State of Decay 2 – Review

I enjoyed the first State of Decay game, yes it was rough around the edges, but there was potential there. There was definitely room for Undead Labs to build upon this, so when State of Decay 2 was announced way back at E3 2016, my interest peaked, mainly to see how the game was going to be improved upon over the first outing.

Fast forward to 2018 and the second iteration of the game has now been released, and in terms of content, the game has vastly improved, there is plenty for you to see and do in this game as well as plenty of places to raid and loot. One of my only issues when it comes to raiding and looting buildings is that in the world that I am in all the buildings are one floor buildings, apart from a ladder on some buildings to get onto the roof there aren’t any multi story buildings available. Which for me would have added a lot to the game.

Can you imagine, having events in which you could raid a hospital or police station for meds, weapons, ammo and have hoardes of zombies to get through to find the stuff on multiple floors. This would add a whole new dimension, tie this in with the new co-op game play that was introduced and you could use this as events for the game. Invite in friends and take on hoards in special locations. I think that would have been an epic way to help introduce the new co-op feature to the game.

As just mentioned, one of the new features to State of Decay 2 is the co-op feature, inviting friends into your world to help you salvage things and beat zombies, maybe even the hearts that are dotted around the world. I can see the idea where they were going for this and I have to admit, that I like it a lot, but I think overall the execution of it is rather poor. One of the worlds basically acts like a host, this will depend on who invited whom to the game, but overall for the person who has been invited to the game, it can be quite limiting. There are other issues that I came across with this, whenever I played the game with my wife and joined her game, there were massive frame rate spikes, which at times caused me to zip all over the place and made it unplayable for a up to a minute at a time, at which point my wife whose game was fine was having to stand there and defend me in case zombies came up, as I couldn’t move properly due to the issues encountered. This wasn’t just a one off thing either, it happened quite often and at one point, I restarted the game and it was still the same, I restarted my entire Xbox and went back in and it was still the same. I even went as far as restarted our router and both of us restarting the game and trying again… Alas, nothing seemed to sort it.

Another issue that I came across with the co-op mode is that you can feel like a lemon at times. This is mainly due to the fact that you’re unable to split up and each do separate missions, you’re unable to drift too far apart from each other. This kind of makes me feel that the co-op element was just tacked on to include something new for the game, and wasn’t really thought up properly. However, at least there is a form of co-op within the game which I guess is better than nothing being included at all.

How does the game look? It’s not bad, it’s not the best, but the style Undead Labs have gone with adds to the charm of the game, it gives us a gritty sort of look to the game which adds to the overall atmosphere. I have seen people saying how bad the game looks from watching on streams etc and there was a fair amount of comments about it, so I felt a little apprehensive about what I was going to see, however, to me the game looks perfectly fine. It has an edge to it that I like and can’t really complain about this at all.

Now, the next thing that I am going to talk about are the characters. I have found that they are quite hard to actually care about, not because they were horrible people, but just because they were so plain and didn’t really have any personality. This kind of made the permadeath situation more bearable, there wasn’t going to be any tears lost here. I will say, I still haven’t had any one killed… Yet. Been close and I was slamming on the A button and my character had a Doctor Who style regeneration and was given a small portion of health back in which I used this to run away from the situation I was in. Another thing with the characters that I found was the voice acting seemed out of place, as though they didn’t care, it didn’t seem to reflect the situation that they were in and a lot of the comments were quite throwaway in that they didn’t seem to have an effect on the group. One instance being that it came up saying that someone had started a fight or argument for whatever reason. Now, you would think that this would have caused the group morale to drop right down into the red… Nope no change. You could switch to that character and pick the person they fought or argued with and they would be happy to go out together. Now if that was me, no chance. I wouldn’t be out with the person I just fought or argued with, they might try to kill me, leave me for dead… Anything.

There is some variety to the game to mix things up for you, with Plague Hearts, Looting, helping others and base management, there is a lot of things to keep you occupied. The only annoyance is how often the game regenerates things for you to do. Especially when it comes to base management, it seems that there is always something to do to get morale up. It asks to clear infestations, so you do it, but it doesn’t seem to do any good because in the blink of an eye there are more and more. It seems like a never ending cycle which means other things don’t get done. Personally I don’t go after them as often as I used to, mainly due to the fact that there are more important things for me to be doing within the game. (In my opinion, everyone will manage their games differently)

Overall there is a lot of things that have to be done to this game, performance wise and glitches/annoyances do need to be addressed. What’s a little more disappointing to this is that the developers have just released a massive near 20gb patch, however there are still some of the same issues remaining.

I can see the appeal for those who love open world survival games, especially when mixed in with base management. I would recommend this game to anyone if you love that sort of thing, if you didn’t play the first one though I think you’re going to be highly disappointed in the state the game is currently in.

State of Decay 2 is available on Xbox Games Pass for you to try, and I would highly recommend you try it through that before buying the game. I personally like the game, it has its annoyances and issues, which I am willing to overlook because they are something which can be patched, it’s just a shame they are still there after the recent patch.

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