trip and you have to make your way out of the camping grounds.
Once you do escape, you’ll arrive at a rural church that conveniently has a brick wall around it. Here, you’ll find other survivors who are banding together. This is when the adventure into this world really begins.
This opener obviously serves as the tutorial for game mechanics. A few other mechanics pop up later in the game but the bulk of the important ones you’ll need are explained here. Like most zombie games, the main objective is to not get killed by the flesh eaters and to eventually escape.
Meeting The Neighbors
There’s just enough story there and an endgame in place to keep you playing. Things are fairly routine: scavenge, craft, clear locations, set traps, and help your fellow survivors. That’s roughly it.
First thing, each survivor who joins you have their own skills as well as strengths and weaknesses. These are often tied to the occupation they held prior to the zombie apocalypse—as expected. On top of that, the condition of the settlement and the supplies situation all determine the overall mood.
Your radio dispatcher will give you missions to handle. Early on it’s mostly finding more survivors but she’ll tell you to gather more supplies as well. Basically, what you’re already out in the world doing. Bringing more survivors in typically means helping them with a situation such as boarding up their home and fending off a zombie horde.
This is implemented decently. The main problem is in that first time you get into these kinds of horde situations. They can seem to last forever and chances are that you’re running through medicine and being rough on your weapons.
After knocking that out, you have to get these survivors all the way back to your compound. So, make sure you have a car nearby. Don’t walk to these quests because it’s almost as if State of Decay will punish you for doing so.
Home Sweet Home
Developing your settlement or base is important. You have to be able to grow food and make weapons and ammo. Also, you’re going to need places for everyone to sleep and it’s a good idea to have sentries on watchtowers since zombies will occasionally climb over the fence.
If you’re running low on food, the mood is going to be low. Should other survivors die, the others will become depressed. Then again, some become depressed when everything is going well. Some of your survivors will decide to run away and lucky you, you’ll have to go and find them.
Now, if they don’t climb over the fence, consider it a good day because eventually a horde will be inbound. One of the best ways to thin out their numbers before they get to your home is to lay traps along any road leading to the base. The best way remains going into different places and clearing them out yourself.
Base building is one of the better points of State of Decay. If you’ve done your scavenging and gotten a bunch of gas, building supplies, and metal you’re in for a pretty chill time just setting up stations. It’s similar to settlement building in Fallout 4 only on a smaller scale and not as frustrating.
The story will advance once you move to a more “favorable” location for a base. I say “favorable” because the last location for your base is just trash. It’s almost as if it’s the hardest setting location since the design is so bad for getting in and out.
State of Decay: Better Than The Sequel
This game had a lot of flaws such as getting stuck, lag at unfortunate times and most importantly, bad AI. The zombies are going to do as zombies do but your survivors can get themselves into horrible situations and you’re the only one who can save them.
Oddly, this often occurs when you’re playing a favored survivor and this one scrub is often way out there and surrounded. This game would’ve benefited being able to tell survivors specifically what to do and how far to do it.
It also would’ve benefited from multiplayer since game was released in 2013 and there really was no reason for State of Decay, an Xbox title, not to have multiplayer. All of that aside, I played this game for hours and had a blast scavenging, building the base and developing my favorite survivors.
The game definitely needed more tweaking to make it less frustrating at times. I will say that for the most part, it delivers on what I want in zombie survival—more than most bigger studio zombie games. Plus, the DLC is great. Lifeline is really the open mode that should’ve been included with the game while Breakdown really presents a new, fun challenge.
You can get State of Decay on Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Steam on PC.
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.