Whilst first impressions from my initial plays with State of Decay 2 are positive they aren’t perfect. For every good point there seems to be a negative to counter it. There’s a lingering feeling that State of Decay 2 seems to have been rushed to release. I can’t currently comment on the multiplayer side of the game as I chose to play uninterrupted via offline solo. It’s worth noting that I have been playing the Xbox One version so I can’t verify whether the PC version has the same graphical issues as Xbox One.
Conversations between characters is very scripted with obvious choices to choose as a response. Tasks and quests are readily available and visibly marked on the game map. Whilst playing solo it’s the responsibly of the player to collect most of the resources needed. Almost feels as though you are a donkey hauling resources back and forth from locations. There is the odd occasion whereby a team member will communicate on the radio stating they have acquired some resources. Gathering resources and upgrading safe houses is where I can see the multiplayer aspect of this game shining. Working together as a team and sharing responsibility would really reduce the load on a single person.
Collecting and carrying equipment, weapons and resources is arduous due to the limited capacity of the player backpacks along with the players inability to carry heavy loads efficently. It’s a juggling act to carry a variety of items whilst not overburdening the character with excess weight. Larger bags can be found throughout the map though they also weigh more than the smaller versions so there do have their limitations. In essence a larger bag is useful for resource runs which don’t require the ability to maneuver fast for the most part. A lighter smaller bag can be used for combat and missions so the player isn’t overburdened with weight bearing down on them.
Fighting zombies becomes a lot easier when your accompanied by a a friendly character as they just tend to throw themselves in to the action like a commando with no regard for their own safety. I haven’t found myself overwhelmed with zombies yet as there has always been a convenient way to escape whether it be climbing a ladder to the top of a building or running back to the safe house.
“Poor optimization but really engaging and atmospheric experience.”
Thrust immediately into the action there is a real sense of survival reminiscent of featuring in the TV series The Walking Dead. When night comes and darkness falls the feeling of dread is intense. This is where State of Decay 2 really shines. It’s very atmospheric, reminiscent of Alan Wakes harrowing scenes which is a great achievement as Alan Wake is one of my personal favourite games. State of Decay 2 captures the intensity perfectly. Line of sight is very limited forcing the player to be heavily reliant on the trusty flashlight. This is also the case when opening doors exposing dark rooms. There’s just no knowing what’s around the corner. When a hoard comes I run and this is really testament to the games design. I truly feel part of the game and take on the traits and requirements of the games character.
The graphics are extremely poor with limited draw distance, low quality textures and poor frame rate. You’d be forgiven for thinking you are playing on previous generation consoles. There are significant dips in frame rate which becomes more evident when turning quickly. Due to the limited draw distance zombies pop in and out at a distance. Surface textures are really poor, there’s not much detail and even at a medium distance the textures aren’t loaded thus looking incredibly bland.
Personally I’m not a fan of the influence scheme within the game at the moment. To explain it simply the players positive actions such as providing resources to the safe house and completing quests provides positive influence. To clear a building as safe all enemy presence needs to be eradicated and all rooms checked. Then there the small white flag at the location will change from a cross to pure white. This is an indication that you can claim the building as a safe zone however all too often you’ll find that you haven’t gained enough influence to do this so have to leave with your tail between your legs and frustrated. Surely if the areas cleared and all checks throughout have been completed that should be enough.
The positive is that the shortcomings that are currently plaguing State of Decay 2 can hopefully be resolved with future updates to the game. The core gameplay is fun and well designed. Given time hopefully State of Decay 2 will become the game it should’ve been on release. It’s poorly optimized but a really engaging and atmospheric experience. For now it fails to live up to it’s full potential but still a lot of fun.
Fascinated with gaming since the old cassette based computers. Custom-building and repairing computers for 20 years and have been creating websites for 5 years. I’ve been a geek way before it became fashionable. Video game collector and gamer. Mainly a PC gamer though do enjoy console exclusives. Created Zorf Gaming to share my passion for gaming. I’m the web-designer/developer, content creator, editor, video creator. In essence this is my passion and I like nothing more than to share it with you. Currently writing my first book ‘A Father’s Daughter’.