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Hands-on review: Kill hordes of zombies in State of Decay 2

By Damian Seeto
Mon 21 May 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

State of Decay 2 is a new Xbox One/Windows 10 video game that allows you to try and survive a huge zombie apocalypse. This task is easier said than done mainly because the characters in this video game only have one life bar! This is the unique premise with State of Decay 2 because none of the characters in this game have the option to respawn or start over like in many other video games. Much like the X-COM series, every character in this game only has one life and they are permanently dead if they don't survive the zombie horde apocalypse.  The fact that your characters can permanently die adds a lot more tension in State of Decay 2 compared to other games in the zombie genre. It makes you want to take extra care as some characters are helpful when you level them up. It can be sad sometimes seeing your favourite character(s) die knowing that they'll be gone forever.  The permanent deaths aren't the only unique thing that this game has to offer because there are other unorthodox game features that separate this from lots of other zombie titles out there. For one thing, ammo is very scarce in State of Decay 2 so you cannot simply just mow down zombies easily with machine guns or something like that. You will have to instead choose your own battles and know when to hide or just run away in order to save your resources.  Thankfully, the melee combat is very satisfying in this game as the controls are very responsive and easy to learn. Yes, there's weapon degradation in this game, but melee weapons don't break too easily. Hitting zombies over and over again with baseball bats and machetes can surprisingly be very addictive! It's not just melee combat that's fun too because in this game, you can also kill zombies stealthily from behind. Killing them stealthily is really helpful since the last thing you want to do in this game is alert dozens of zombies all in one go... It's not just zombies that are your main worse enemies in this game either as you might meet some hostile humans too. Humans can become hostile if you choose to steal resources from them, or if you decide to ignore their pleas for help. Humans in my opinion are much harder to kill than normal zombies, so it's best you try and make friends with as many people as possible to ease any conflict.  To make the combat even more interesting, there are different zombie types to keep the gameplay fresh and exciting. You may encounter plague zombies that are fast and can turn humans into zombies very quickly. However, the hardest zombie type to kill in the entire game are the huge 'Juggernauts'. You will need a lot of friends and many shotgun ammo in order to take down the 'Juggernauts' because they can survive a lot of firepower before they go down. While killing zombies is still a major part of this game, there are lots of other tasks that you need to accomplish in order to survive for as long as possible. One of the main things you have to maintain is a healthy community with lots of food and resources around. If you run low on food and important resources, your A.I. teammates might get grouchy and could leave your group forever.  To make things even more interesting, some members of your team might get infected by the zombie virus and you have to choose to either banish them, or find a cure for them if you want them to stay. Making sure your teammates are happy can be a bit of a chore mainly because they are very picky and are never really satisfied. This is why playing online with real life friends is more helpful because the A.I. gets cranky way too easily.  Playing solo with the A.I can get annoying too because you will have to to everything yourself. The game gets even more tedious if you run out of gas for your car because walking from one end of the map to the other is VERY time consuming. Sometimes this is unavoidable though since gas is finite and sometimes vehicles explode if you run over too many zombies.  Another thing that might annoy some players is that State of Decay 2 is very buggy at its current state. There were numerous times my car got stuck in the environment and there was no way of getting out. In one incident, my character got stuck when jumping over a small fence... The technical issues don't end there because zombies will literally spawn from thin air while you are driving along the road. The most annoying bug I encountered though was when I could not end a side mission simply because the HUD arrow failed to load up. Hopefully all of these bugs are fixed by the time the game releases for the public this week.  Even if the technical issues are fixed, another problem I have with this game is that it looks very outdated for an Xbox One X title. I played this game on my new 4KTV with HDR on, but the graphics failed to impress me. The character models look lifeless and the colour palette is pretty drab and boring. This is disappointing since other open world games I have played on Xbox One X look awesome such as Forza Horizon 3 and Far Cry 5 just to name a few.  Anyway, State of Decay 2 does add some new features to the oversaturated zombie genre, it sadly has too many flaws that prevent it from being entirely enjoyable. While I did enjoy many aspects of the game, the ugly visuals and repetitive gameplay just stops this from being a must own video game at launch.  Verdict: 7.0/10  

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