Review by DandyQuackShot

"Rule #32 Enjoy The Little Things"

Prepare for hours of surviving zombies in the Xbox Live Arcade game State of Decay. State of Decay places you in the shoes of a survivor of yet another unexplained zombie apocalypse as you and your hiking buddy step into a world of flesh eating dead heads. But don't get too cozy with the guy you start out as. You may end up several characters later trying to continue to fortify a home against the very aggressive zombie hordes roaming the streets. State of Decay is a sandbox game that will test all you know about surviving in a zombie apocalypse so all those days spent reading about The Zombie Survival Guide and watching George Romero movies should have you well prepared to meet an unfortunate fate in State of Decay.

State of Decay drops you straight into the mayhem of a zombie survival game. There isn't much of an orientation to the game so you have to quickly pick up on how to stock up on supplies and begin to scope out and fortify a home for you and your crew of survivors. State of Decay also utilizes real time so that if you turn off your Xbox, the game still goes on if you are connected online. Your character will still be alive but others in your group may not and you may be low on supplies when you return to the game.

You play as a leader class type of character that is tasked with scavenging for food, medical, and other supplies like ammunition and building materials. On top of that you have game objectives to determine what is going on with the military occupation in the area as well as other bits to the game's story. Fellow survivors will accompany you on scavenge hunts or missions (like hunting the freak zombies) and you can direct them also to go to a location to take supplies back to the home base. On top of that you get to deal with the drama of the Walking Dead type with irate or hopeless survivors. Taking them out on a beat down of some zombies relieves the pressure and talks the dysfunctional survivor down. These are the main functions you serve during the game, but this game is not easy in letting you complete these tasks easy. Sure you can take down a zombie by itself, but if your health gets low or you run into a horde of zombies you can kiss your life goodbye. Losing your character to the zombies won't end your game as you will be replaced by an alternate male and female character, but you do lose friends with your main character dying off as well as the influence points you spend to purchase items from the supply cabinet and to do stuff to fortify your house.

State of Decay is definitely intended for mature audiences that have a high expectation of a zombie survival game. This game is packed with you having to use strategy to keep yourself alive as well as the survivors you come across. Think The Walking Dead television series meets Dead Rising. State of Decay obviously borrows a lot of ideas from zombie games and movies so I decided to compare notes with what I've experienced before with other zombie games:

he Walking Dead: Survival Instinct vs. State of Decay
-State of Decay makes Survival Instinct look like child's play. Daryl Dixon or no Daryl Dixon.
-Scavenging and managing supplies more meaningful in State of Decay
-No crossbow, or Daryl, but plenty of other methods of zombie destruction at your disposal.

The Dead Rising Series vs State of Decay
-No insane people to have to kill
-Run into a horde of zombies and do not expect to make it out alive
-Leveling up is similar but you do not learn new moves
-Find masks and freak zombies like screamers and "bigguns"
-Rescue survivors, but survivors more involved with the game than Dead Rising
-More strategy involved in conserving vehicles and surviving zombies

Left 4 Dead vs State of Decay
-Being attacked by zombies more similar though this game is set in the third person
-Better story line and characters have more background
-No cooperative play

State of Decay has it made in its own way. Also featuring leaderboards for your zombie kill stats, influence gained, and character's popularity this game will last for much longer than a typical Arcade game will. The sandbox play style and the challenge of surviving the zombies while having to frequently seek out supplies will keep you on your toes. Scanning the forums I found where a lot of players were disconnecting their consoles to keep the game from going on while they weren't playing online. The achievements are fairly easy to pick up but there are also other hidden things like masks to search out.

The graphics of State of Decay are not as great compared to the likes of Dead Rising or the retail games. You will note plenty of zombies poke through doors and walls but a feature I really liked about State of Decay that adds to the game's strategy is reducing the noise you make and hiding in bushes to prevent from being spotted by zombies. The searching sessions take the most time with little action on the part of the character. Fighting moves are limited and the zombies have little attacks themselves, and although the gruesome ending to the characters that you play as are the same, it's still a horror to watch as the guy or gal you thought would make it through that scavenge hunt with half a health bar is torn apart by a zombie dog pile.

Final Recommendation 9/10

State of Decay is a sandbox game like no other. You can spend all your time staying with one group of survivors while scavenging a certain area or go lone wolf and explore the entire area that is in State of Decay. This game takes getting used to with what you have to do with your character in order to survive but it is well worth the buy for how long you will end up playing. State of Decay is definitely more of a challenge than many of the other retail zombie games out there and it most definitely offers plenty of hours of game play. As long as you can remember the rules of Zombieland, how to avoid the drama of the Walking Dead, and aim for the head, then you should be good to go for State of Decay.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/07/13

Game Release: State of Decay (US, 06/05/13)

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