State of Decay: 2 Years of Slaughtering Zombies And Surviving
Two summers ago, I cleaned houses to earn extra cash, solely to buy a brand new zombie video game. In June of 2013, State of Decay launched, becoming Xbox Live Arcade’s best-selling original game. Now you may ask yourself, “what does this add to an already existing horror genre?” SoD focuses on surviving the zombie apocalypse. Yes, you get guns and melee weapons to bash brains in, but you’re also given characters with unique traits and skills, and once a zombie conquers them, they’re gone for good. Not only must you survive, you must seek shelter, food, ammunition that’ll diminish over time, material to build projects to advance your home into a formidable stronghold, and fuel to maintain your home base.
A Brief Summary
Thrown into the midst of a zombie battle, the player controls Marcus and with his friend, Ed, the two make their way to a ranger station to find answers. Being told to scout for nearby loot-able areas by an older man, the pair hear gunshots and immediately find Corporal Maya Torres and her two deceased companions, fending off a wave of zombies. After returning to the ranger station, the trio find everyone dead and upon checking the deceased leader’s body, Ed is wounded. Finding transport is relatively easy in the small towns (hard in-game when in the fields) and makes the journey easier. The trio continue onward after contacting the daughter of the dead leader, Lily.
Once there, you’re thrown into gaining medical supplies for not only Ed, but Lily, who informs you after completing the mission she had lupus. In between finding care for the wounded Ed, you’re tasked with helping other enclaves, maintaining a steady supply of items to keep your survivors happy, and simply surviving the chaos. In later missions, you meet the Wilkersons, three-later-two redneck brothers who abuse other survivors, The Grange survivors who have a leader with a shady past, an enclave that houses law officials with an overbearing judge in charge, and lastly, the army who make survivors’ lives miserable in the beginning before being left behind by superior officers. In the end, the army help you leave the fortified town of Marshall.
Two Years Later…
State of Decay remains a best-seller on Xbox Live Arcade. It helped reintroduce that indie games are sometimes best, and survival horror continuously instills fear. Sorry post-Resident Evil 4, I’ve lost all hope in ever getting scared again if you continually release sub par games (Revelations 1 & 2 are excluded from my hate). Undead Labs produced a gem, that not only scares me today (seriously, I jumped when a zombie sprung from the shadows the morning of writing this) but is still playable after a few years have passed. And to add more fun to the zombie killing experience, two downloadable content (DLC) add-ons were released in 2013 and 2014. Breakdown saw the player survive for as long as possible, the game becoming infinite in theory. With more weaponry at your disposal and new previously-unplayable characters, the game sees to it that you leave your previously enclosed valley for another.
The Lifeline DLC places you in the military, who are in the city of Danforth, fending off zombies in order to rescue surviving scientists. More complicated than its predecessors, your home base is periodically attacked by waves of zombies, whom may or may not kill the survivors you’ve rescued, though that depends on how good of a shot you are. Recently, the game was re-released for the Xbox One as State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition. The update featured both DLCs as well as improved on the graphics, adding environmental factors such as fog and depth to shadows.
With two years under its belt, State of Decay is living to its fullest potential. Founder Jeff Strain has high hopes for this in becoming a series, and I will join along with supporting the blossoming franchise. From the intense survival skills to the excitement in facing the unknown, State of Decay is a must for your gaming library.