Undead Labs once again drags gamers kicking and screaming into the post apocalyptic world of zombie survival horror, State Of Decay 2. State of Decay clawed its way onto Xbox Live back in June 2013 to mostly positive reviews, now we have the long awaited sequel upon us building on the original game and this time bringing four player online cooperative to the table.
You pick up state of decay 2 with a choice, you must choose between a selection of duos of characters all with varying skills and perks. All of the duos have conflicting skill sets, trading melee perks for shooting accuracy or stamina for Wit. The pair of unlikely protagonists you choose will be the start of your community which you will steadily build upon over the next 18 or so hours.
The game starts with a fairly linear and organic tutorial mission setting up the world and your characters, taking you from an overrun outpost to your choice of three locations which is where you will find your starting base and begin to build your community. By managing your communities supplies, moral and health you will have to juggle many mechanics in order to make it to the end of this tale.
State of Decay 2 builds on the originals gameplay adding more weapons, cars and a new breed of zombie, plague zombies. Plague zombies, as one might guess from the name, can actually infect you with a bite, eventually turning you into one of the zeds. You can reverse the infection by manufacturing a cure which wasn’t too taxing to find the ingredients for and the ease in which you can make the cure almost takes away any threat of becoming infected. Plague zombies are produced by plague hearts which are glowing red masses you must destroy. Destroying plague hearts can be very risky as the sheer volume of zeds you will have to fight through to get within range can quickly become overwhelming. Jumping in a pick up truck with three friends in co-op and taking our these hives can be great fun and there is lots of fun to be had in this rich world online with friends, with randoms or offline on your own.
Base building is pretty easy to get the hang of and by talking to your community you can manage their moral pretty effectively whether it be by installing an OG Xbox in your lounge or clearing out nearby zed infestations there will always be something to keep you busy and on your feet.
State Of Decay 2 is not the prettiest game by any means but it does have improved graphics over the first game. The move over to the Unreal engine has improved the lighting and textures in game. I will say this now, when night comes this game is dark, pitch black and even with your torch or headlights you will find the night is all consuming in this world.
Now lets talk about the new special infected. Screamers, Bloaters, Juggernauts and Feral’s will force you to change your approach when entering a building, clearing an infestation or vanquishing a plague heart. Screamers are arm-less wanderers that will scream if they see you alerting nearby zombies to your location causing you to be swarmed. Bloaters explode poisoning you with a green gas that emits from their corpse. Juggernauts are hulks that will chase you down and tear you apart and then there’s the feral’s. Feral’s are fast and ferocious, jumping on you and infecting you and your party. These special infected have made a well needed change of pace to the constant hordes of zeds.
With the addition of the much anticipated multiplayer, which is seamless drop in and out co-op. Creeping through towns with your friends, looting and taking down zombie hordes is great fun. Multiplayer is where the problems start though.
The servers are not great leading to needless tethering and excessive rubber banding when simply driving down a road. I have had friends unable to access their inventory boxes and the occasional crash. Having to stop looting so your accomplices can exit your game and rejoin to be able to get access to their supplies as their supply box will randomly disappear or not appear at all is a real pain and can become very frustrating. During multiplayer I did notice some screen tearing and texture popping that I did not experience offline, although not game breaking it did take me out of the experience and seems a ridiculous oversight on the part of developers Undead Labs.
I did thoroughly enjoy my time playing State Of Decay 2 and cannot wait to start my second play through but needless bugs and server issues plague this game. Hopefully with some patches we will get to experience a more seamless game in the near future.
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Zombies, Villagers and Servers All Plague The World Of State Of Decay 2
- Overall - 7.5/107.5/10
State of Decay 2 builds on the original game and brings much needed multiplayer to the franchise. The addition of Plague Hearts and special infected breath new life into the world and mechanics of the original but the game is held back by bugs and server issues that should of been ironed out before release.