OPINION

State of Decay 2 -The best zombie apocalypse game ever made

I grab a few supplies from the little resources we have. A few spare bullets, just enough gas to get me back home, a few bandages just in case. That’s all I’m willing to risk losing, if the worst happens. If I go down, I want my camp to have enough resources left to go on without me. I could be selfish and grab everything we have to ensure my survival, but survival is never guaranteed in this world.

State of Decay 2 is the only zombie game I have ever played where I have to think like I’m actually surviving in the apocalypse. Every resource I take, decision I make, bullet I use, can be the reason I survived, or the reason I didn’t.

In State of Decay 2, you control a camp of survivors who are all randomly generated. Each survivor has their own personality traits, skills, weaknesses, needs, and wants. The game is like if the sims and a zombie apocalypse intertwined. There are systems on top of systems on top of systems. Everything is simulated, characters will get into arguments, characters will go hungry and become upset. If you do something for another character their mood will improve, if you do something they don’t approve of they will not like it and let you know about it. Everything matters.

The entire objective of the game is to survive to the next day. To some players that may be frustrating. Some players may want a clear cut objective and to see their characters make it to an end and live happily ever after. That’s not this game.

A good way to explain this game is playing wack a mole. You’re always trying to knock out a problem. You’re taking a request from someone to make them happy, you’re clearing out an infestation to improve camp morale, you’re helping a local camp to improve your standing with them. In one instance you’re improving your camp so that everyone is happier, the next instance you’re driving your car with barely enough gas to claim a new location as your own. As soon as you think you’ve done everything, a new challenge arrives.

It sometimes feels like there’s never going to be an end. No matter what I do, there’s always more. I can have a great day. A day in which I completed everything I set out to do, I made everyone happy, I found a lot of resources. But the next morning, there’s another infestation, more work to do, more resources I need. New problems arise like clockwork, there’s never an end to this apocalypse. From my vantage point, it’s what makes State of Decay 2 the best zombie apocalypse game ever made. In the best zombie fiction, it’s not about finding the cure to save the world, or everyone living happily ever after. It’s about the minutiae, the moment to moment. It’s about seeing the sunrise and the sunset and knowing you had a productive day.

Nothing is ever fine in this world. You never feel like you have everything under control. It’s a feeling of helplessness that I’ve never felt in a game before. But it’s a helplessness that pushes me to tackle every day as an opportunity to make things better, even if it’s only by a small percentage.

State of Decay 2 is the zombie apocalypse game I’ve always wanted. It isn’t about power, mowing down tons of zombies or wearing funny outfits. It’s about moving the ball down an infinite field. I can’t see an end or a way out of this world. So in that case, I’ll keep my head up, goals in mind, to survive another day.

About Proven

@JonAustinNelson on Twitter, LA based. I like video games and sports and may write about them from time to time.

3 comments on “State of Decay 2 -The best zombie apocalypse game ever made

  1. Good article but I simply disagree. I bought the Ultimate Edition of SOD 2 along with the Xbox One X as I decided to give the game every chance possible but after 15 hours, I quit the game. Non-existent story and randomly generated characters. Environments look good but no reason for the game to have three maps (which reminds me of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3) and just becomes a repetitive boring open world. Character models especially the faces are bad. They barely look better than the original SOD in 2013 which I beat and thought was a good 7.0/10. Audio is average at best. Gameplay was clunky, buggy and glitchy. Five years and there’s minimal improvement on those aspects. With that all said, I will say that the base building and those aspects are excellent but it’s simply not enough to save the game. No comment/opinion in regards to the co-op aspects as im not an online gamer.

    For me personally, Days Gone is by far the best open world zombie/freaker apocalypse game as it literally crushes all the other zombie open world games. Back to State of Decay in general, Undead Labs is going to have to give me visuals next gen that blow me away in every aspect as well as a great story and preset characters. Then, the gameplay and combat needs to be much improved. SOD 2 plays exactly like the 2013 game which isn’t a good thing.

    The base building aspects is the only element that’s excellent and can be added to and made even better but everything else, they need a dramatic turnaround in my opinion because if in five years, SOD 3 is basically the same as SOD 2, it’s simply not going to be enough anymore. SOD 3 simply needs to be an 80+ game. The quality all around really needs to be increased.

    • Fair points. I agree with a lot of what you said actually. If I were to review the game I’d probably give it around a 7-7.5. But for me personally, no game has ever gave me the level of anxiety in terms of day to day survival. If you mess up in SOD, a character you have spent an entire game building and crafting into your own could die, permanently. While I agree in a game like Days Gone, which I actually like as well, if I die I just respawn. I also have plenty of ammo and am never afraid of running out. So they’re just trying to do two different things, and I clicked with the survival and more permanent consequences in a game like SOD.

      • Agree that State of Decay is more about survival and building around surviving but when everything else is just so bland, it falls flat because it doesn’t have the impact it should have. Imagine if SOD 2 had a great story and characters centered around the purpose of saving those characters in order to truly survive? Maybe something like those characters know how everything started and could maybe solve it. Something like that. Based on the 15 hours I played, I wouldn’t go any higher than a 6.0/10 mainly because outside of the base building elements, everything else was a step backwards compared to the original game. I was expecting improvements across the board and instead, everything somehow got worse except for the base building. Was way more into the original SOD which I bought day one for $20 and played it over TLOU at the time which is saying something. SOD 2 simply didn’t give me the improvements that I was hoping for.

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