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Catch Up: State of Decay

I thought I’d never get the chance to experience State of Decay, but with its sequel nearing release in just a few months, I managed to find the time to play through it. State of Decay is an interesting game, and to be quite honest, a difficult one to write about.

The story of State of Decay is a simple one, two friends have gone on a fishing trip and while they’re away a virus breaks out and people are infected. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table in that regard, but the great thing about State of Decay is its sense of danger as you play.

Players start the game in control of Marcus, who is accompanied by his best friend Ed. Eventually the two meet others, and a community is formed. However, if players are unlucky enough to die as Marcus or as any other character that’s playable, that’s it. They’re gone for good. This can be especially worrying at times, as the tides can turn rather quickly in State of Decay, and losing characters that you’ve levelled for such a long period of time can be a tough pill to swallow. I was lucky enough to avoid this, but there were some close calls. It’s such a simple mechanic, but the team at Undead Labs have managed to keep players on their toes at all times when playing State of Decay.

The game provides players with various quests to complete alongside the main storyline. Some of these require players to scavenge locations for supplies, killing special infected, and more. There are five types of special infected in the game, although the Juggernaut is really the only one that provides much of a challenge to players (as long as they’re cautious). Scavenging allows players to collect weapons and supply their homes, and it’s probably my favourite thing about the game. Much like the rest of the game, players also need to be cautious when scavenging as well. Collecting items takes time, and the noise can attract infected, especially if you choose to rush it. It can create some tense scenarios, especially if you’re unlucky enough to attract the attention of a passing horde.

I’ve also gotta give a special mention to the soundtrack. I was pleasantly surprised by how great it was. Not only does it accommodate for tense situations, such as when you’re surrounded by zombies and unsure of whether you’ll make it out alive, but it’s also surprisingly calming at times, such as when you’re travelling to the next town or quest.

I could talk about how fun State of Decay is forever, but the technical side of things needs to be discussed considering the state that the game is in. To put it bluntly; on a technical level State of Decay is a complete and utter mess. In my playthrough, it became clear that the game was riddled with issues, and I can’t quite put my finger on why they were never addressed. At multiple points in the game, I came across enemies that had sank through the floor, or would glitch through doorways and attack my character. I was also subjected to significant framerate issues on a regular basis, with it sometimes being so bad that the screen would freeze completely for a few seconds before returning back to normal. I was playing the Xbox One version of the game, so I don’t quite understand why these issues were allowed to carry over, but I’ll hope that State of Decay 2 isn’t as prone to issues as much as this game is.

While it is great fun to play, State of Decay’s numerous technical issues hold it back from being something that’s truly amazing. Because of this, I can’t recommend it for its current price ($30.00AUD on the Xbox Store), but if you can catch it on sale or if you’re a Game Pass subscriber, it’s worth checking out.

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