When playing a game like State of Decay 2, you find out quickly that every choice counts. You’ll constantly be put into scenarios like “should I scavenge the building across the street or should I drive to a gas station for fuel?” The scenarios you encounter really make State of Decay 2 an enjoyable experience. However, the game is plagued by a gigantic amount of bugs and glitches that really damage the overall experience.
In State of Decay 2, you start by choosing a profile of two characters and picking one of the three maps to play in. From here, the goal is simple: survive. You soon gain control of a community that you have to help keep running. How you lead your community is completely up to you. Whether it’s with a helping hand or an iron fist, the choices you make impact the rest of your community. One false decisions could damage your community and possibly result in death. Once a character dies, they stay dead. This makes all the risks more risky and all the rewards more rewarding.
State of Decay 2 can be challenging as you are constantly making sure everything in your community has enough resources. Whether it is food for the community or materials to help build improvements to your base, you will always be busy finding resources. For many, the constant running out and collecting supplies can be quite a grind. However, the management of your community is where the game shines the most. Whenever you successfully pull off a supply run or finally get enough materials to upgrade your base, it’s very rewarding. Those moments of successfully pulling something off makes the struggle worth it.
As you journey out into the wilderness, you will have to fight off many different types of zeds. Zeds are what the zombies are called in the game. The enemy design is not much to write home about. The only exception are plague zombies which add a new wrinkle to managing your community. With enough exposure, plague zombies can get members of your community infected. Once members are infected, it’s a fight against the clock to find a cure. If you can’t create a cure, you have the choice of exiling or euthanizing the community member.
The gameplay itself feels smooth and is fun to play. Both the shooting and driving mechanics feel very well fleshed out and are easy to control. Hand to hand combat is a lot of fun even if it sometimes feel clunky. The combat can seem simple because all you do is push one button but that simplicity works to the game’s advantage. The satisfactions when you successfully bash through a group of enemies feels so good. Weapons can break down and while it works well with melee weapons, it can be annoying when guns break down. At times, it seems guns break down too easily and they are not always easy to replace. When finding a new gun, you really don’t want to be going in to a critical situation thinking: “OK, how long will it be until it breaks?”. You can repair weapons but that takes up resources. And with limited resources, the constant repair can be annoying.
State of Decay 2 also adds co-op this time around and it really helps the experience. You can play with up to four players and nothing feels better than taking out zeds with a group of friends. It should be noted that co-op options are quite limited. When you join someone’s game, you are a guest in their world. You cannot go out and do what you want to do. You have to stay with the host and cannot do anything to mess with the host’s world. It would have been better to have more cooperative options in the game.
Performance wise, State of Decay 2 leaves much to be desired. Whether it is frame rate issues or lackluster graphics, the game can come off as incomplete at times. Almost as if it was rushed out a little too early. Even though there are three decent sized maps to choose from, none of them stand out or feel memorable.
Ironically, the greatest evil in State of Decay 2 might not be zeds but the absurd amount of bugs and glitches in the game. As previously mentioned, the game can sometimes feel incomplete. The bugs and glitches can be down right laughable. Some of the glitches are harmless and can be funny. However, when the issues affect gameplay, that is when there is a problem. Items can go missing and glitches in combat can really damage your characters. In a game with permadeath, you do not want a character to die because of a stupid glitch. While the glitches can be annoying in solo play, the issues are raised ten fold in cooperative gameplay. Whether it cars being flipped in the air or major connection issues, it’s simply inexcusable.
In the end, State of Decay 2 does many things right. The journey you have with building your community can be both challenging and rewarding. It is a shame that this journey is plagued by the incomplete nature of the game. With some more time, maybe we wouldn’t have had these many technical issues. As we wait for future updates, the game can be a technical disaster in its current state. For every pro there is a con in State of Decay 2. There is a lot of fun to be had but just be aware of the issues you will witness in this unfinished wasteland.