State of Decay 2 refines some of the original title’s ideas but fails to streamline its many systems in an appealing way resulting in an experience marred with monotony and the occasional entertaining moment.

Developer, Undead Labs’ 2015 hit, State of Decay introduced a somewhat unique approach to the at the time fledgling scavenge/survival genre. It introduced systems to the player that gauged not only health and energy but also the well-being of your survivors and how their individual skills could benefit your chosen group of survivalists. It was an interesting approach that made the title stand out among its shambling heard of peers but ultimately the glitchy nature of the title and its lack of soul failed to make its name relevant beyond the titles launch window.

Fast-forward a couple years and the aptly named sequel, State of Decay 2 has hit shelves.

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Right off the bat, State of Decay 2 looks like a slightly glossier version of the original. Lighting, foliage and structures both of the dilapidated and whole variety are well done. The character models give off a cartoony vibe and clash beautifully with all the on-screen ferocity that’ll take up a large portion of your time with the title. The general gameplay loop of State of Decay is as follows: You will start as a lone survivor, that will in time accrue other survivors and have them join your settlement. Rather than mindless drones that will follow you and defend your encampment, each survivor has varying stats that make him or her unique. This lends a tactical element to decision making, which is appreciated. In between beefing up your ranks with able bodied survivors, you’ll also do activities such as, strengthen your settlements, clear out zombie nests, and loot abandoned parts of the surrounding area.

If the activities sound tedious, it’s because they are. These handful of undertakings have been a staple in modern gaming for a while now. To warrant their inclusion, a more nuanced approach at this point would have to be necessary. Sate of Decay 2 fails to do this and thus, becomes an exercise in tedium quite fast. That isn’t to say that the title is completely void of fun however. Barely making it back to your vehicle after a supply run and burning rubber to escape the shambling hordes makes for an exhilarating experience. Situations such as this are made even more fun with a buddy via cooperative mode. As is the case with most titles, playing alongside some friends makes for a more enjoyable time. State of Decay 2 is no exception.

State of Decay 2 also features surprisingly deep base management options. Everything from inputting a larger kitchen in hopes of bettering morale, to implementing a safer sleeping situation to improve safety, the options here are varied. Though with this said, I never felt that spending hours tending to my settlements made a world of difference. Another thing that State of Decay 2 has going against it is the bevy of glitches. Just like in the first game, glitches are present and will be noticed. Perhaps future patches will alleviate this issue, but in the titles current state, bugs run just as rampant as the game’s undead. Granted these aren’t game breaking glitches, just ones that break any sense of immersion and thus, cut tension faster than a whoopee cushion deflating during a screening of The Exorcist.

State of Decay 2 offers what the first game did but with a touch more depth when it comes to the hands-off, base-managing, survivor-recruiting portion. The core of the titles is the same. If you enjoyed the first title will most likely enjoy playing the sequel, as it’s simply more of that game. But those craving a quality survival experience should probably look elsewhere.

Tense moments
Main tasks are tedious.
Base management doesn’t need to be this deep.

Review Summary

Only State of Decay fans need apply.

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