State of Decay 2 is almost here, and the first reviews are now online. Aside from Sea of Thieves, the upcoming State of Decay sequel is one of Microsoft's only confirmed exclusive games releasing this year, which means there's a lot riding on its success. Early reviews are out now, and it looks like it lives up to the buzz... as long as gamers okay with the apocalypse grind.
The first State of Decay game released in 2013 and it became a fan favorite on the Xbox 360. The game mostly received acclaim for its survival aspect. Players were able to choose from a variety of home bases that catered to different aspects of the human condition, from building up the group's munitions abilities to focusing on sustainability or education through gardening or in-home libraries. The characters were equally as diverse, featuring all people of different genders and races with varying levels of skill in a wide array of topics, from sharpshooting to TV show trivia. But players could only actually control one character at a time and multiplayer wasn't available in the original iteration. That's something Microsoft is looking to change.
The first reviews Undead Labs' State of Decay 2 have released ahead of the game's launch next week and the overall sentiment appears to be generally positive, with some pointed criticisms. Reviewers are consistently labeling the game as a fun ride that improves on the first. Some reviews have even heralded the game as the most exciting zombie game on the market at the moment. But many have found the zombie battles to be somewhat repetitive, and bugs and glitches seem to be a downfall for the sequel. Take a look at the reviews below.
True Achievements: 4.5/5 -Mark Delaney
Story, voice work, and animations are all still goofy, but throw in co-op multiplayer, better endgame content, and more reasons to replay it, and State of Decay 2 is the type of game with which certain players will fall in love. There's always something to do and in a classically sim style, it's hard to know when to stop. It's the most realistic zombie apocalypse simulation in the world and that's a beautiful thing.
Mondo Xbox: 8.5 - Mirko Rossi/Thor
State of Decay 2 greatly improves on the first game thanks to wider and more varied environments, great world simulation and character progression systems, better graphics and UI and finally a satisfying co-op mode. It won't satisfy lovers of strong, meaningful stories, but it's definitely one of the best and more enduring survival games around, and a game that lovers of the genre should absolutely have.
IGN: 7.5/10 - Dan Stapleton
State of Decay 2’s zombie-infested maps are good places to scavenge, fight, and survive in. Combat is satisfyingly brutal and the special zombies inspire some real fear of permanent death, even though the Blood Plague turns out to be more of a sniffle. But the bugs are just as persistent as the zombies, and after a dozen or so hours the repetition of both eventually take their toll, making the appeal of replaying feel more limited than I’d expected for a sandbox RPG.
VideoGamer: 6/10 - Alice Bell
State of Decay 2 has some lovely elements that will make you want to keep playing, and yet others that make you want to turn it off again, so you get caught in a fretful loop of not knowing what to do with yourself. Like some kind of restless corpse shuffling back and forth with no purpose, perhaps…?
Trusted Reviews: 4.5/5 - Matt Kamen
An improvement on the original, and with far more variety on offer, but State of Decay 2 suffers from repetitive combat and poor player communication throughout. Fans of survival sims will likely appreciate the greater attention to detail and increased demands when it comes to sustaining your communities, but for more casual players the constant need to find dozens of items or resources just to keep everything ticking over will just annoy, the longer you go on.
GamesRadar: 3.5/5 - Alex Avard
State of Decay 2 confidently reaches the series’ potential as the ultimate zombie survival sim, even if it hits a few familiar bumps in the road on the way there.
So, should you purchase State of Decay 2? That seems entirely up to the player. Reviews are solid in terms of gameplay, and everyone seems sold on the sequel being an improvement over the first. And it's obvious that most reviewers found the game to be an absolute blast. However, the bugs and technical issues may be too frustrating for some to handle. Plus, the repetitiveness and co-op tethering might turn away players who were otherwise excited about another major co-op zombie game.
The game is currently a Microsoft exclusive, though rumblings of the title dropping on Steam have been floating around for a few weeks. This could be for extending the game's reach, but it may hurt Microsoft overall, as the company is in sore need of pure, console exclusive titles. Two follow-ups have been released since the first game, Breakdown and Lifeline. A third installment has not been announced, but if the sequel enjoys the same level of success as the first, it seems likely State of Decay 3 would be inevitable.
State of Decay 2 releases on Xbox One and PC on May 22.
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