State of Decay 2 Review: Shamblin’ On And On
You’ve got plenty of supplies, you’ve got food, medicine, guns, everyone is in good spirits, and you sit down to share a meal with your friends. Tomorrow, they could very well all be dead as disco, leaving you to flee a horde of zeds with your life barely intact, barely wounded, with nothing but a knife and baseball bat to your name.
But hey, that’s just the way that life works in the zombie apocalypse, isn’t it?
It certainly is in the world of State of Decay 2, every day could be your last, for a variety of reasons. You could get smashed into a pancake by a Juggernaut, you could be mauled by a horde, or infected by a blood plague zombie, and die a slow, agonizing death. Happy thoughts though, let’s try to assume that you’re smart enough to not let any of that stuff kill you. You’re going to be spending your time trying to make sure that your group has enough supplies to survive, but there’s more to it than that. You’re going to want to also ally yourself with other survivor groups as well so that they’ll help you in your times of need. You can trade supplies and weapons with them, or help them find more if they run out.
You also have to watch the morale of your group, by completing various quests with them (or as them), and get rid of negative, shitty survivors. One of the first survivors that I added to my group, Felix, was nothing but negative about basically every single thing that went on. So I exiled him because I don’t need a negative douchebag in my survivor group (and he had zero skills). On top of managing supplies and morale, you’ve got to constantly monitor hordes and Plague Hearts, which spawn the blood plague that can grow big enough to wipe you out. Seriously, you need to find these things and burned them down to keep your area from getting overrun, or everyone will get depressed and you’ll all die (no, really).
So it’s a lot more than just making sure that you have enough stuff to survive day to day, which is nice, and gives you a lot to do. The problem with State of Decay 2 is that it doesn’t quite feel finished yet, and this seems to be an issue that more and more games have lately. There are some really bad bugs in this game that break the game and sometimes require a reset (and even then sometimes it won’t work). I’ve had a problem with getting a character stuck on nothing and being completely immobile, and having to switch to another character to free them from their invisible prison. I’ve also had zombies spawn on top of the roof of the building that I’m trying to clear and when I finally look up and see them, I can’t kill them. Bullets just pass right through them and I can’t clear this house because this invincible zombie is just standing on the roof. The game also has a nearly sickening motion blur that can’t be turned off and makes it looks pretty awful any time you’re turning. The game already doesn’t look that amazing, either, it barely looks better than the last game, which came out five years ago.
It also feels kind of like it lacks a point to play it, which is kind of a let-down, there’s no driving force to really keep going after you’ve explored everything and gotten some cool weapons and stuff. At least the first game had some semblance of a story, this one just kind of goes on and on and doesn’t give you too much reason to keep going. I felt no need to change to a different home base or anything, I just kind of went out to find more stuff to make supplies easier to get. Promoting someone to leader didn’t really seem to change the gameplay experience as much as I thought it would at all. Melee combat was fine for the most part, though sometimes hits just wouldn’t connect even when they definitely should have. Shooting is also fine for the most part, didn’t have any problems with that.
There is a solid game with decent mechanics here, the problem is that it’s muddled by bugs, nauseating motion blur, and a lack of drive to keep going after you’ve played for ten-ish hours. The co-op is fun for a bit, but it’s really the same game, just with a buddy instead of a brain-dead AI companion, it doesn’t really open new possibilities as far as I can tell. It’s always fun to play with a friend, but frankly, even bad games are fun with a friend, because it’s just plain fun to poke and prod and shitty stuff together. The co-op doesn’t add or detract from the game, I think it makes it a little bit easier and that’s about it, nothing more.
If you want to make this game better, then do this:
- Iron out the bugs (especially the ones that prevent you from completing and objective or playing at all).
- Let us turn off that nasty ass motion blur, or just take it off, it makes the game look bad.
- Add some kind of story mode, or a hardcore mode, or a type of horde mode where you defend your base from waves of zombies with 7 other players.
- Add a challenge mode, where you have to take out hordes of zombies or infiltrate hostile bases certain ways to earn more points. Have these challenges unlock things in the main game.
Do these things and you will have a solid 8.5-9/10 game. By no means is it a bad game in its current state, it’s only slightly above average, and it has the potential to be so much more. I want this game to be more because I really loved the first game, and this just doesn’t really feel like much of an upgrade from that, aside from the addition of co-op. I think that fans of the original will probably like it to some extent, but may not stick around as long as they did with the original as it doesn’t feel much different. The fact that it’s only $29.99 and not a full price game helps a lot, but it still needs some fixing before it’s a truly great game.
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