My review of State of Decay (Xbox 360 Arcade)
I don't know how many gamers here are into Zombocalypse games. Yes, zombies have become quite popular in the gaming world, right up there with first person shooters.
There are many types of zombie/zombocalypse games out there... the tank games like the first few Resident Evils, which later evolved into 3D actioners, the spookier Silent Hill games, which use the tank styled control methods, the first person shooters (Left4Dead series, Dead Island series, and even FPS's like Call of Duty that have zombie apocalypse bonus games), etc.
But this game that my roomie (who is probably more into zombocalypse than I am) mentioned a game from Xbox Arcade called "State of Decay". He said I would probably enjoy it because it is very open world. When he tried the demo, he basically just went around destroying zombies. He didn't realize there was sooooo much more to this game than that...than just killing zombies and trying to get to a safehouse, and such.
Well, I bought the game on a leap of faith, largely because of the open world experience. It mentioned stuff about resource and people management, crafting, scrounging...just all manner of stuff that I really love about open world type games. At 1600 points (20 dollars), I got a game that so far seems to be worth far more than that.
This game is a Zombie Apocalypse Simulator! Or a Zombopocalypsulator, if you like.
Graphically, the game is on par with PS2 or original Xbox. But in all other respects, this game is a current gen title. Dialogue, controls, gameplay, the depth of the world (and the voice acting is surprisingly good for an XBL Arcade title)...this game, like Oblivion, Fallout, and Skyrim when I bought them, has literally sapped away hours of my life (in a good way) as I explore the giant map, and engage in all manner of activities.
You try to rescue potential allies, you find safe houses with which to house your allies and your materials. You have to manage this safe house, from materials to food, to medicines, to sleeping space. You have to manage your survivors...health and rest are kinda on auto-pilot, as long as you can keep bed, food, and medicine well stocked...but their mental well being, every now and again, you have to take in hand. In your safe house, you have to determine what kinds of resources it will maintain. Will you have enough bedding for your boarders? Will you have a lookout defense tower? Will you have facilities for maintaining your vehicles and weapons? Will your medical facilities be adequate? Do you have, maybe, the space for a library/research facility? Maybe you can make a garden so you can make your own food instead of having to scrounge? Your food-prep facilities....do you have a good enough cook to make decent meals for your fellow survivors? Just....all sorts of management....don't worry, the game doesn't make it feel like a chore. There are many places all over the giant map with which to set up your ideal home base, but, of course you can only have one home base at a time. Your home base is also where you can stash your goods that you acquire.
When you start the game out, you start as the default character, Marcus, who, along with his friend, Ed, suddenly find themselves beset by a couple of mad men whom they take to be cannibals. After getting past them, you are given tutorials on how to stealth kill and sneak past zombies. You are told to make your way to the Ranger Station, which becomes your first, if very short lived, home base. You can snag some supplies from the supply cache. Along the map, there are also various overlook towers, from which you can get a lay of the surrounding land, letting you know where buildings and places of interest might be.
The first thing you're going to want to do, after you get the lay of the land, is respond to some gunshots heard in the distance, and assist the girl that is holding off the infected attackers with her rifle. You acquire her as an ally, and she, for the moment, is the only one with a gun. But, you also have melee weapons of differing constructed quality with which to survive against zombie attack. When you make your way back to the Ranger Station, all your new buddies are dead, and your friend Ed becomes infected when one of the buddies isn't quite dead...or rather, returned from the dead.
You are then told to make your way out of the park, especially after Ed retrieves a radio from the zombie that attacked him in the home base. (Do not let this home base serve as an example of security though. Your next home base can be made far more secure.)
The best thing to do is fully examine as much of the park as you can, and retrieve the things you feel essential to carry. Now that you've rescued Naya (the girl with the rifle) you can choose to play as her if you wish. Whatever you do, search the park...you might find backpacks with a bit more carrying capacity than you might have currently.
----to be concluded--