State of Decay 2 is a True Sequel to the First, Now with Coop
Following up on the success of the first title, State of Decay 2 is a true sequel in the budding franchise. It takes what worked in the first game, adds a few new ingredients, and molds it all into a beautiful looking colony survival game with terrifying hordes of zombies. While I didn’t a get hands-on demo, I was able to witness live gameplay from one of the devs. In this demo, the home base was already built up some and several survivors were geared pretty well so I can’t speak too much on how the game will start, but I can imagine it will be similar to the first.
We began by going over the current roster for the colony. Each person had a unique set of traits that defined their potential contribution to survivor life. These traits were limited in the first SoD but now there’s close to a thousand unique characteristics that survivors can start with or develop over time. Most seemed to be what you imagine: a former athlete can run faster, a former farmer can build a planter, a heavy drinker won’t work as many hours as the others, etc. At its core, SoD2 is a resource manager where people are a limited and precious resource so finding survivors with desirable traits is key for the longevity of your colony.
In the next phase of the demo, we saw what the addition of a much-desired feature would look like. If you find yourself in need of a hand, you can fire a distress flare to summon a friend or anyone else looking to help. The co-op feature was heavily requested in the first SoD and was made a priority for SoD2. By having a friend join in on your adventures, you can scavenge through an infested town much easier. We didn’t see any special combos you could pull of with a partner, but there are some neat tricks that involve holding a zombie and having your friend beat down on it with a pipe. It seems like an overall positive experience when having someone to watch your back. You do risk making more noise with another person, but as long as you can fight intelligently it shouldn’t be a problem.
Noise really becomes an issue when building up your headquarters. Bringing in more survivors is great for defense and productivity, but more additions and labor in the base will generate more ambient noise that will signal raids. Having only seen a single raid it’s hard to tell what all of them will be like, but it seems like the trend will likely be a trickle of simple zombies, followed by a deluge of simple zombies, followed by a mix of easier and tougher zombies, followed by a boss of some type. During these raids, your fellow survivors will take up arms and defend against the oncoming waves. It might also be a good idea to signal for a friend at the beginning of a raid for backup; however, death is permanent for everyone, including your friend. If you join a friend’s game to help and you die, that character and all of their gear are lost.
The procedural generation of characters and the map will lead to hours of creating my own unique survivor stories, but unfortunately, we’ll all need to wait till sometime next year to experience State of Decay 2.