In a world overrun with zombie survival games, State of Decay stands out as one of a kind
Our doctor had been severely wounded the last time the walls fell and no one had the expertise to patch her up. We were also low on medication and ammo, and we used up the last of our building supplies fixing the holes in our defenses. It would only be a matter of time before not only doc was dead, but all of us.
And that's why I suddenly found myself rummaging through the already ransacked shelves of the local veterinary clinic. I had turned up with nothing so far, but I found a pristine looking locker that I knew had some antibiotics or painkillers or SOMETHING I could take home for doc. I ended up accidentally creating a racket while checking the locker, and in seconds they were upon me.
A horde of undead, their eyes glowing menacingly in the dark, accosting me with their accusing stares. They started pouring through the shattered windows, groaning and falling upon themselves. I became frantic in my search, which only ended up making more noise. They were at they rear exit now, pounding and clawing at the locked door. But it was fine, I had found some medication. Doc was going to make it another night, but first I had to make it home. I spun around and shoved my revolver into the face of the zombie that had shuffled into the back room with me. Pulling the trigger painted the walls with rotten gore, and the low, collective groaning of the approaching horde turned into a cacophony of angry wails at the sound of gunfire. The front lobby of the clinic was now full of them, and they began pouring into my room.
I emptied the last 5 shots of my revolver into them and sprinted for the rear entrance. Kicking the door with all my might flung it open and knocked several of the freaks to the ground. I could see my truck, if I could make it there I'd be home free. Assessing the horde, I brandished the last weapon I had left - a battered table leg. The mob of undead clawed and grabbed at me, had they sent anyone else on this supply run this is where they'd get their ticket punched.
But that's why they sent me. Marcus Campbell, resident powerhouse and survivor extraordinaire. I charged directly into the crowd, splattering the first zed's skull with a heavy swing of my table leg. I immediately dove into a forward roll, directly through several more of them, landing myself in the middle of the mess.
Right where I wanted to be.
Two of them lunged for me, I expertly dodged their clumsy assault and kicked the closest zombie in the spine, sending him forward and dropping him to his knees. Leaping into the air, I brought my full weight down onto his skull, eliminating the "un" part of his condition. Completely surrounded, I took wide swings with my table leg, creating a bouquet of gore as I felled zombie after zombie. Several smashed skulls into my labors my not so trusty table leg snapped uselessly into pieces. I decided to cut my losses and made a mad dash for my truck, using brute force to knock over any zeds that had gotten in my way. I'd had my fun, it was time to take the medicine home.
Or so I thought.
I didn't see the feral, but it had been watching me. It leaped from behind my truck and pinned me to the ground. Letting loose a blood curdling shriek that must have attracted undead for miles. Panicked, I struggled to buck it off, but the rotten freak was too strong and too fast for me. It clawed violently at my body, shredding flesh and snapping bone. I struggled fruitlessly under its horrifying bulk as the shamblers started to close in. The last thing I saw as everything faded to black was an endless wall of shuffling zeds falling over each other to devour me.
Back at the safe house, I was now in control of Maya Torres, resident sharpshooter. Lily raised all of us on the radio to let us know that Marcus had died. Everyone was shocked, but especially Ed. Who quickly fell into a deep depression at the grim news of his best friend. I descended the watchtower ladder. Doc was still hurt and in need of medicine, even with Marcus gone we still needed those supplies. And now we were down a truck.
Welcome to State of Decay
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On the surface SoD is a clunky third person action game with dated graphics. The opening tutorials will overwhelm you with their walls of text, the controls can seem confusing at first, and the story is rather by-the-numbers. But if you get past these flaws what you'll discover is one of the greatest zombie apocalypse survival games to have ever been made.
State of Decay's main strength is its focus survival tactics and managing a community of survivors, rather than being an action heavy slugfest with a single main character. Survival depends on having a defensible safehouse and enough people to defend it. Every survivor has their own set of skills and idiosyncrasies, and maintaining a calm atmosphere at the safehouse can become difficult when the quiet but anxious bookworm begins to crack under the stress of the situation which sets off the gruff alcoholic biker who's been itching for a fight. You've been thinking of kicking the biker guy out, but he's great in a fight, and that's a pretty huge measure of worth these days.
It's not enough to have four walls and a roof, either. Survivors need to eat, and people are bound to get sick. Bullets don't grow on trees, either. Scavenging for supplies through the various communities in Trumbull Valley makes up the majority of State of Decay's gameplay, and boy did they get it right. Sweeping through an abandoned home will make you tense as you navigate cramped hallways in search of supplies, never quite sure if the residents are still inside shuffling around somewhere.
Combat in SoD is always the last resort, as your stamina is limited and you can only fight and run for so long - while zombies don't have to breathe. This means you'll find yourself spending more time evading, sneaking, and planning indirect routes through the city than you will fighting. But that's not to say that combat isn't a big part of State of Decay. Once you begin to understand the mechanics, you'll find that the combat system is surprisingly deep. In no time you'll be deftly evading lunging zombies and counter attacking with killing blows.
State of Decay is a flawed gem of a game with some really innovative qualities and genuinely fun gameplay that lies just behind its rough surface, and considering how cheap it's become to own it (less than $20 as of this writing), there's simply no reason for any lover of all things zombie to not own it. . Buy it today
State of Decay video review with Gameplay