State of Decay 2: Build a community in the zombie apocalypse (PC review)

State of Decay 2

State of Decay 2 comes at us as a sequel to the original State of Decay that was well received. The game takes place in a zombie post-apocalyptic world set in three different world maps: Cascade Hills, Drucker County, and Meagher Valley. All of these maps are just as large as Trumbull Valley from the original State of Decay with an added storyline and more community building elements.

Characters, Combat, and Community Management

State of Decay 2‘s gameplay is fairly similar to the original version of the game. However, this time the pair of characters you choose have different applied skills and abilities that make them different from the other chosen pairs. This makes it so that each character is unique and brings something different to the table when you start creating your communities.

The community building aspect of this game has been improved on since the previous game. You have to find a settlement first, and the world has a lot of these for you, then you make the location your headquarters or home base. The next thing you do is start gathering materials which consist of fuel, ammo, food, and building materials. These are all scattered throughout the world and once attained, can help you upgrade your home base and community happiness. The best part about gathering these materials is the ability to utilize vehicles in the game. You can store the materials in the trunk without encumbering your characters.

In my opinion, the combat in State of Decay 2 is the heart and soul of State of Decay 2. Each character is unique and can have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to melee or firearms. I personally leveled up each character’s melee ability so that they would know how to handle themselves if they ran out of bullets while fighting the zombie menace. Since each character you let join into your community is unique, they have unique melee paths along with firearms paths that could unfold as you level them up. My personal favorite is the use of just the secondary melee weapon. You normally equip a main melee weapon that has durability, and you also have a secondary like a knife or screwdriver that doesn’t have durability. Whatever path you choose with melee, it has its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to smashed or slicing heads.

Utilizing the many different rifles, hands guns, and shotguns in the game while conserving bullets were the key to a lot of my survival during encounters with bosses and hordes. Since bullets are scarce initially, you have to make sure that you don’t go out there and think you’re immediately John Wick of the zombie world. You’ll find yourself quite helpless once your bullets go dry and you haven’t leveled up your melee skills. So make sure to pay attention to your ammo stashes that you utilize.

As you recruit more and more survivors into your fold, your home base will have to be upgraded to be able to cater to their needs. It is imperative that you create an infirmary or your characters will get infected, come back damaged from their scavenging, or worse they die. An infirmary helps with healing and keeping your community on the up and up. There are usually many different open spaces in your home base that you could use to upgrade into a kitchen or a garden in order to help your survivors survive. You also might have to move to a larger location if you have too many people and not enough beds for people to sleep in. Be wary of who you take in as well as they could cause other characters to butt heads with your new found family.

Zombies and Unique Bosses

The zombies of State of Decay 2 are many and they come in different varying degrees. There are the normal zombies that run at you clawing and biting. However, they’ve also added the plague-infected zombies that can cause you to become infected as well. I stated before that if you don’t have an infirmary, the chances of death are increased ten-fold since you need it to create cures for when you become infected by the plague zombies. You can tell by their glowing bloodshot eyes that they’re infected. In order to get rid of these zombies, you’ll undertake missions to destroy “plague hearts” which is similar to the infestations from the original State of Decay. The only difference is that it’s a giant pulsating mass of flesh that creates plague zombies.  

There are other unique characters that make their return such as the Bloater who is a naked fat guy that explodes into a corrosive gas. The gas damages your stamina and health, so make sure to stay away from it. The Feral also makes his return as being the most annoying unique zombie since he chases you and is extremely fast and agile. The last one is the Juggernaut who is a gigantic wrecking ball of flesh. Do not try and take these things out on your own, or better yet, if you can avoid them, do it. They take a ton of damage and dish out the same. If you’re not careful, they will kill your characters and rip them in half.

Graphics

The graphics for State of Decay 2 have cleaned up quite a bit from the original game and looks a lot better than before. The environments do seem fuller and the day and night cycles are truly felt just through the shading and exuberance of the lighting as the day passes on. This is especially prevalent when you’re inside the shops and buildings scavenging while the sun slowly sets or slowly rises in the distance; it’s nice to look at actually.

The zombies and characters have a better texture layering as opposed to the original game since they do look bloodier when hurt, and the zombies all look extremely decayed and disgusting when you see them up close and personal. Usually, you don’t want to see them that close because that usually spells doom.

Final Reaction

State of Decay 2 itself is actually fun, along with the community building that follows the tropes of other zombie movies and shows like Dawn of the Dead Remake and The Walking Dead. There were a lot of heart-racing moments and action sequences that kept me at the edge of my seat. However, this game is riddled with bugs that I would have to stop playing due to anger.

There were more than a dozen times that my characters would be running away from a horde, and they’d get stuck on the environment, like a curb of the street or just a piece of a grassy section on a field. I would then get overwhelmed, which resulted in my character dying. There is an option to get unstuck, but that’s not an option I’d like to be navigating while a zombie is chewing on my face. There are other times where I’d fall through the world and then die, or the NPC that’s helping me in the middle of an infestation suddenly disappears. That happened way too many times to be acceptable that it ruined some parts of gameplay for me.

Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms

 

About author

Alger Alama
Alger Alama 326 posts

Highly sociable and having been entrenched in Nerd\Geekdom since he was a kid, Alger has seen it all. During his spare time he loves to go out clubbing, sing karaoke, and attend parties. This Nerd is no wallflower. He'll always greet you with a warm smile and a drink in hand.