State of Decay Review - Fresh ideas and some good features


Matt Hadden (Twitter, Google+)
20th Nov 2013, 3:20pm

State of Decay was very much a console game up until recently where it became available on Steam's Early Access program, allowing users to get a hold of the game before it had even released.

There aren't any major differences between the console and PC version other than the obvious ability to use the keyboard and mouse to control the game rather than an Xbox 360 controller.

Story

The main story behind State of Decay is that you are on a camping trip when a zombie outbreak occurs, and slowly things begin to take shape as you figure out what is exactly going on.

The missions start off fairly simple, such as go and collect supplies from a building or help out strangers but things then start to pick up about an hour into the game, where you get more into the core of what is actually happening and why a zombie outbreak is actually occurring, what started it and who you should and shouldn't trust.

Unfortunately you don't have the ability of going into multiplayer, which would've added a lot more to the game so it is down to you on your own to make your way through the world with your various different friends and foes along the way.

There are also the odd side quests along the way but they can become quickly repetitive, such as taking someone out for a zombie killing run if they are feeling sad, or clearing out an infested house. They are fun the first time you do it, but then they start happening once or twice each time you play, and it just gets annoying.

State of Decay - Story

Gameplay

The gameplay mechanics in this game are pretty simple, you can run, walk, roll, sprint, jump and climb, and use a host of different weapons such as guns and melee weapons. Actions will slowly consume your stamina and you will need to make sure that you keep on top of that by making sure that you are fed and watered. There is also the issue of no regenerating health, so making sure you don't get caught in one of the various zombie hordes is crucial, otherwise you will have to go and find some painkillers.

You also have to take into consideration the running of a base camp, where everyone hangs out and uses up resources. As well as going out and doing missions, you need to look after the people there, make sure supplies are stocked, go out on supply runs and build and expand your base. You can also chose to go out and find a new location for your base as well - probably when your current one begins to get a bit crowded with the number of people there.

The supplies are a big part of the game, and you will need to go and search various different buildings to try and find supplies for both yourself and for your base. You do have to keep in mind though that the supplies are gone forever once you search a building, so using everything isn't advised. I found that this was a cool mechanic and I think towards the end of the game this will come back into play as resources are starved out.

Fighting the zombies will require silence, and a lot of it, if you start shooting them without a silencer then things can go sideways very quickly and you will more than likely end up dead. Your melee weapons will break over time but having a repair shop back at base camp will repair them back to usability. The gun silencers are fashioned from every day items and are only good for a certain amount of shots as well. I did find however that there was probably too much ammo lying around. The only time I felt like I was out of ammo was if I didn't take enough with me from the main base camp.

The main thing though is the permanent death mechanic that is in the game. It doesn't matter which character you are, if they die, they are gone forever. Avoiding zombies is key and fighting them will use your stamina up quickly. It is going to be a very good idea to run rather than fight, and once you start to get overwhelmed whilst tired it is pretty much game over.

Making sure that you have got a good amount of people be-friended is the best way to continue on your experience for as long as possible, but they obviously won't be as well versed as the main character you just lost, and you essentially start over with a fresh character from that moment in time. It is a very interesting mechanic and something that too many games are afraid to do.

State of Decay - Gameplay

Presentation

The PC version of this game is an Xbox 360 port but even so it doesn't look that bad, some of the textures are a bit low res which is to be expected so it would've been nice if the PC version had higher res textures.

The sounds could probably be improved on and a lot of the melee weapons seemed to share the same sounds, regardless of if it was a blunt weapon or a sharpened blade like an axe.

Overall

Overall State of Decay is a welcome turn on the usual zombie games that we have got lying around and the permanent death and vanishing loot mechanics are a nice addition.

In the time that I played the main missions are where most the fun is to be had, but going out for supplies etc. is needed quite often and I found it becomes very repetitive and tedious after the first few times. The same can be said for the side quests as well, they all seemed to be the same thing and I was mainly bombarded with people feeling sad and me needing to walk around and talk to them.

This is a game that could really have done with some multiplayer components in it to keep it fresh for longer as after 5-6 hours I didn't feel the need to carry on with either the main or side quests.

7 / 10

comments powered by Disqus