Sunday, April 13, 2014

State of Decay
19.99usd + 6.99usd for Breakdown DLC
Also on xBox360

There can never be enough good zombie games. And of course there are plenty of crappy ones too, but thankfully State of Decay isn't one of them. SoD is a zombie survival simulator focused on rebuilding community after the apocalypse. I have 19 hours invested in to this game currently and with the exception of a few bugs and one annoyingly lacking feature, this game is worth every damn penny!

My Experience Thus Far
The game started me out near a pier with someone nearby being chomped on by three zombies. I quickly jumped in and helped finish them off then we made for the ranger post up the path looking for refuge. Once we arrived there we found four or so fellow survivors and I volunteered to scout out some supplies. I climbed the ranger post's water tower and holding down right mouse I was able to point my curser at everything and anything of interest. Each time I did this a wheel turned and then the point was identified as tents, cook outs, bathrooms, etc. They also are labeled thus on my map now. Very nice!

I climbed back down, smacked around two zombies and with my friend in tow we grabbed some medical stuff from a nearby campsite. Heading back... well the outpost didn't fair so well, two folks inside looks like went zombie from injuries and ate the others. We finished both off and then through radio we made contact with a group living out of a church back in town. Now three of us (one person in outpost survived), we crossed a river since the bridge was down, found a car and beat feet to the church. The church is a nice spot, makeshift guard tower and room for three upgrades inside the churches walls. I had the lady on cb radio chase me down crafting resource material sites and over the next hour or so chased them down collecting enough resources to build a garden, a medical tent and additional sleeping quarters. The medical tent keeps folks healthy and increases recovery. The additional sleeping quarters were necessary, when I arrived here the church had three beds and 8 folks including us three. I've found survivors here and there, brought them back to the church so.. yeah, more bedding was needed. Lastely the garden provides food making us mostly self sufficient!

Random events occur in this game. One of the survivors, a sheriff had a black and white mindset regarding folks getting sick. The church preacher took ill, sheriff shot him. Freaked out the camp. Didn't last long though, sheriff took ill a day or two later and I shot him. Other things occur, other survivors have started setting up camp in nearby houses and whatnot. Their not interested in moving in with us but are willing to trade. Initially this was annoying because I wanted their strength of numbers in my camp but as fate would have it they don't defend themselves very well and don't last very long. Their demise is always signaled by a help request over the radio, someone somewhere wants my help clearing a site of loot. I go out there, defend them and then give them a ride back to their hideout. They give me half the resources looted and half the time we arrive at their hideout to find it overrun by zombies with everyone dead inside. Naturally I help clear the zombies, I help loot everyones rucksacks and then I take any survivors back to my base. Nifty.

The local government is running out of a town hall, they offered refuge to all my fellow church campers with the rule that all modern laws are enforced including no vigilanty gun toating. IE, surrender the weapons. My character literally said 'fuck that!' and instead I just occasionally do mission work for them. The military has made itself known as well but their definitely looking out for themselves. They've ignored radio pleas for help from various survivors and even kicked out / shot squatters that they find in houses on their patrols. Inside the camp random events also occur. Folks get depressed or become agitated and you take them out and have a heart to heart while smashing zombies because thats always good for the soul.

Doing just about anything in this game improves / ruins reputations with groups of people. Reputation is an actual currency in this game, going to any groups supply locker shows everything available and a reputation point cost to buy. You can replenish reputation by doing things for them and also by giving them stuff you find. Reputation is also used when establishing outposts (quick access spots that have a supply locker in them linked to your base), Clearing up buildings of resources (someone literally runs from your base to the building your in and loots it, this often results in necessary rescues of that person on the road, defending them while their looting the building and usually escorting them back), and moving your entire base of operations.

I initially didn't care for the forced to swap between survivors mechanic of this game until two things became clear. One, it adds realism. Your character gets tired, needs to sleep. Your character takes enough damage, needs some down time to heal. Ignoring these two factors gradually reduces your stamina bar (used for hitting stuff and running) and your health bar (obvious). Now whats interesting is that every survivor in your camp can be played once they like you well enough and new comers usually have something they'd like your help with to get them on the friendly side. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses but there is a full skill system here that simply improves with practice. Lead/rescue people increases leadership, kills stuff for combat, run around for stamina, and so on. Very very nice.

As for my people? I scrapped up enough resources and increased the head count of my group high enough to move out of the church. I'm not sure if it was just time or additional folk moving in in the area but bigger and meaner zombies were starting to show up and in larger horde numbers. Hordes are groups of 10 or more zombies randomly patrolling the streets. The church was seeing near constant activity from attacks, time to go. I have moved my group across the map to an industrial district, found a really nice huge warehouse surrounded by bobwire and fencing. I repaired the various existing storage mechanic shop and sleeping area. Then added more sleeping, a guard tower, a medical tent, a farm, a kitchen and a work out area. I'm now working on upgrades to everything while searching for survivors to swell my ranks. This warehouse is large, needs more head county to keep it safe.

There is a storyline to this game but I've been largely ignoring it thus far in favor of the exploring and community building aspects which I really like and find unique in this type of genre.

Bugs wise? I got stuck in a window frame once and zombies bug out too ocasionally. Npc pathfinding is in the toilet, I just watched a survivor run down the street and climb a fence back and forth over and over twelve times because it was along the route they wanted to take.

Missing feature? A manual save button. The game saves periodically, period. No way of controlling this aside from noting it usually saves right after you do a mission or right before someone dies (... grrr ...).

What I'd like to see? Co-Op would be amazing!

So yea, I'm totally addicted here and enjoying every damn minute of this game :) Will no doubt follow up with my of my experiences in SoD!


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