State of Decay 2 is an open-world zombie survival game. It’s the sequel to State of Decay (No kidding, eh?) by Undead Labs and it was released in May 2018 for XBox One. It’s also had a rerelease for Xbox Series X/S in December 2020.
State of Decay was a game that looked interesting from the get go and was definitely something I wanted to play. I bought the first game after finding it on the XBox store at a cheap price and thought, “Why the hell not?” I was hooked from the start. So when a sequel was announced, I knew that I had to play it. It wasn’t a game that I left for a while, I pre-ordered it as I wanted to play it as soon as I could.
The main base of the game remains the same as the first game, in that you control survivors of a zombie apocalypse and you have to build a settlement by scavenging items from nearby locations. As with the first game, the fear of imminent death is constantly with you as if one of your characters dies, that’s it, they ain’t coming back. There is no manual save or load. Your actions really do matter.
The game takes place away from Trumbull Valley (the location of the first game) and allows you to pick from four different locations to settle. Each location has it’s ups and downs. For example, one may be heavily built up and put you in an area with a tonne of locations to easily scavenge, and another will put you in a sparser location with bigger areas of empty space.
The mechanics to SoD2 are pretty similar to the first game but with a few notable differences.
First the similarities;
- You control one characters at a time and can enlist one other to follow.
- You spend your time scavenging for resources to build your community.
- There are zombies to fight. A lot of zombies. That range from normal ones, to ferals (fast and grabby), juggernauts (big and smashy), bloaters (fat and explody), screamers (thin and noisy)
- You have free reign over the open-world map.
- You can add survivors you find in the world to your community. Each character has different skills that will help you survive and upgrade your base.
- You can establish outposts (a location separate to your main settlement that allows you to drop off/pick-up items)
- Zombies are attracted by noise.
- If a character dies, they die (just like real life.)
- Infestations in buildings occur and you have to wipe them out to make the area a bit safer.
- When you set up an outpost you’re no longer able to set traps around it.
- You can no longer board up the windows in houses your looting.
- There are now a new type of zombie – blood plague zombies. These will infect you with a virus that if left untreated will eventually kill your character.
- Along with the blood plague zombies there are what’s called “Plague Hearts.” These are kind of nests in certain buildings that you have to destroy in order to complete the game’s story. These locations are similar to the infestations, but they will be full of (and attract more) blood plague zombies.
- You can no longer assign other characters to loot locations while your controlled characters are doing whatever you’re making them do.
- There’s now a “Stuck” radio call that you can use if you end up stuck or trapped in a certain place (this would happen a lot in the first game and it was hard to get your character out, so this was a welcome addition.)
- You now need to manually fuel and repair your vehicles – in the first game they would repair overnight if placed at your base and the fuel was infinite. This adds a whole new level to the game and makes you think about your journeys more carefully..
Some of the things that were in the first game but not the second I kind of miss – like the getting your other characters working while you’re out. That was really useful for gathering things quicker. But there’s nothing that lets the game down. It just takes a bit of getting used to the changes.
But with the good, there’s of course, the bad.
This game can be glitchy as f!ck. The first game was pretty glitchy but you could forgive it as it was made by a small studio that seemed to be just starting out. But this game at times is ridiculous. You can go a while without anything happening and then your vehicle will hit invisible rocks, or flip for no reason, your characters might fall through the floor or get stuck in between more invisible rocks, or the game might just crash when saving meaning you have to close it completely and restart it. So far in the many hours that we’ve played this game, there haven’t been any game breaking bugs. Even the game crash allows you to restart the game in the same place as it died. If nothing else, the bugs are mildly irritating.
I’ve lost count of how many hours we’ve played and how many times we’ve played through the game. It’s just a game that no matter how many times you play it, it’s always a challenge because you don’t know what’s going to be thrown at you next.
State of Decay 2 also has a number or DLCs that have been added – for free – to the base game allowing you to play without any extra costs. I think this is a great addition, especially these days when some DLCs cost as much as the main game and only give you an extra hour of play time. I’ll go into more detail about the Heartland DLC – that sees your return to Trumbull Valley– in next week’s blog because it’s a game in itself.
I’ll leave this review with my rating. This game has it’s issues, but overall it’s a really enjoyable game. I feel like I can’t give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ because it is very glitchy. I’m going to change my rating system to a larger scale because I think this game deserves to be higher on the scale. I’m going to give it 8/10. It’s a solid game, with it’s issues. I just hope the third game – which is currently in development – adds to the story and irons out some of the bugs. I’d recommend it to anyone that enjoys zombies or looting and pillaging.