Game Review By NECTS
Developer > Undead Studios
Publisher > Microsoft Studios
Platform > Xbox 360 and PC
Everyone want’s to play the perfect zombie apocalypse. With every scenario picking up the puzzle to a complete conclusion in seamless route of zombie chaos. State of Decay seems to have crossroads with staying to it’s main theme. An overwhelming urge to create a false persona, but dedication to creating laughable one. With almost limitless choice on how you choose to play. That most game developers strive for, but few games like State of Decay acquire.
The setting makes sense to any zombie dilemma, it sets you in world lost to the undead. Depression lingers and grasps hold of oneself. Survivors fear for their lives, you hold them in their regards to the best of your ability. Set in a third person shooter, resembling some of the movements of a Resident Evil motor mechanics. In a sprawling open world walk-through of farmland, being connected by urban areas struck with chaos. State of Decay has the scope of a universe, to an observatory.
You begin playing as the player Marcus. Just back from a fishing trip, you notice that your homeland has changed. Zombies mark the the tree line, the inhabitants of homes and even the stalls of your most personal business. A little direction and hand holding is in the intro. But, this just sets the basics to what you can do in it’s universe. Showing your traits as a person, and the skills that can be upgraded. For example, if you go on a zombie killing massacre. Your skill of fighting will immensely increase from level 1, up to level 7. Cardio, Wits, and fighting are a few others that will be upgraded periodically. How quickly each one upgrades, is how you choose to fight. Do you run? Cardio upgrade. The skill tree is completely tailored to how interact with each situation, a nice touch!
You can also upgrade your place of residents. From a medical lab, to a library and the utmost need for lookout tower. You must scavenge to upgrade! Materials is the foundation of all the items you need. While medicine and food are important. They are seen more frequently and diminish at a faster rate of use as well. Materials are the rarity, and deep searches will occur just to acquire a small batch of them. Each section of your home, has short time abilities. The lookout can acquire the ability to snipe zombies for a while. While it usually has the effect to shoot zombies that are on the outer edge of your camp. Your distance to retaliate against the Zeds is greatly increased. Which is helpful, when a zombie horde is approaching.
The map is immense in size. Walking to the other side of the map, is unthinkable. So vehicles will be more frequently used. A player must understand, that the though vehicles are plentiful. Once they are damaged, they must be fixed or will continue to deteriorate to point of explosion. At this point, they never re-spawn. An increasing distance to a vehicle will ensue. While time management is a concern also. Every two hours, cycles from day to night setting. Zeds, which is the slang term for zombies used in the game. Are much more violent and aggressive during the nocturnal state, while they are more subtle tempered during the day. Your scavenging runs are better suited-ed during the daylight, as well as any missions. The darkness is your doom, and the game even notes the beginning of the nights sequence. Giving you a chance to finish more risky missions before the sunlight diminishes.
You play as Marcus Campbell. Born leader, who cares for some and runs from others due out of fear. But much of his past is muddied and his traits to what they should prevail. Leaving you with very few clues to any depth of him at all. Most players you come in contact with, have the same back story. With a slightly tweaked dialogue parts. Or odd tacked on stories, one character use to dress up as Santa Clause at parties. Then that’s all folks. While another has the potential for some story about her past, being she use to work on the streets selling her body. But then the story ends with her, with no conclusion. Other than a character in a relationship with her. Saying that it is best he doesn’t bring it up, which is a choice you make. But if the game thinks I am playing another 30 hours just to find out what happened on the streets. It is mistaken. Just short clippings though, you never get the whole hair cut. Once a player becomes in state of fear, your main character will lead them on a side quest. In which you will go on massacre of zombie targets, and hopefully you will get two lines of back story on them. I will note this, I never understood why it calmed their fears going out into danger. Where it leads your main character and the person scared immensely into an overpopulated area of zeds. Just plain dull though, for a game that has the potential length of 30 some hours. The character depth or story or any plot for that matter is so thin. That it breaks on the weight of a feather. That’s so distant in the delivering it’s wanting character depth. That all it quenches, is the thirst of added on tacky dialogue. Your watching a day time soap opera, that was nominated for cheesy play off sketches. A discarded script from real screen writers, that has been dubbed to look like a real one.
4.5 OUT OF 10
It’s third person survival shooter, which is one of many out their. Especially considering the trend of zombie games lately. But State Of Decay, gives you the choice to pick where you choose to go. With very light hand gestures on where or what to do next. It has the frequent repetitive radio call of telling you over and over that a certain someone wants to make a deal. Though, it never forces you to do something. It allows complete free will, and that is an increasing rarity. The combat is fluid and accurately satisfying when it doesn’t glitch. Melee is quite gory, but swift and brain splattering brilliant. While gun play is risky, and should only be attempted in the day time without a silencer, if at all. Periodically traits upgrade, on how your fight, or psychologically how you deal with personal situations. May that be helping out a survivor you don’t know, or keeping the waters smooth between factions. Again, whatever you choose tailors to the experience in some way. Which is this games strongest card it plays…..
9.0 OUT OF 10
Light textures are done very well, creating beautiful scenery at the dawn’s beginning and the dusk’s end. Some resources, have said that the engine is CryEngine 3. Which is the same engine used to create the best graphics to date of the Crysis series. But I find that the facial imagery to lack in quality, if they were using that engine. Given the time they had with game, and the full Microsoft support. They only chose to do one month of early access on the game, before releasing it on STEAM in November. The graphics were slightly tweaked to higher resolutions from it’s initial release on the Xbox 360. But it was unclear if the build quality of textures were just redefined at a high resolutions, or they did build quality on the initial release. Nonetheless, the game isn’t ugly and neither is it simply beautiful……
7.5 OUT OF 10
Of the year of 2013, I have had my fair share of glitches from games. State of Decay had most of them in it’s volume. Early access for a month before it’s full release on STEAM, as said earlier. I feel that the entirety of the month was fixated on constant glitches. In my play through of nearly 30 hours, I found my vehicle driving through zombies without hurting them. Coming to locations to start a mission, where no one is their to initiate it. Coming to a location to start a mission, where five people are standing waiting for me, but I can’t begin the mission! Beginning the mission, escorting a character to certain spot and having them stop outside it for no reason at all. After 15 minutes of trying to push the immovable character to spot to conclude the mission…….. I restarted! Over half an hour, I had to wait with no missions on screen for my final mission. Which popped up, and then disappeared. Then appeared, drove their and it vanished. Just before I got their! After restarting I was able to finish. Pre-Beta in development would be a better categorization. I felt that’s closer than a finished game, by a miles stretch. Surely this wasn’t Alpha stage at all, but was definitely not finished for that matter either. Plus, when mission were numerous. They were in such a frenzy of being plotted on my map, that no matter how fast I tried to do them all. I would lose in the battle of time. Missions are time sensitive, but the clock would not allow you the time to do them if that’s all you did. Even if you excluded all of the resource gathering. I would have the voice of the character I was controlling, saving another survivor with the same voice. Then they would have back and forth dialogue with the same voice! Talk about confusing, like I was listening to someone with a split personality.
2.5 OUT OF 10
For sure you could play State Of Decay again. I will in the future, but hopefully after some improvements on the connection of story. Corrections on the consistent glitches, that really stand in the way of completing some of the missions. But with 30 hours of expansive wilderness, and urban areas mixed in. Scavenging for hours and hours can unfold. Which you would think would get tiring? But, for me, it never seemed that way. The game would always hook me with some ambush, or a certain survivor in need. A trade of some medicine, or the decision to eliminate a certain survivor due to illness. These choices can be chosen in two different ways. With 30 hours of it though, that’s a lot of choices to pick ney or yey…
8.5 OUT OF 10
The music has a good length, at just over an hour of complete soundtrack. Some darkly toned atmospheric tracks, but they are seldom and only come in usually during an ambush or nighttime event. While country roots dip in and out, with despair of loss. A major punch drum bass is noted in a lot of the tracks as well….
8.5 OUT OF 10
At $19.99, and a DLC of $6.99. Is $27 worth it? With almost 30 hours of game-play, traits upgradeable, home ad-don’s and the best zombie simulator I have played. I would say yes, your paying 66 cents an hour to play the main game. If you can get over the horrendous glitches and shallow character depth. It’s a great game, with so much it could accomplish in the future.
8.75 OUT OF 10