June 19, 2013

State of Decay Review

Lasting First Impressions

State of Decay, from Undead Labs, pushes boundaries. It pushes the boundaries of CryEngine 3. It pushes the boundaries of the Xbox360 hardware. And it pushes the boundaries of our general gaming experience. There is a plethora of zombie games out there, most of which can be slotted into the survival horror genre of gaming.  State of Decay is a zombie game, but it isn’t a survival horror, it is a zombie survival simulator.  Thrown into a world in which an unknown virus has mutated most of humanity into blood craved lunatics, you must gather allies, find shelter, food, supplies, and, simply put, survive.  Any way possible.  And just like real life, everything you do is permanent.

State of Decay is a game that ingrains itself into your very being, staying with you long after you’ve left the game controller behind. This is a persistent world that will continue to go on living without you, moving in the direction in which you left it.  Manage to increase your allies’ morale and you will come back to find people are getting better, equipment is fixed, and other relatively helpful things will have happened.  Leave the game in a decline, and you may not want to come back; people will leave or die (and there is no coming back from death here), equipment will begin to break down, and your world will simply continue to fall apart.  It’s a scary world out there and Undead Labs have infused the world with a frightening realism.
What would you do if the zombie apocalypse really happened?

A game like this takes much longer than OMG! Nexus’ typical one hour play to understand the intricate nature of the game, so I have spent several hours playing the game.  In several different sittings.  State of Decay is simply intense and, true to the survival simulator moniker, I simply found it a scary place to be.  I wanted to remain inside my compound, but the necessity to eat means I need to get out and look for food supplies.  Weapons break down so we need to get out and look for more.  Supplies will dwindle. People will get sick. Anything you can imagine could happen, will happen.  And so, out of the safety of the compound I must go. Carefully, and quietly.  For if I don’t, the morale of the group will crumble and I will have no one left to watch my back.  Believe me, having someone tag along during a search is welcome company.  Especially when the hordes of zombies begin to slowly take over the town, and they must be dealt with swiftly lest your allies decide they would be safer somewhere else.

State of Decay screen 1
What would you do if the zombie apocalypse really happened? This is a question we, as gamers, have often playfully asked.  Undead Labs not only asked the question, but built an incredibly detailed and beautiful game out of it and then gave you reign of that world to answer the question once and for all.  State of Decay may not be a technically perfect game (zombies get stuck in fences, pass through closed doors and other similar glitches), but perfection isn’t needed to make a game like this incredibly fun and engaging.  This is an open world, third-person shooter, with over 16 square kilometres of land, absolutely no load times, and more zombies than you can shake a stick at. Or an axe. Or a cleaver. Or any number of weapons you can find.  The shear amount of content that Undead Labs have crammed into this game is astonishing. On top of that, the game world is incredibly beautiful and detailed. While most zombie games are satisfied to live in a dead and decaying world where all life seems to have vanished, State of Decay presents a living, breathing, nature-filled world that is simply stunning to behold.  All on a 4 year old engine.
State of Decay is simply an incredible game all around. It is one that truly pits you against the elements and forces you to make difficult decisions in the face of imminent demise.  This is your world. How will you survive?

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About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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