State of Decay is not a run-of-the-mill survival horror zombie game. To be honest, that’s perfectly fine with me. While I love the Walking Dead and all things zombie (I loved zombies long before that- no bandwagon hopper here), I have to admit that I’m quite zombie-d out. In that regard, I’m over the whole -run around a linear path shooting zombies- type gameplay.
State of Decay is not without its flaws, but I feel that it offers a fresh experience that is both interesting and fun. Yes there’s an open world, and yes you can do all the usual things: run, gun, drive, level up etc. What’s really interesting about State of Decay is that there’s a lot more strategy involved. It’s not a blisteringly difficult and demanding form of strategy like you’d find in a lot of RTS games, but it is definitely there deep down.
The graphics and visuals remind me of Telltale’s version of The Walking Dead. They are certainly a lot more polished and lack the same comic-style aesthetic, but when you boil it down to the colors and style- it all seems very similar. That’s not to say the graphics are bad, on the contrary I think they are pretty damn good. Not next-gen good mind you, but good nonetheless.
Your main goal in this game is to survive. No really, that pretty much sums it all up.
Borrowing elements from games like Day Z (and the numerous clones) you have to scavenge nearby houses, buildings and structures for supplies. There are a whole slew of different supply types you can gather like medical, food, construction, ammo and more. You always have a choice to take large size packs of goods back to your home base, or you can scrap them for usable supplies like weapons, molotovs or medicine. If you’re busy scavenging a wide area, you can even call in support from a “runner,” who leaves the home base gathers the supplies you scouted and then returns. Before you can call for a runner though, you need to clear out the area by eliminating all the undead.
Throughout your game, you can also take on various missions and quests which bring you all over the world map. There are a bunch of different missions to do. Some of them see you completing tasks to make the home base a better place to live, while others have you rescuing more survivors. There’s a lot more to it than that, and some of the missions offer a surprise here and there.
What I find extremely addicting are the strategy elements that require you to keep up with your supplies. You must never stop bringing them back to the home base. It’s really just a rinse and repeat cycle where you keep exploring and returning home. Though, inbetween doing that you can upgrade your base with various facilities. After a while, you’ll run out of room which means you’ll need to upgrade to a bigger space. That’s where the fun comes into play, as you need to locate a new home and establish outposts along the way.
While you’re not playing the game, and by that I mean while you’re doing things in real life the in-game world will still progress. When you come back to State of Decay, things will have happened. Supplies will have depleted, survivors will have perished and days will have passed. I feel this adds weight to the game world. It offers a much more immersive experience, especially when you return to find out one of the survivors -who you chose to befriend- did something stupid and died. A world where the living dead roam free is not going to be very forgiving, after all.
Admittedly, this game is not for everyone. Aside from the zombie bashing (most of the combat is done with melee weapons), the rest of the game is fairly slow paced. This is definitely not an in-your-face action game like the Call of Duty franchise. Nevertheless, if you want to try a new experience and you love zombies State of Decay is a great candidate. The sandbox gameplay offers a lot of interesting things to do, and it’s because of that I’ll be playing this game for quite some time.
If you want to know a little more about it, then hit up another review somewhere. I will say that I noticed a lot of reviewers were a bit harsh on this game. I find that to be the case a lot lately.
Just in case you want to know, I played the PC version.