Posted Mon, Jan 20, 2014 by gunky
I've spent a lot more money on games half as good that I've played a lot less. State of Decay sells for $19.99 on Steam, and you get a lot of game for that money. I've spent a lot of time in the game, and I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. Partly because I keep restarting every time Marcus dies - which is often; I'm on Marcus #6 now - but also because there's just so much to do. This is the kind of feat only a small or new development studio can really pull off - create a game that plays like a major studio title, but sell it for indie prices.
The game's first DLC, Breakdown, is already available, and is 6 bucks. I haven't gotten around to it yet - I want to reach at least a mid-point in the main story first - but apparently it makes the game way more challenging. I plan on checking it out when I get to a good spot in the main story.
A lot of the game is generated randomly - groups of neighboring survivors will take up residence in a different spot with each new start of the game. Sometimes your neighbors might be two ladies and a dude, another time it might be a sausage fest. Sometimes Spencer's Mill will be filled with infestations, hordes, Juggernaut zombies (also known as Big 'Uns) and Ferals as soon as you arrive, other times it will be completely clear with only infrequent occurences of these things over time. Side-missions are also randomly-generated, and some of them are more likely to end up killing characters than others. For example, one of your group might get caught out by a Big 'Un, and you have to find a way to kill it and help your teammate get back to base. Even the first 3-man group you rescue from the wilderness will be different each time. Each game will be a new experience.
Since this is Undead Labs' first game, and since it has been a surprise hit (it had reached 1 million copies sold by the end of Novermber), it seems likely that development of new DLC will continue for some time. The first DLC, Breakout, has already been released, and there are plans for a second DLC, though the details are currently unavailable.
Ultimately, State of Decay is a great game held back by slightly outdated (but still effective) graphics. Just what the doctor ordered to help combat your Walking Dead cravings until February rolls around. If you're expecting another mindless zombie shooter, think again and give State of Decay a try.