State of Decay 2 is the perfect game for anyone who’s ever sat around discussing with their mates what they’d do in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
We’ve all had those conversations. What you’d pack, who you’d bring and how you’d survive. Thanks to Undead Labs and State of Decay 2, instead of just talking about them, you can bring those scenarios to life.
State of Decay 2 follows on from 2013’s State of Decay. In the first game, players got to experience the end of the world as it happened. In State of Decay 2, the zombies have won and now survival is your only option.
Following a quick tutorial level, you’ll find yourself in a dangerous open-world. Supplies are scarce and staying on the move forever isn’t an option. Instead, you’ll need to establish a home, build a community, recruit new people and keep everyone safe.
State of Decay 2 is part third-person shooter, part survival game and part base builder/resource management. There’s a lot going on in State of Decay 2. Keeping track of everything is a big ask. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fall behind. Which you will.
State of Decay 2 Review
The majority of your time in State of Decay 2 will be spent exploring the open-world in third person. Occasionally you’ll be driving vehicles, but for the most part, you’ll be on foot, running and sneaking around.
It’s a good thing then that the third person mechanics in State of Decay 2 are super solid. Your character has a health and stamina gauge which will be depleted through damage and exertion and can be semi-permanently affected by status effects.
Sprinting, jumping and attacking will all deplete the stamina bar, once it’s empty you’re incredibly vulnerable until your stamina recovers or you fill it back up with a consumable. The same goes for health. Except that it will only be depleted through damage.
Characters also have a limited capability for carrying items. Without a backpack, characters can only equip a backup weapon, a melee weapon, ranged weapon and rucksack as well as having two slots to carry items.
Backpacks increase your carrying capacity to between six and eight extra items slots. However, by carrying a backpack you weigh your character down, making them more susceptible to stamina reductions, fatigue and zombie attack.
Can you cure the Blood Plague?
Using ranged weapons — i.e. guns — won’t use any stamina, but it will make lots of noise. That noise will draw in zombies from all around and if you’re not careful you can be overwhelmed.
Guns also require precious ammo and undergo wear and tear when being used. In fact, all weapons get worn down as they’re used and will eventually break. Once broken, they can’t be used until they’re repaired. And while they’re in your inventory, broken and useless, that’s one less spot for you to pick up helpful loot.
Melee uses a significant amount of stamina and it’s your main form of combat. Sadly, it’s not great. Don’t get me wrong, it works well enough and isn’t hard to grasp. It’s just that every encounter eventually gets reduced to a button mashing experience as you slash at zombies until they’re all properly dead.
You can learn some new moves through upgrades, but they don’t significantly improve things. Thankfully, the stealth kills are awesome and easy to perform. They’re really the best way to go about taking out zombies anyway. Stealth kills are silent, quick and require minimal stamina. They also don’t do any damage to any of your weapons.
State of Decay 2 is all about balance, as you might have guessed. While you’re exploring the open world you need to balance what you’re carrying and what you can bring back. You need to balance your health and stamina, ammo, weapons and loot.
Once you get back to your base, you’ll need to balance Food, Water, Medicine and your community’s happiness. You can improve your base by building special facilities like a workshop, infirmary, rain collector and so on.
These facilities all help to keep your community up and running and also to give you the supplies you need. With each base, you’re able to acquire a number of outposts that will provide you with supplies per day. The number of outposts you can have is directly related to how far you’ve upgraded your home base’s command centre.
It’s a lot, isn’t it?
There’s a lot to learn about State of Decay 2 and a lot to keep track of. Like I mentioned earlier. There’s always something to do, something to find and something to fix. The main gameplay loop sees you explore, loot, build and repeat.
It’s a shallow loop and it does tend to get a little old after a while, but there are plenty of missions to tackle and other survivors to help.
The driving force of State of Decay 2’s narrative is finding a cure for the Blood Plague. Plague zombies are spreading the virus which infects humans and eventually kills them. One of your characters will be infected at the very beginning, sending you on your first proper mission.
Plague Zombies are also responsible for constructing plague hearts all over the map. Destroying these Plague Hearts destroys the Plague zombies and in turn, makes the area far safer. Plague Hearts are the ‘end-game’ activity in a way, as they represent the toughest challenge you’ll find while out and about.
Other activities you can take part in are clearing infestations, defeating wandering hordes, trading with other survivors and working to complete your home base. After a certain point, you’re able to move on from your base and travel to an all-new region. It’s hard to say goodbye, but once you do, you can bring your best survivors with you when you start all over again.
State of Decay 2 Electric Boogaloo
Aside from all the other activities, you can take part in, you also gradually improve your characters simply by using them. The more you shoot, the better you get. The same goes for running, fighting and everything else.
Once you’ve fully levelled up a skill you can specialise in it and gain an additional skill. These RPG style elements once again feed into the balancing act that is State of Decay 2. You’ll need just the right amount of everything at all times to make sure your community runs smoothly.
It’s not without its issues, but State of Decay 2 is certainly worth the low price of admission. The polar opposite of Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2 offers so much for players to do that they’ll almost never run out.
They will, of course, start to repeat many of the activities, but there’s always something new lurking around the corner. Just make sure you’re stocked up and ready every time you leave your base.
Otherwise, you’ll never make it.
For addictive, zombie apocalypse simulators, you can’t do better than State of Decay 2.
tate of Decay 2 was reviewed on PC and Xbox One using a digital code provided by Microsoft.
Game Title: State of Decay 2
Live out your Walking Dead fantasies - 9/10
Loot, Kill, Survive Repeat, Repeat, Repeat - 6/10
Janky melee combat - 6.5/10
Great ideas and a good base for the future - 8.5/10
State of Decay 2 is essentially a post-apocalyptic survival simulator.
Players will get to experience what life might be like if zombies wipe out modern civilisation, which is, let’s face it, something we’ve all thought about.
Managing a community, scavenging supplies and trying to stay alive are all part of State of Decay 2 though I did start to want more from it the more I played.
The gameplay loop is great, but it’s also pretty short.