By Chase Burgess
Undead Labs tried to create the ultimate zombie survival experience with State of Decay; and to some extent, they did. This Xbox Live arcade game should have been the zombie survival game that every gamer has wanted, should have is the key phrase. The thought of an open world zombie survival experience where you search for supplies, build your base, and trade with other surviving groups all while evading the living dead should make any zombie fanatic salivate. Sadly, the execution isn’t there.
At the start of the game, you take over the character of Marcus Campbell who, along with his best friend Ed Jones, return from a fishing trip to find the area overrun by zombies. After quickly dispatching the ghouls, you head out towards the nearest town. From here you begin building your base and searching for other survivors.
The game strives to be realistic in many ways. If you use the same character over a long period of time, that player becomes fatigued. However, you are allowed to change your character anytime during the game. The more survivors you rescue, the bigger your group becomes. Like most survival games, you have skills that can be upgraded. During the game there are supplies to be scavenged for and outposts to be created for a safe zone. While you’re not playing the game, the AI takes over and controls all of your group members. Members can become sick or lost, but they will not die in your absence. If you fail a mission, the mission is not re-playable, including the game’s final mission. Once a character dies, he stays dead or turns into a zombie. During my play through I lost a team member and was actually sad about him dying. You become emotionally attached to these characters as you play with them.
Weapon management in very important as your weapons degrade over time. Melee weapons serve as the usual weapons in defeating the living dead, however guns are scattered throughout the world. A high power rifle is much louder than a baseball bat, so the player must be careful when selecting how to dispatch a zombie. Hordes of zombies roam the streets of the towns, so a poorly timed shot can result in you being chased by a dozen or so zombies.
The voice acting is stellar, and with so many available characters to play as, along with ones that you come across that you can’t play as, you get to hear many stories about survival and loss. For being a downloadable game, the graphics are amazing.
Sadly. everything else about the game seems pretty average. There were plenty of times where I would be fighting multiple zombies and my character would freeze up. Other times zombies would pop up out of nowhere. These glitches popped up more times than they should have, even with updates and fixes over Xbox Live.
SoD is available for download on Xbox Live and on the PC. SoD is good, but not great. Sadly, the game failed to live up to its hype. State of Decay gets a 3/5.