Guns, guts, gore and tons of management. Will you be able to survive this zombie apocalypse without dying of boredom? Find out in this State of Decay 2 review.
If I have to be honest, I’m not one of those people that usually says “This game is just perfect 10/10 GOAT”, not even with the games that I really enjoy like Super Metroid, Castlevania SotN or many others. I like to evaluate the things that I’m playing and watching and think to myself “is this boring, or dull, or fun?”. At the end of the day, all reviews are just a subjective perception of what we think about something in particular. That’s why I have to say that, to me, State of Decay 2 was not a pleasant experience. “And why is that?”, you may ask. Well, just read this State of Decay 2 review and you’ll see.
Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?
It’s funny how companies work. I mean, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? Well you see, in gaming culture, that can be done IF the first game it’s basically amazing. However, I would not dare to say that about the first entry of State of Decay. Don’t get me wrong, the game was fun, the concept was interesting and the overall visuals were okay. But at the end of the day it was just a mediocre game with neat features that lacked polish. And then, out of nowhere, State of Decay 2 was announced. And it was looking… the same?
You know what they say about the “don’t judge a book by its cover” thing? Well, you can judge it with this game, because what you saw on trailers is basically what’s present here. Zombies, hitting zombies with stuff, pretty graphics and slight base building (I’ll talk this part soon). And the worst part of all? Not a clear improvement over the first game. Because that’s what people like about sequels, right? Well, jokes on you fans, because now we have even less features!
Do you wanna build a fortress?
Let’s talk about the main big feature of the game: base building. So, picture this: imagine that you played State of Decay back when it was a thing on Xbox 360. You played around 10 hours, you had some fun, but overall you thought “man, this could be improved in a few areas”. Jump back to 2018 and what do you get in terms of new things for the base? Almost nothing! Fantastic! You can only work with the places that the base allows you to work with (only two in the first base because no matter how hard you try or which one of the three areas you start in the first base will be always have the same layout). These spots will allow you to build basically what you saw in the first game: workshops, an infirmary, latrines,… And some new ones like a solar array, a rain collector and a shooting range.
In concept this sounds cool, but you’ll see that the NPCs never interact with the facilities at all. You send someone to sleep, and they’ll be hanging around like you never told them anything. Did you build a Watchtower? Enjoy wasting ammo with a defense system worse than just killing zombies all by yourself. And of course, you will want to fly out of the nest and survive with your community on a bigger place, because you’ll see that resources near your location will run out quick. And once you do that… You’ll see that it’s not worth it.
I’m starting to see a pattern…
Repetition. This is something that it’s usually present in this type of games, but in the case of State of Decay 2, this just gets boring after a while. After reaching the 10 hour mark in my gameplay, I was starting to feel sick of doing the same thing over and over again with no sense of progression whatsoever. I mean, helping a fellow survivor it’s fine, but when you are almost constantly being annoyed by people demanding your help over and over again like you were a zombie apocalypse babysitter, it makes you go mad.
No matter how hard you try, you will get bored. It’s funny, because after completing “give x supplies to the survivor” for the 25th time, I thought that I was doing something wrong. But no, no I wasn’t. You gather supplies, you waste those supplies in the creation of something that will slow the usage of those supplies, and then you go find more supplies. If I hear the sentence “we are running low on supplies here” again I swear I’ll turn myself into a mindless zombie too.
Some good among this evil
I know I’m just ranting about the game, but I enjoyed some things about the game. In terms of sound and light this game it’s pretty amazing. When you hit a zombie with a tire iron, you can hear a satisfying “CLUNK!”. The brainless corpses growling and snarling in the distance brings dread in the night sections, and oh boy what a pleasant thing to play when the night comes.
This game does something that not many people do right in games with day/night cycles: it makes night dark. This may sound stupid, but usually when you play a game and everything goes dark, you usually still see around pretty well. Not in this game though, as night sections in State of Decay 2 are darker than the heart of an EA executive. And that’s a good thing to have in a game focused on survival horror, otherwise it would be called State of Joy.
I don’t like to talk about games more than I would like to because I know people get tired after a while, so I’ll end by saying that State of Decay 2 is not a bad game, it’s something far worse: a boring one. Some games can be fun yet barely polished, but when a game it’s just a collection of repetitive missions, not visually engaging base building, really dull and boring animations (some NPCs don’t even move their mouths) and a constant sense of walking on circles, how can you say something nice about it? If you never played the first State of Decay, this might please you for a while. But if you played the first title well, this is just the same stuff with a ReShade filter on it.