Undead Labs / Microsoft Studios (studio)
22 May 2018 (released)
02 June 2018
It’s been a long time coming and a moment where Microsoft could show gamers, their fans and Sony/Nintendo that they’re capable of producing high quality exclusive content.
Well, I’m pretty disappointed.
Now don’t get me wrong as I loved the original State of Decay, spending many hours on building my bases, scavenging for loot and beating Zombies to a pulp. There was a strange charm to State of Decay and while buggy and a little broken in places, it was captivating. Now we’ve got the sequel and I feel like I’ve been sucker punched.
State of Decay 2 is a zombie themed survival game, where players will take control of various PCs who’ll explore, scavenge and kill zombies in order to live as long as humanly possible. Players will need to care for their survivors as this game is extremely soul crushing as it features perma-death. So when your characters get eaten by zombies or killed by other NPCs, then that’s it. This dynamic made the game much more immersive and highly innovated when it came to the genre.
This sequel takes many elements from the original and indeed builds and improves on certain mechanics to make a stronger, more robust experience for the player. Building bases and outposts is much more flexible, with an expanded roster of areas you can now upgrade and build. Managing your community is also given some light polishing as its much clearer on displaying survivor needs and navigation through menus and inventory screens is smoother than the original.
Otherwise, the big addition here is the multiplayer, which should’ve been put in the original game. It is nice to have a friend join you in your game and help out, but I would’ve been happier if there was a greater focus on co-op. I feel for a sequel there should’ve been dynamics when it came to the campaign in both single and multiplayer. Having more than two players in a single game would’ve been nice and even a bold idea to have large communities made entirely from players, joining forces to loot, kill zombies and build.
State of Decay 2 feels as though it has the frame work for a multiplayer game but lacks any decent multiplayer principles. This is my biggest issue with the game is that it’s hardly an improvement over the original. I feel as though we’ve been cheated a little as this sequel is more likes a 1.5 version of the original game. Visually the game looks decent, has the same great foundations which made the original game fun but in the end State of Decay 2 is an endless grind with limited multiplayer. While some aspects have been improved, there’s plenty which has not been tweaked or built upon.
The world is uninteresting, mostly replicating the original game, while weapon handling and exploration have been ripped out of the original with no modifications or additions. The big addition to gameplay is Blood Plague Zombies, which are capable of infecting survivors unless you find a cure. This is an interesting idea but nothing that’s ground breaking or would make sense as zombies by their nature, infect people already.
At least with a game like Dead Rising 3, it expanded the world, gameplay features and amount of zombies you faced against. It would’ve been nice to explore new terrains, environments, start off in different locations or just have more depth in the campaign. State of Decay 2 becomes tedious and highly repetitive after a few hours playing. More so, if you’ve already played the original game to death.
Sadly, this is disappointing. I hope Crackdown 3 will be good.
++ Compelling survival mechanics
+ Looks and sounds nice
--Same as before ... literally
- No new innovations aside