Let me start of by saying I have been a very big fan of the work Undead Labs have put in to making a game that, lets face it, everyone has been wanting! I mean come on, who doesn’t want the chance to try their hand at surviving in a post apocalyptic zombie infested world?
Now we can’t mention the second without bringing up the first right? I played the life out of this game, I’m talking day in day out for months on end! Ever since my completion of this game I was eager to play more, but unfortunately the market for this type of game is currently very limited…..BUT……FINALLY!! 4 YEARS LATER! Microsoft’s E’3 comes around with the State Of Decay 2 announcement that had absolutely everyone buzzing!
With the release in May 2018 I couldn’t wait, I pre-ordered this the second it hit the market place and counted down the days until release! After diving straight into this game I was completely immersed, the nice little element at the start of character choice and a little back story to each character duo was a nice touch, it allowed you to read up on each character and select the one you felt would be you in this situation.
So the game starts out with a pretty sombre looking camera pan cut scene across a variety of dead corpses, leading to your selected duo running what seems to be a military checkpoint being chased by a horde of zombies (let’s face it, who would expect anything else?) At this point you are entered into the ‘basic tutorial’ which for anyone who has played the original was just a refresher of the exact same controls as the original! Which was a very nice aspect that kept me happy. At this point the game is looking beautiful, the somewhat slightly cartoony graphics are looking on point, movement and the flow of the game seems to run pretty smooth, everything is fine and dandy, this is exactly what I had been hoping for!
A little further in toward the end of the prologue you meet a couple of, what appear to be, very nice survivors of this unfortunate incident, and your community and State Of Decay 2 story really begins. You get your own little house, a few friends to keep you company along the way (who REALLY like to tell you that they think whatever you are doing is a bad idea, so basically leaving the house during a zombie apocalypse yeah? ) Along with a variety of plots to build the essentials you need to survive this nightmare!
The building plot element of this game hasn’t really changed a whole lot from the original if I’m entirely honest, with the exception of one small detail which requires you to have recruited a certain number of survivors to be able to build the larger structures such as armouries and farms. Although in saying this I’ve realised they also have the ability to apply a mod to each utility you posses, because who doesn’t want to be able to make ammo faster? Or sift through all your food wastage to find seeds to plant in your farm?
As you would expect in this unfortunate scenario, when the world has been overrun by the dead, ALOT (and when I say a lot, I mean literally all!) of your time is going to be spent scavenging local houses, fuel stations, warehouses and….. hairdressers?!? for essential supplies to help you and your community live as long as possible! However, you do get a handy little tool to help you, if you are running extremely low on a certain resource then you can radio out to find spots where this resource might be located. Which saves you the grind of searching every single house to get everything but what you want!
I’ve easily put in over 250 hours into this game, and yes like 90% of that was scavenging for supplies and other survivors, but I can honestly say, the activity aspect of this game is VERY limited considering Undead Labs have had 4 years to work on this game and fine tune it. Most quests, as you would expect, are pretty much fetch quests. Followed up alongside the new ‘Plague Heart’ missions of ridding your town of them and the even more mutated plague zombies, and fighting off hostile traders who just want to gun you down and take your shit!
But unfortunately the scavenging isn’t the real struggle in this game, the real struggle is keeping your community happy, as soon as a resource becomes low, people start becoming agitated and wanting to fight other community members and its nigh on impossible to please everyone and bring your community’s morale to a happy medium.
Undead Labs have kept the same “skill tree” system if you will, you level up the stars for things such as endurance and shooting or fighting, to earn a mastery rank and evolve it into a slightly more enhanced ability which, I’m not going to lie, feels somewhat pointless and lost as during gameplay
it doesn’t really have much of a noticeable effect and it doesn’t really feel like it enhances your combat ability or shooting abilities etc.
The multiplayer aspect of this game is absolutely dire! You join to help another community, you risk your ass fighting hundreds of these evil creatures who all want a little nibble on your face to scavenge as many supplies as possible, only for them all to go to the leader of the lobby? You gain virtually nothing by doing this, other than inventory besides supplies goes into your own locker. But is it really worth risking everything to stock up someone else? As I heartbreakingly found out, I joined a friend in his community to help him as he was struggling to get supplies, if you lose your character to the dead in someone else’s lobby then you’ve lost them from your campaign, everything you’ve worked so hard for just disappears in a feeble attempt to help a friend!
All in all, on a personal level (and I feel from what I have seen online from others) after having to wait 4 years for a sequel to what was a fantastic game in the eyes of the many, the sequel appears to have been somewhat of a flop, receiving many mixed reviews online between mixed and average. The content creation is severely lacking to the extent it just feels like a DLC for the original. With only having 3 small maps to go between (and let’s face it, it really doesn’t take long to clear every building, plague heard and outpost) The progression system is exactly the same minus the ability to promote a leader with, again, minimalistic attributes that don’t really have a lot of effect on the game play. On top of this the game unfortunately suffers a lot of bugs as well such as unkillable juggernaut zombies that wreck your base completely and end your game (leaving you no option but to restart a new community from the very beginning) along with cars full of your supplies getting stuck on the tiniest rock or hill with no way to recover them leaving you stranded in the middle of a field surrounded by zombies in the middle of the night ( no one’s ideal scenario I take it?) and team mates that you recruit to help you on a plague heart mission, and the moment you get there they disappear (Cheers guys, y’know I’ll just fight these 20 plague zombies and a screamer on my own and destroy the plague heart whilst you go home and put your feet up yeah?)
So unfortunately based on the above paragraph and the lack of anything really new or awe-inspiring I’m sadly going to have to leave this game with a rough 4/10, which honestly breaks my heart as I’ve wanted this game to be a solid 10/10 title that I couldn’t find fault with and had mass replayability, but Undead Labs just didn’t have it in them to make the game we were all hoping for.
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