State of Decay 2 Preview
What would you do in a zombie apocalypse? How would you survive? Chances are, if you have ever consumed any type of zombie media, you have given these questions some thought. In doing so, it’s easy to simply voice your plans, but State of Decay 2 gives players a chance to live it out in gaming form. Back in April, we had the opportunity to check out a preview build of State of Decay 2 on the Xbox One X and we came away pretty impressed.
The sequel to 2013’s State of Decay, State of Decay 2 is a zombie survival game set in an open world with base-building elements and third-person combat. In addition to building a base, recruiting survivors, and finding supplies, there’s also a story to uncover. While the overall narrative for players may be similar, your overall path will likely differ greatly from other players given the randomly generated characters and events. Lastly, the follow-up title allows for the much-desired cooperative play, where players can bring their survivors over to their friend’s instanced worlds. Anything you find in your friend’s game, you can keep; however, death also follows you.
Zero to Sixty
What starts as a simple task, like searching for supplies can quickly result in a fight for survival. While on one such supply run, I came across a few buildings that had a chance of holding the resources I needed. I entered one of the buildings and began to clear it out, only to find myself surrounded as I started searching the containers. The noise made from the fight only attracted more zombies, resulting in a near-death experience.
During my few hours of gameplay, I found myself in quite a few life-or-death predicaments. Though playing cooperatively does make the game a bit easier, a particularly tricky situation left me with but a sliver of health, while my co-op partner contracted Blood Plague. Sure, while many scenarios are cleared with ease, it was very easy to get caught by surprise if you are not paying attention. During my playthrough, I found myself letting out deep breaths after particularly intense scenarios.
While the descriptor of a zombie survival game with base building elements sounds simple, the game’s mechanics and systems run deep. From the base-building elements to improving your survivors, there are several systems that require upkeep to survive and thrive. Some of these include survivor morale, resource management, and simply staying alive. On top of this, individual survivors have their own goals and needs from the community, and side quests are frequent enough to keep players busy.
We were placed in the midpoint portion of a playthrough, so our experience was limited in that sense. I imagine that a brand new playthrough would provide players with a greater sense of ownership in terms of their base, and a greater attachment to their survivors. I didn’t lose any survivors myself, though I came close a few times. I did all I could to avoid anyone dying, even with my limited attachment to these characters.
A Quiet Place?
Specific scenarios aside, State of Decay 2 played and ran well outside of a syncing issue that has since been resolved (the build was a few weeks old). The combat felt great, and the controls were intuitive enough that I figured them out in a matter of minutes. Lastly, the game looked great on an Xbox One X, and the audio was perfectly suited for the game. Noise plays a big factor, whether you’re hearing a zombie creep up behind you or roaring down the road in an ambulance with your sirens on.
Despite playing at roughly the same point of the game for hours, I never quite grew tired of the gameplay cycle. Rather, the point I was at only made me want to experience both the earlier and later stages of the game. Though single-player was my favored mode, the cooperative play worked well and was still a lot of fun. State of Decay 2 launches for the Xbox One and PC later this month, and it is shaping up to be one of the best zombie games available.
*** Accommodations were provided to attend a preview event ***