|System: Xbox One, PC|
|Dev: Undead Labs|
|Pub: Microsoft Studios|
|Release: May 22, 2018|
|Players: 1-4 Player|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language|
Cooperative play has been begged for since the first game, which finally sees daylight in the State of Decay 2, and in some respects it is a welcome addition. Taking on zombie hordes with three friends makes the task simpler, and goofy antics like playing songs with car doors and squatting on corpses adds some levity to the grim backdrop. However, only the host of the session reaps tangible rewards, with companions merely pocketing Influence to spend back in their game. Also, players are tethered to the host and can’t roam the countryside at their leisure. It’s more prudent to stick close anyways, and there’s a sizeable amount of slack before you’re zapped closer to the leader, but not being able to do things like split up and have a pair race back to defend the home base while the others continue ridding a house of an infestation limits the breadth of tactics the game could have offered.
The game also doesn’t look great. It’s a far sight improved from even the remastered State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition, but still presents scantily detailed character models and jarring animations. There isn’t the “jankiness” that became a staple word in describing the first game, but motions are far from fluid. The water effects are also lackluster, however the lighting and shadow effects set the mood of the full day cycle with a disturbing eeriness. The music is subtle but effective, and takes a backseat to the necessary sounds of the lingering undead scattered everywhere. The voiced lines start to sound repetitive after hearing similar calls for help, but at least they are well scripted and well delivered.
State of Decay 2 is full of improvements and additions over its predecessor, yet strays little from the original blueprint. If you enjoyed the first game, then you will certainly lose plenty of hours in the sequel, scouring the undead ridden lands for supplies to keep your community alive and thriving. However, if you were hoping for groundbreaking changes to the horror survival formula and pristine technical accomplishments, you will be disappointed. Nevertheless, for a bargain retail price, and as a launch title for subscribers of the Xbox Game Pass, it’s definitely worth of a look while keeping some change in your pocket.
Senior Contributing Writer