State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition Review
ack in 2013 when i played the original State of Decay on the Xbox 360, i went into the whole experience with few knowledge of what to expect from the game. But it hooked me right from the beginning and turned out to be one of those games that can suck you into the experience and create these unique, tense situations that rarely happen and stay with you. While these great memories for State of Decay all came back when i put in the Survival Year One Edition, something else came back to me. Something dark…
But let’s dive into the basics first. For those of you who haven’t played the original, State of Decay puts you into an open world that is infested with zombies and you have to find a way out. Sounds familiar. But with a distinctive way of putting it’s mechanics together, you will soon have to build a homebase and scavenge for food, weapons and medicine that you can bring back to your camp. Finding new survivors, keeping their moral up and leveling their skills are all part of your job description. You are able to switch between the characters, but if someone dies, they are gone for good.
Every step into unknown territory is tense. Losing a fully leveled character is madness, trust me.
So what has changed in the Year One Survival Edition? It has been remastered into a sharp 1080p, with improved textures and lighting, but sadly the game still looks very much outdated. The higher resolution works against the games presentation sometimes, making pop-in’s more noticeable. The screen tearing from the Xbox 360 version is gone, but the framerate issues seem to be completely untouched. Without any reason, the framerate will drop down to a downright unplayable state sometimes. This can happen while you drive straight down the road without anything going on as well as in fights.
Animations, especially during combat, have a stuttering look to it and could have used some attention as well. Clipping issues and some general bugs are all still present and drag the feel of the world down while you roam around the world. I have to admit, as much as i keep imagining what this game could have been had these issues been resolved, i still can overlook all the issues and enjoy the game that is underneath that rough presentation.
If you like what you play, you will overlook what you see
While you progress through the story, you will have to relocate and find a new base for you and your growing survivor friends. It feels incredible to scout for potential new homes and building it up, piece by piece into a solid fortress with it’s own little ecosystem. You can assign different spaces like, training areas, a garden for food supply, more beds to take in more survivors or watchtowers for safety and more . Leaving everything behind that you built, to move on to a bigger and better home always comes with a heavy heart, but keeps things interesting in a very natural way. State of Decay really knows how to set the mood and nails the feeling of being in a community and pulling together.
Aside from your main base you can also build safe zones in cleared houses that you can use to restock. Side missions are spread across the world in which you help out survivors in need, play matchmaker, or go on trips to destroy the undead. Hunting or Infestation missions have you kill zombies with special abilities that are harder to kill.
If you find more supplies than you can carry, you are able to call home and let someone from the group pick it up. Your ally can be attacked during the trip and you might have give backup. Everything has a nice dynamic feel to it which adds lots of variety to situations you find yourself in.
DLC-packs already on board
You also get the previously released DLC packs that include Breakdown and Lifeline. Breakdown offers you a new cast in the familiar world. Difficulty levels make resource management and tactical thinking more important than ever. Lifeline on the other hand changes things up a bit more by letting you play as US Army unit that is sent to the city of Danforth to find a cure.
State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition is in many ways a could have would have. Making you bang your head against the wall in one moment and rewarding you with excellent survival horror moments in the next. The sense of community and accomplishment are it’s greatest strengths and really spice up this genre. Unfortunately the technical issues are holding it back. If you are new to State of Decay it is definitely worth checking out, especially with the packed full Year One Survival Edition that includes the 2 DLC’s, Breakdown and Lifeline