Flirting With The Apocalypse - DJH Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Flirting With The Apocalypse

With the current generation of consoles coming to a close, that hasn't stopped such amazing triple A titles being released, such as BioShock:Infinite, Tomb Raider, the upcoming The Last Of Us, and many more. But out of all these games, there is one under the radar game that released earlier in the week.

State of Decay is a third person zombie oriented survival/action title, developed by Undead Labs and published by Microsoft.

 

While it may not be very recognizable just yet, the game has had a following for quite some time, and has recently sold more than a quarter of a million copies in just a few days. Me and a friend of mine have been eying the game since he got his hands on a playable demo back at PAX East.

While there is no absence of zombie games on the market right now, State Of Decay toys with the idea of how the apocalypse should go, and how surviving should play out. And unlike other titles that have offered this premise and failed, this game delivers on all fronts, and holds no mercy on the weak and lighthearted.

When you start off the game, you start with two survivors being attacked by a couple of “zeds”, as the game calls the undead. After surviving the attack, you and your friend make your way to a cabin to meet with other survivors. Unsure and unaware of what Is happening, you head off to find other survivors. As you explore, you follow the trace of gunshots, discovering another survivor being besieged by zombies. Upon saving her, she joins your party, and is now a playable character. Figuring the woods isn't safe anymore, any remaining survivors head off into town, and discover the impending apocalypse right at your feet.

As you progress through the game, you discover “homes”. While you do discover houses, your Home is the homebase where you resupply, recover from any wounds, and change characters. Most survivors you stumble upon can be recruited into coming back to your Home and join your community. Each survivor has their own unique set of skills and abilities. In your Home, you can build certain facilities to help the survivors. Need a watchtower? It's buildable in certain spots, considering your Home doesn't already have one. Have wounded and need medical treatment? Set up a tent to heal any survivors that need attention. With each facility, you'll most likely need a survivor who can help operate it. Such as a survivor with medical training to help heal wounds, or someone who can fix up your weapons and vehicles. Each survivor can contribute in some way, but there are some that are vital to keep your community safe and secure.

While Home is the most secure place you can be at, you must maintain it to keep it that way. Over time, supplies will decrease, and you must resupply. Gather construction material to maintain your perimeter, and construct /upgrade facilities. Gather food from looting houses or stores to keep your fellow survivors fed. Find medicine to keep your survivors healthy. While this may be a simple task at hand to simply gather supplies, they are limited. Once you clean out a house/warehouse/store/or anything, the supplies are gone They will not replenish. Eventually you will have to expand your search radius, making it difficult, and more dangerous, to keep your people safe and armed. Eventually the area you are in will run out of resources, thereby forcing you to build your Home somewhere else.

Things at Home, however, are not always good. Your base has a moral system. As supplies dwindle, the moral goes down. If there's a dispute between fellow survivors, moral also dwindles. Or if there's too many infestations near your Home, it lowers. It is best to deliver supplies, help out any survivor who needs aid in the field, destroying infestations, and building more beds and facilities to accommodate survivors, to help keep the community happy. Otherwise, people will leave.

While you can get attached to the characters you started with, each character gets tired after some time, and need to rest and/or heal. So you will need to switch between characters in order to give your fellow survivors a break. And taking a break is wise, whereas the game utilizes the permadeath system. If your survivor dies while out in the field, he or she, is gone for good.

Walking is the best method of going from destination to destination. While it may be more dangerous, it is wiser, since vehicles do not respawn, and are limited. You can repair a vehicle back at Home, but it takes some time, and a specific facility suited to repairing vehicles. And while vehicles can take out a horde of zombies in one strike, the vehicle get severely damaged easily.

State Of Decay encourages people to play things out smartly. Instead of running into a house, gun shot after gunshot, and resupply, you can sneak into a house, and scavenge what loot remains. Zombies will not notice you right away if you're sneaking. Though running, and scavenging, makes noise, attracting any nearby flesh eater waiting for you. Or if you want to lure any zombie out of hiding, or distract them so you can sneak by, you can use firecrackers to get them to appear. There's more than one solution to scavenging. Using those solutions is up to you.

 

To make things easier for you and any survivor, you can set up outposts in any building you've cleared of the undead. It makes things safer for any runner you have going to a house to pick up supplies, and makes it easier for you to restock. Strategy is a good tactic on outposts, since you only have a limited amount of outposts you can use.

You are not alone, however. As you progress, you discover different types of undead. Each special type is challenging in it's on virtue. While easy to take out if prepared, any unsuspecting attack from any of these creatures can result in the loss or serious injury of a survivor.

While the game forces you to be serious in trying to survive, it has it's comedic moments. Such as banter between whoever you're playing as, and Lily, the person communicating to you from Home.

You: ”I'm bringing back a little something.” Lily: “Ooh, what you get?” You:” A pony. But then it tried to eat me, so I shot it in the head.” Lily: “That's just disturbing on so many levels.”

 

The achievements are amusing as well. With some clear references to movies such as Jaws, Aliens, and Zombieland. And one achievement I discovered by accident after being overwhelmed with zombies. Seeing the titles pop up, I couldn't help but laugh at the name. I will leave the surprise for you to find. While using a car can be dangerous as the sound attracts enemies, it delivers some of the most fun I've had in games. As you drive around, you can swing your car door open, killing any zombie as you drive by. Spending hours driving around hitting zombies with your car door? Priceless.

 

While mirrored with some technical issues and some glitches, the game is as close to a perfect zombie game as you can get. With permadeath, limited resources, and a nightmare waiting to eat you alive, the game is as good as any downloadable title can be. The entirety of it is gorgeous, fun, and brutal all at once.

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