State of Decay Or Finally, A Zombie Sim

Oh yeah great, another zombie game.

So, when you start playing State of Decay, it is bashing zombie heads in left and right with either melee attacks or guns. The usual stuff.

But actually, State of Decay is more. Imagine the C game charm of Deadly Premonition mating with Dead Island and add a simulation as part three of this wild and rampant ménage à trois. The gameplay consists of rather mediocre fighting and driving, of alrightish stealth and tons of searching, and of handling resources. But it’s the rough charm that makes State of Decay an experience way beyond your usual zombie slashers/stompers/shooters.

Oh, did Rabidgames forget the paternity test could also reveal Skyrim as one of the fathers of State of Decay? You level up your abilities by doing, and you’ll unlock pretty handy skills. By the way, you means all playable characters. You can play the whole game as one character, but there’s a catch: Permadeath! If one character dies, he stays dead (unless you play the game from scratch). Different characters have different talents, so choose wisely.

As said before, fighting and gathering is fun, but the selling point of State of Decay is the sim part. Or rather, the simulation of despair, survival and scraping together the last pieces of civilisation … No matter how much provisions, weapons and other stuff you gather, your Influence (your in-game currency, the zed apocalypse fucked up capitalism for good) decreases – rather rapidly. Basically, the longer you’re away from your console, the more it decreases – 3 days without playing might well lead to zero Influence … maybe it’s a hint: Don’t save up, spend it as long as you’re alive! Anyway, State of Decay always asks you if you want to go out with that beastly shotgun and your tomahawk – but thereby losing Influence and moral and hope, or if you only take weak weapons for the greater good (but your possible farwell).

It goes without saying that the first playthrough of State of Decay will be a disaster for most. Rabidgames still has no clue how the sim system actually works, how you can have growing stuff in your bases, or how not to get distracted by anything in this world.

State of Decay is a fun game, but it is not a great game. Why? Bugs. And glitches. And rather clunky mechanics. From being stuck in a tree to zombies clipping through walls, from the infamous infestation bug to pop-ups honouring San Andreas, it’s all there. And it’s such a shame! But eventually, after all those patches, it might actually end up a great game.

This game is ambitious, and the vision is clear: Having fun in a zombie-infested sandbox. While technical issues hold back State of Decay’s true potential, the game is undead proof originality and innovation DO pay off: Within mere 48 hours, the game sold a whopping 250.000 units! Not bad for a 20 quid Arcade game, eh?

Rabidgames is nervous: One more run even though Marcus is tired. We need painkillers. Oh shit, the zombie horde spotted Marcus! Nooooooooooooo…

Sorry, folks. State of Decay has rough edges, but there’s a gem hidden in there. The sales are alright, and the necessary patch is on its way. All good. But there’s a dark cloud on the horizon: The next project of Undead Labs will be a MMO. Shame.

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