Fans of the original State of Decay have been frothing at the mouth since its’ sequel was announced a while back. State of Decay 2 has been unleashed on to rabid fans this week and so far has been met with mixed feelings. Those mixed feelings aren’t completely unfounded. There is a lot that State of Decay 2 does right, however as with a lot of games it does miss a few steps. Let’s take a look at both sides of the coin before a final verdict is delivered.

A Solid Foundation

State of Decay 2 takes almost all of what made the original work so well and adds to it. The character building system is still intact, allowing players to build their characters into to stronger, more useful members of the community. The skill tree is a little more in-depth this time around, offering players the ability to specialize skills with each level up. Some of the upgrades include better shooting skills, power moves, better handling of bladed weapons, stamina upgrades, etc.

Some more things that shake up the formula include new base add-ons, new infected, weapon changes, and an attempt at making a bigger community system. The new base add-ons include aspects like fuel processing, which is new to the game. Players need to scavenge to gather gas to keep the cars going, it’s also needed to keep any generator powered areas up and running.

Weapon changes include something that to my knowledge wasn’t in the first game. Guns can now jam up after a certain amount of wear and tear. It helps keeps things tense because at any moment that needed bullet can misfire and you’re screwed. The jam is easily fixed at your home base as long as the player has a workshop and the appropriate amount of screws to fix it.

A Home Is Where Your Butt Sits

The community changes deserve their own section here to properly be explained, so here it goes. State of Decay 2 takes the small struggling community vibe from the first game and puts it on a much bigger scale. Other A.I. communities will move into the area and request to trade, offer new quests, and it all seems great in the grand scheme.

In practice, the other communities are infuriating, to say the least. Building relationships are nice, they offer some valuable goods to trade and some of the missions they give are actually enjoyable. However the other communities are so damned fickle, as soon as you skip one mission they become resentful and spew lines like “I thought we could work together, I guess I was wrong”. Then one of two things happen, they either disappear from the map entirely or they become hostile.

Having the other communities chime in on the radio CONSTANTLY is super annoying and detracts from the overall enjoyment of the game. Even characters in-base can get tedious to deal with. They seem to talk a bit more since supplies are harder to come by in the sequel. They often shove ultimatums down the player’s throat and once the mission to fix whatever they are complaining is about start the player has a limited amount of time to deal with it. Which can get unfortunate if the thing they want to be done is on the other side of the map.

One character got rude and nasty towards the community just because of blood plague built up on the other side of the map, nowhere near our base. He started fights, he was insulting, became a menace to the community. Was not sorry to see him walk away.

On the flip side of that hostile neighbors brings interesting new game-play forward. Take for instance if the player has control of the former sheriff named Hopper. Every once in a while that character will get missions to go investigate things for other enclaves. Stolen items, missing people, and murder are all on the table as missions. During one such investigation, Hopper found who had stolen the supplies and went to ask for them to give the supplies back. As soon as Hopper grabbed them the enclave attacked and it became a nail-biting fight to the death! Lardo, Hopper’s back up was lost in the fight. The communities first death was a notable one, but the thieves were killed and the supplies returned. It’s moments like that, that make State of Decay 2 a notably decent sequel.

Immersion

State of Decay 2 gets its’ attempt at immersion nailed down. It is so much more dangerous in this addition to the series to go out alone. The game has stepped up the scare factor with new infected known as the Blood Plague. They are covered in blood and move faster than regular zombies. The new infected will also make Blood Plague Den’s where they heavily occupy an area. The only way to get rid of them is to locate the Blood Plague heart in the building and destroy it. Which can prove really difficult.

They also will infect the player. If the player takes too much damage from these new infected they will contract the blood plague disease, if left untreated by the player they will die from the infection and come back as a zombie. The player has the choice to either kill the infected person off or spare them the antidote. The antidote is easily crafted by gathering tissue samples from blood plague-infected zombies and taking them to your base’s infirmary. If you are the dick that says to kill anyone in the Zombie movie that has any sign of being bitten, you will have fun with this aspect. However, you will also probably run out of survivors a lot faster.

Another great example of the game’s immersion comes at nightfall. At night the darkness completely engulfs the player. The flashlight allows for a little bit of sight, but player really can’t see ten feet in front of themselves. So the fear sets in as players think to themselves “What the hell is out there?”

Growing Pains

State of Decay 2 is far from perfect, but there have been worse sequels made. While State of Decay 2 can be enjoyable and a great experience there are some glaring errors in the game. Most of them come from simple glitches that can be patched at a later date. For example, sometimes there are doors that are visibly open, but when you go up to them you can’t go through and have to reopen them. I found some glitched ladders that were not usable for some reason. It just glitched the player into the wall and they couldn’t move and had to reset. The car glitch from State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition has been mostly fixed. Cars, for the most part, don’t flip wildly into the air when they slam into an object.

One of the only major complaints against the game is that the story is buried. So much so that it feels like you can miss it if you aren’t paying attention. Character specific missions move the story of the group along, but so far it seems like most of the story is conveyed through radio chatter between bigger factions like Red Talon. That group has been conduction off-screen missions and the radio chatter has been telling that story. It is kind of a bummer that the story seems to be playing out this way. It should be displayed predominately at the forefront of the gameplay or at least riding shotgun to the scavenging.

Multiplayer

First and foremost Multiplayer is nowhere near as bad as it has been made out to be. It works similar to how Minecraft worlds do in the sense that everything that happens in that world story wise stays in that world. The nonhost can earn achievements and has a reduced amount of scavenging allowing the host a bigger profit. That’s where a lot of players have disconnected.

It works like this, in an area with ten searchable containers the host has access to seven and the guest player gets three if they’re lucky. That has turned off a bunch of players but it really isn’t all bad. The host can drop stuff they collect and the guests can grab them as needed and vice versa. The guests are also tethered to the host in terms of a radius. So if you are a guest in your friends game you can’t get a certain amount of distance away. Some people have been freaking out about this but it is unwarranted, you get a massive amount of distance to play with. It’s about a quarter of the map you can free roam through before you break the distance and teleport back.

It feels like it was meant to play on the sense of community to have it work this way, making the players work together much like a community of survivors would. It works well if you have a group of friends who don’t mind sharing and working together. Or even jumping from world to world to help accomplish each other’s goals. The point is it the multiplayer isn’t as bad as some reviews and players have made it out to be, and it is reported the tethering may even be patched out soon.

Achievements

On a more positive note, the achievement list for is surprisingly fun to chase. A lot of them unlock with simple stuff, kill a thousand zombies, destroy plague hearts, raid ten locations, kill a juggernaut. There are some fun ones on the list as well such as killing fifty zombies with a car door and ‘Piggyback Ride’ which in order to unlock you have to kill a juggernaut with a melee execution, which by-the0way, is so much fun to watch. More importantly, they aren’t centered around having to endlessly grind or rely on multiplayer in order to get, which is great for those who enjoy single player.

Overall

To close it out, State of Decay 2 isn’t as bad as it has been made to be perceived. It is a solid add-on to the State of Decay universe that die-hard fans and newcomers alike can enjoy. It features three massive maps to play on (you settle on one per community). The same enjoyable gameplay the first one built with a ton of new add-ons that for the most part improve the game and add depth to it. State of Decay 2 is bleak and filled with a despaired atmosphere that makes the night a truly horrific experience.  There are a lot of great moments in this game but as I said before it does have some flaws. If you are looking for an immersive, creepy zombie game than State of Decay 2 is the one you’ve been looking for.

State of Decay 2 Review
The Good
  • Keeps the gamplay from the original
  • Add-ons bring new mechanics that work well
  • Atmosphere is top notch at night
The Bad
  • Multiplayer is a mixed bag
  • Tedious community mechanics
  • Buried story
8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)
0.7

About The Author

Allen S
Editorial/Reviews Team, Manager

I started gaming when I was seven years old. I started my own game studio when I was twelve, went to school for game design. Now I work here and also on my own YouTube channel