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State of Decay Review (Xbox One)


State of Decay was one of the most downloaded digital titles on Xbox Live and now it gets another outing on the Xbox One and though there are plenty of reasons why so many purchased this game the first time around, there are still an awful lot of problems.

Going into State of Decay with the expectations of so many other zombie games really did it a disservice, I went in looking to play another Dead Rising or Dying Light and the initial short fallings led to serious disappointment, especially for a game that is now a couple of years old; but after its short fallings no longer grate and the game's goals become more clear, State of Decay showed its true colours.

Released back in 2013, State of Decay was an ambitious zombie sim created by Undead Labs for the Xbox 360. In this visually updated reissue we start the game playing as Marcus, returning to dry land after a fishing trip where he finds the camp site and surrounding towns overrun by zombies. As the game holds your hand through the basics, Marcus slowly comes to terms with the reality of a zombie apocalypse and then focuses on trying to survive, at first side by side with his fishing buddy but then a catastrophe causes him to reach out to others, joining a community of survivors and ensuring that they all live through this hell on earth, working together as a team.



Initially State of Decay does feel like it sets itself up as an action title, what with a tempting selection of weapons, but it is not, this is about survival and avoiding confrontations, with State of Decay really pushing the element of risk back into zombie games as mashing an attack button as you run into a horde will only get you killed, avoidance and picking your fights is key here. Death, just like in any good zombie film or book is a constant threat, those moments where a beloved character gets caught out and torn apart, expect that here and this is where State of Decay really works, building bridges with other characters and finding their strengths and weaknesses as part of a larger team. I mentioned earlier you start off as Marcus and it is totally possible to have many survivors make it to the end, sadly in my first play through he met a bitter end, surrounded by zombies, he decided to take his own life by pulling the pin of a grenade rather than be torn apart and reborn an undead. A fitting end to a great man, the game is full of these genuinely exciting moments.

The main aim of the game is to survive and the best way is to join larger groups, the game allowing you to swap to play as other characters when stamina is low. As you control each player they have their own strengths and weaknesses to level up but you are given shared access to whatever items have been foraged and stored though these come at a cost, using influence points to purchase weapons, ammo, gadgets and health and stamina packs for use in the field. Gaining influence is quite easy, be it collecting items on runs or carrying out the many missions that pop up as you play that can involve saving a stranger, helping neighbours with supply runs or clearing out infested properties. With so many to choose from the game quickly teaches you how punishing the world has become, as even if you successfully collect some new medical kits for the camp, this may have been at the cost of a survivor succumbing to a horde, showing there is no right or wrong way, in the end survival is paramount, just make a choice and live with it.



Now in just reading the above paragraphs this sounds like an amazing zombie experience and in a way it is, with Undead Labs crafting a really brutal and exciting zombie game, offering a more "realistic" possibility as to what may happen when the dead rise. This however is only part of the picture as many of you would have already heard of the problems surrounding this game and they are in no way exaggerated. This game is riddled with bugs and glitches to the point where you have to ask about Microsoft's quality control policy. Zombies stuck in walls or just appearing out of nowhere, terrible pop up of buildings no matter what distance, context sensitive buttons not doing what they are supposed to do; these are just a few issues that can cause severe problems to your gaming pleasure; like trying to close a door in the middle of a zombie invasion but kicking it instead, resulting in losing a character or the earlier mentioned loss of Marcus, this was actually caused by a group of zombies that appeared out of nowhere, the game really does mess up all its hard work but after all this is said, I am still playing it, testament to just how enjoyable it really is when it works.

This Xbox One version comes with three game modes, the original main campaign, Breakdown and Lifeline. All have roughly the same elements, surviving the zombie holocaust by collecting finite resources and building a community but with slightly different executions with Breakdown having you locate and repair a RV, allowing you to choose a select few survivors to travel to another location and start over again or Lifeline where you take control of the armed forces in a new city, fending off zombie swarms by calling in aerial support and collecting vital resources during the down time.

During this review I have found it hard to talk about State of Decay and more about the state of the game industry, especially when a team goes back to an old game and focus on just giving it new graphics rather than fixing the real issues, but that is for another conversation and as far as this review goes, State of Decay will please fans of classic zombie movies, with its focus more on survival and community building over blood lust; the game just asks an awful lot of you in return in terms of ignoring the many gameplay issues.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: Xbox One)

Pros

+ An original zombie survival experience
+ Huge open world to explore
+ Three game modes to play

Cons

- Numerous graphical glitches
- Looks dated on the Xbox One


Edited On 29 Apr, 2015

Comments
( 8 )
superniceguy's avatar
superniceguy 2 years ago
It is still better looking than the Xbox 360 version.The graphics looked outdated on Xbox 360, for a Xbox 360 game for the time too. It is OKish to re-release the game for the next gen, but the situation is worse on PC, as people are pretty much paying for the same game twice, especially if they bought the DLC as well. This is mainly aimed at people never previously bought it. The same thing goes for Metro Redux.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 2 years ago
Metro Redux is different. 2033 Redux is a complete overhaul of the previous version. Last Light Redux is almost the same game. A better comparison would be that State of Decay on PC is the same thing as Dark Souls 2 (DX11)
superniceguy's avatar
superniceguy 2 years ago
Not really. There is more content added to this as well - new missions and new animations and rework, so comparison of Metrox Redux is still good. Although it is probably more obvious and at least they offered better discount, with Metrox Redux to begin with but nothing since. The worse offender is Sleeping Dogs (and probably Dark Souls 2 (DX11) but that has an upgrade option), that is the same game polished up (but still looks great with original PC version) with all DLC in one package
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 2 years ago
The worse offender is Human Revolution. The Director's Cut actually made the game look worse on PC. I just see Sleeping Dogs as the GotY edition
superniceguy's avatar
superniceguy 2 years ago
GOTY is usually better, as Steam usually update your original version with the GOTY version without having to pay for it.
superniceguy's avatar
superniceguy 2 years ago
Reading the YOSE FAQ on the Steam forums, the full list of changes to the Xbox ONE version on top of the graphics improvements and bundled DLC is: The gaming mechanics have been reworked, improved animations, new playable heroes, new weapons, new vehicles, a new mission type, new achivements http://steamcommunity.com/app/329430/discussions/0/618459297890153829/
Anonymous user's avatar
Jason 2 years ago
The gaming industry is a pile of steaming poo
Saddler's avatar
Saddler 2 years ago
I'm annoyed the games industry right now. Too many lazy remakes and no originality at all. Next-gen has been a massive waste of time so far and I'm seriously tempted to just sell up and forget being a gamer.

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