I recently picked up state of decay on the xbla for 1600 of those delicious Microsoft points on a complete whim from seeing some of my friends play it, and since I had some points to spare I thought what the hell id buy it too. And little did I know what I was letting myself in for, because this has been one of the biggest surprises for me in a very long time. As I hadn’t been following the game during its development at all, I’ve been completely blind to it, and that in my opinion has been a plus, because my expectations weren’t coloured by pre-release hype (although that was seemingly non-existent).
So I was completely oblivious to what was to come as I blearily stumbled into the game world equipped with a piece of wood and already 2 zombies ahead of me ready to be introduced to a bit of wood of face…. (dirtier than intended….) but anyway my first impression with the combat was that it was nice and simple, all you had to do was swing your bat, club or whatever at the zombie until it either falls down for you to finish it off by caving its head in, in many different flavours of execution (easily done by pressing the LB + Y button together) or in the midst of your flailing its head might randomly explode by a critical hit. That’s about it, sure there are guns about, but id suggest steering clear as for me there more hassle than there worth.
That is because of the noise they make, it’s as simple as that because there are so many zombies about in the world, that if you fire off even one shot you can attract extra zombies towards your position making your scavenger hunt or mission needlessly difficult. So the only reason to use them, is when you absolutely have to, otherwise I would recommend sticking with melee weapons, and if that doesn’t work, jump into the nearest car or truck and start mowing down “Zeds” (as there called in the game) with reckless abandon, because there are a surplus of vehicles to just get into and go nuts, it does kind of unbalance the game somewhat, but in what is a tense, gritty open world zombie game, any advantage is very much welcome.
The world, to its credit is vast, suitably run down (well, it is the apocalypse.) and ably sets the backdrop for your struggle to survive and your mission to keep your survivors alive through multiple supply runs. Which come in the form of medial supplies, food, ammo, building materials and fuel, these are used by your survivors at your home base so you’ll always need to keep it well stocked. There’s also another function for the building materials that you’ll be collecting because there’s also a base building mechanic in the game, where you have the opportunity to build things such as infirmaries, extra bedrooms (tents mainly) workshops and so on. These additional buildings give you extra bonuses and possible upgrades, such as if you upgrade your workshop you then have the option to upgrade your watchtower. It’s those little touches that give the game that personal touch, because you design the layout of where the buildings go, rather than the game implementing it automatically, it’s all down to you as the other survivor’s look to you for leadership.
That’s not to say that the other survivors wont give you shit from time to time. Because they do! From having to save their bumbling asses from getting chewed to pieces by a horde of zombies, or taking them out for a little walk and a spot of zombie killing because there too sad or they have anger issues that can always be sorted out by caving in a few zombie skulls. The best part is, the game kind of carries on in your absence, because when you load your game back up after a period (say the next day) supplies would have depleted, some survivors could be sick, or you could have gained some while you weren’t looking. While it means you get into a habit of going back to it every day (at least until the achievements are done 😉 it adds to that immersion of being inside a living breathing world.
A living breathing world, with a few creaks and groans along the way. Such as frame rate chugging, textures being a little slow to load, the usual stuff from a game with a big a scope as this. There are also bugs present too, which kind of adds to its charm, in a “Heh that wasn’t meant to happen” the biggest one I’ve had so far are zombies running through walls, that happens far too frequently, but there easily taken care of, so perhaps it balances out.
You do need to be able to look past its technical limitations to be able to fully immerse yourself in the game, because if you can’t, you’ll be spending half your time pointing out glitches and when slow down happens etc.
I would say it shouldn’t be a deal breaker, as I expect there to be some performance improvements through future patch updates. In no way are its engine struggles game breaking, you just need to be able to look past them because this is one hell of a game, I haven’t enjoyed a zombie game quite this much since TellTales “The Walking Dead”.
Its fun, it offers you a very big bang for your buck with the amount of content and time stuffed inside it, I recommend it whole heartedly, especially as there aren’t many high-profile releases right now on the 360, so do yourself a favour and take a look at this little gem now! 😀
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy it