GeekBlog July, 9th 2013 by Todd Bristow

State of Decay Review - Just Michael

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State of Decay. An XBLA game for 1600 ms points ($20.00) A 3rd person, resource management, zombie survival game with base building elements from Undead Labs.

You start out as a survivor with a friend facing the Zombie Apocalypse. Your starting survivor has been in a national park camping and fishing for two weeks, so he has no idea what is going on. You guide him to meet up with more survivors and attempt to build a base. It is important to switch control between friendly survivors, as the longer you play as one the more tired and less effective they get. This game has a great resource management system. Resources are limited. Once a building is scavenged the resources are gone. Excess food you scavenge will spoil and there is only so much storage space, so keep an eye on what you scavenge and when.

Not all your survivors are cookie cutter characters. Different survivors have different skills, these skills interact with base elements so it can be difficult to determine who to bring along and who will not be as useful in your base. More over if you don’t have enough space for all your survivors, how do you manage that? Do you just send a survivor out to be eaten by zombies? Survivors are resources and there morale affects your influence. Influence is currency, so if morale is low because you aren’t attending to base needs, or because you sent a survivor out to die, then you won’t have any influence to supply your survivors, build base elements, or use base element’s special abilities. When a survivor dies, the game saves. No going back to the save before. Life is precious and you need to treat it so. Even though these are slow moving zombies you can easily get overwhelmed if you are not careful.
I had a great time playing through this game. The first time, however, I was shocked when my survivor got ripped in half by a Juggernaut Zed. Even more shocked when the game saved right then and I couldn’t go back to a previous save to rescue him. I restarted. How dare this game! When, a little further down the line, I lost that survivor (the starting survivor) again. I was damn frustrated. A zombie horde proved too much for my lone survivor. I restarted again. I would not fail this survivor. Someone must make it through this entire horror game world so my conscience could be untarnished. Then a Feral Zombie leapt at him on my third attempted play through. I was devastated! He was searching for one of my other survivors who had gone missing. He had just defeated a horde so he was a little weakened. His trusty machete had dulled on the many skulls of the shamblers he had fought. Now as he moved from building to building, my trusty survivor was attacked from behind by one of the quicker, more vicious Feral zombies. He didn’t have the strength to fight it off.

The game saved.
I mourned.

Lilly, one of the other survivors eulogized as my control shifted to a resting survivor at the base. “He wasn’t with us very long, but he will be missed.”

The game goes on… missions need to be completed. In order to move forward we need to accept our losses… reassess our resources… and carry on… for the sake of what we have left.

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