State of Decay 2 Review
State of Decay 2 Cover Art
System: Xbox One, PC
Dev: Undead Labs
Pub: Microsoft Studios
Release: May 22, 2018
Players: 1-4 Player
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language

Cooperative play has been begged for since the first game, which finally sees daylight in the State of Decay 2, and in some respects it is a welcome addition. Taking on zombie hordes with three friends makes the task simpler, and goofy antics like playing songs with car doors and squatting on corpses adds some levity to the grim backdrop. However, only the host of the session reaps tangible rewards, with companions merely pocketing Influence to spend back in their game. Also, players are tethered to the host and can’t roam the countryside at their leisure. It’s more prudent to stick close anyways, and there’s a sizeable amount of slack before you’re zapped closer to the leader, but not being able to do things like split up and have a pair race back to defend the home base while the others continue ridding a house of an infestation limits the breadth of tactics the game could have offered.

State of Decay 2 Screenshot

The game also doesn’t look great. It’s a far sight improved from even the remastered State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition, but still presents scantily detailed character models and jarring animations. There isn’t the “jankiness” that became a staple word in describing the first game, but motions are far from fluid. The water effects are also lackluster, however the lighting and shadow effects set the mood of the full day cycle with a disturbing eeriness. The music is subtle but effective, and takes a backseat to the necessary sounds of the lingering undead scattered everywhere. The voiced lines start to sound repetitive after hearing similar calls for help, but at least they are well scripted and well delivered.

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State of Decay 2 is full of improvements and additions over its predecessor, yet strays little from the original blueprint. If you enjoyed the first game, then you will certainly lose plenty of hours in the sequel, scouring the undead ridden lands for supplies to keep your community alive and thriving. However, if you were hoping for groundbreaking changes to the horror survival formula and pristine technical accomplishments, you will be disappointed. Nevertheless, for a bargain retail price, and as a launch title for subscribers of the Xbox Game Pass, it’s definitely worth of a look while keeping some change in your pocket.

By
Sean Engemann
Senior Contributing Writer
Date: 05/17/2018

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.5
Graphics
The world looks far more apocalyptically beautiful in the sequel, but character models look dated and are lacking in detail and crisp animations.
3.3
Control
Gunplay and driving are the highlights. The rest of the controls, as well of camera, are a nuisance in most other games, but a genuine concern in a game that has permanent consequences, like this one.
4.4
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
A subdued but effective music score and soul piercing effects convey the anxiety and foreboding that permeates every step of the game. The constant voice chatter can get redundant though.
4.2
Play Value
There’s a lot of content and replayability offered for a budget price tag, however it doesn’t do anything extraordinarily different from the first game.
3.8
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Use your community’s unique array of individuals to forge a path through the game that is personal to you. Your choices shape the identity of your community, ensuring that no two stories are alike and remember – once you lose a survivor, they’re gone forever thanks to the return of permadeath.
  • Explore an open, simulated world filled with dynamic zombie and human enemies, friendly survivors to recruit into your community, and valuable resources and gear necessary to keep your people alive.
  • Play solo or with up to three of friends in co-op multiplayer where each player maintains command of their own personal community and roster of characters. Invite friends to join your game, or drop into theirs. Work together as you explore the deadly post-apocalyptic open world, make decisions with long lasting consequences, and look out for your fellow survivors while sharing the rewards of your accomplishments.
  • Develop each survivor's traits and skills to improve their capabilities and strengthen your community. Collect resources to build and fortify your base, unlocking crucial new facilities and valuable community options along the way. Manage the relationships and goals of your survivors to build a strong community that has a lasting impact on the future of your world.

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