That cult classic of hitting a zombie with your car door is still alive and thriving along with a lot of other game elements! Running them over and backing up to finish them off, dismembering limbs, using explosives to blow them up, or just flat out burning zombies to death is the name of the game.
Almost a month ago I revised the start of it all State Of Decay. I know for a large population of players that had played this before they wanted that similar experience but better for State of Decay 2. Building up a place to live, scavenging for loot, and building up a team to survive with it. Expect this time around we wanted deeper game mechanics, a decent balance of micromanaging inventory and supplies, and oh yes multiplayer. All while cruising along the roads and back alleyways hunting down hordes of zombies in a decent looking car. BAM-- impact with the front hood of your car. That dent is going take a fair amount of work to get that one out. Some of it a success, others a near miss, and well maybe they will rethink some other things as well.
Bases: Where You Make A Home
Some of this a very core mechanic to this game’s franchise is this feature and. It really does have the old game feeling but more modern and updated. Finding a new place that suite your needs as your own community grows and the amount of resource you need to keep it going increases. There are quite a few different bases and outposts in the game. Everything from the starter all the way up to a massive compound enabling you to get a lot done and many places in-between.
Every map has a starter base. They are all exactly the same two-story house with a limited number of slots in it. It also cost zero influence (the game's currency) and you only need to have a population of yourself to get it. Maintaining such a place with a small community has very little upkeep and demands to keep moral somewhat break even and not feeling overwhelmed in getting behind.
I really enjoyed the compacted feeling of the base overall. You did not have to go far to find everything. Overall, I felt it was a great place to start as a fresh player or someone who has chosen to move to another map and you had some struggles along the way to get there.
For me, I just went with the most basics for the starter house. A small garden for growing food, an infirmary for the sick to rest and to treat blood plague, and a workshop for some basic item consumables to be crafted at all. Nothing too fancy as this place for a long-term living in kind of place. Just the basics to get you by until you are in another place.
Other Kinds Of Bases
Once you are out of the starter base you start to notice everything comes in different sizes. Built-in facilities and even its choose location had some kind of purpose or way it fit into the surrounding area. Some of them are kind of oddball looking, while other places you start to question if you ever want to leave.
One of the nicer things I’ve enjoyed is when you choose to live elsewhere you get back spent resources of materials spent building up the last place. In addition, you get a short period of time where resources are protected if they are over you’re the stockpile limitations. The downside is while your community is busy hammering, drilling, and making lots of sounds building up that new place. Zombies most definitely notice, which, can cause a zombie raid or an increase in unwanted attention before you are set up.
This is one of the more odder places I’ve found. A group of enclaves called Shenanigans that I ended up makes friends with had taken over a place that was on a bridge. Other than it feeling rather cramped and not that bit it seems like a smart thing to do. If I found myself in a zombie apocalypse world and had a way to build structures a bridge seems just looks right. Limit the entry points while also staying above there reach on all but two ends.
While I had a few strange places I’ve lived so far in my journey and quite a few I never thought I would want to leave. I eventually looted and ran out of supplies on that map or found myself wondering what else is out there. This is my current place in Cascade Hills map called the Container Fort. I have it set up right now to meet most of my needs from both the base and my outposts. I’m going feel a little heartbroken when I need to change maps when I finally run out of supplies. It is also the biggest base on that map requiring 3,500 influence and an 8 member community just to get to move in.
One of the really fun aspects of having a base is all the different options you get to have in choosing what to have within it. While bases do come with some of their own prebuilt in stuff where some of it is permanent while other stuff you can clear and replace with something more to your liking. On top of that, all these structures can have a module installed into them boosting performance or adding a new ability.
All bases start with at least a command center and parking spots. The command center itself allows you if you have the right skills to upgrade it into having more outposts. It is your only way to research for exit points on that map and move onto another one. Parking spots allow you to set up auto refueling if you have the gas and to upgrade your different cars.
There are also things that just feel like a requirement but not always there. Not all bases have beds for your people to rest in so you might find yourself building indoor or outdoor beds. You also need a way to cure people who get sick with blood plague so an infirmary is also important to have.
In total there are 25 facilities to build. Many of them have requires such as if they can be built indoors or outside in a large plot or small. Quite a many either have required skill to have by one of your own survivors to build or upgrade it further; such as, knowledge of electricity to build a solar array. There are categories like: crafting, health, resources, moral (happiness), defense, and even leader project type of facilities.
Everything else it’s a pick your own needs kind of things. Don’t want to go around getting 8 rucksacks of food every day build yourself a garden, a farm, or even a hydroponics to reduce how much you need or even have extra.
If you want upgrade cars and have other benefits like increased fuel efficiency while using them something like Auto Shop is what you want. You can even for a short time reducing how much sound they produce, and even how well they deal with impacts from zombies or just stuff you hit in general. Something like this also requires one of your survivors to have the auto mechanics skill.
There is also stuff like this where you could choose to stockpile the cartable they produce. At any time unless it’s a permeant facility for that base you can just remove and build something else in its place. This in line with outpost can help bring changes as needed as you adapt.
One of the cool things is each facility can have a mod installed on it. Some of them perform more generic things for the base like increase storage while others help increase production speeds or add more options.
Some of the mods you can install require using every so often which can consume resources or use manpower for a short time to gain the benefit. If your base is lacking water you can install water coolers to hold water for facilities that would benefit from it. If no power yet you can install a generator that will consume fuel or even a bike to use manpower.
Other stuff could be installed that allows a facility new options. For instance, a rifle ammo press to be able to craft 5.66mm and 7.62 mm ammunition. A Shotgun ammo press to make 12g shotgun shells. Finally, stuff like a collection of games so survivors can get a morale boost from the base having entertainment in a lounge.
While bases are great sometimes you just can’t get everything you wanted out of one. Other times you just wish to have another location far off on the map to be able to switch survives or access item storage. This is a great feature and like many in this game was also seen in the first game.
You can meet utility needs such as water or even electricity if you find the right outpost. These tend to have a higher influence cost to buy and even have an operating fuel cost per day to keep in mind. They often free up having to take up a slot in your base and run more effective in terms of cost.
You also have ones that provide daily supplies. In this game, you have a few basics materials: fuel, ammo, meds, and food. Many of your day to day operations of your base consume these. While other times if you want to craft something they are also required. Instead of every day having to go out and get all these require items from the rucksack. It is also just nice to have extras coming in. Even more so when your survivors kick over a gas can or some medications go “missing.” This bad luck game mechanic can get rather annoying.
Finally, you have ones that provide different benefits. Perhaps you don’t have enough space in your base to have enough beds for those that are tired to rest in, or perhaps you want a more of a morale boost and you find an outpost that provides that.
If it was not for vehicles I would not have over 7,000 zombie kills right now. While they have a cost to maintain in both repairing them and keeping them filled up with fuel. They provide an effective way to kill zombies, transport goods, and get around the map. Not to mention some of them just look amazing. There are at least 25 normal cars in the game. I know this because I counted all the different names on upgrade kits for them. Needless to say, there is quite a wide range of options.
Because there only so many seeded cars around the map and not because you ran out of fuel (right???) or just how bad an adventure can go while out day searching for supplies. You can spend some influence to get a very basic truck. It can’t be upgraded but at least it arrives in working order and with a full fuel tank of the gas near the location you called it down. it’s not the fastest, it has some decent durability even if you don’t use the door to hit things, and the fuel range per gas can is decent.
There are quite a number of cars in this game everything from sport looking things, upgraded military looking ones, or even this police car I had found a few nights ago. Don’t worry not only did it finally blow up and catch on fire a few times. I killed an amazing amount of zombies with it. It is only a shame I had it on another map and could not take it with me. That is ok I have found better since then. This is one of those don’t ask how I liberated it from its former zombie owner or least the guy looking like he was guarding it. I’m sure he is fine and in a better place now.
After a while, you realize that these normal none upgraded cars only get you so far. If you luck out in finding an upgrade kit to buy or just craft your own upgrade kit from Auto Shop. You can get some armored, faster moving, and more effective zombie killing machines —err cars. This one happens to be an upgraded cargo van.
As far as the dent in the hood, the broken light, and oh missing doors. That was from my last adventure out. I ran into a few hordes of zombies, removed some fences, and a ferial zombie tore the doors right off my car. Other than that she’s not doing too badly. Most of the paint job is still intact, it’s not covered in too much zombie blood and it’s not even on fire yet! I’ll just use a repair kit on it and toss more gas into the fuel tank and she will be good as new.
Grace was having such a wonderful day there she was just cruising along in here starting truck just nearly avoiding a screamer and a hoard of zombies. When all of sudden a Juggernaut came out of nowhere. She thought here car would do the job as it has done in every situation up to now. Sadly it hulk smashed the front end, tore the door off and dragged her out screaming. Armed with just a Mower Blade Sword she swung and swung. Grace shortly after was torn in half and never seen again.
While combat is not the most complex thing ever in State of Decay 2. It still has some tactics to it and quite a lot of fun as well. After all the entire world is filled with endless brain-eating zombies. You can’t even stop to refill a car whiteout having to kill a dozen of them at least.
There are quite a few different kinds of weapons in the game. From bladed ones like the once mention beforehand to blunt objects like a pipe wrench. You also have a wide range of guns such as different kinds of pistils or shotguns for short range, to rifles and even some sort of rocket launcher that took 40mm grenades (I swear it vanished from my game I did not lose it.) You also have explosives such as Soda Can Bomb, and incendiaries devices like Molotov. I myself only keep a couple of different kinds of weapons around. Everything else I dismantle into parts for repairs or use for crafting other things.
Some zombies are best suited to target first and take down like this screamer here. As the name suggests screams every so often. They cause damage if you are in range, cause you to lose focus and call in more zombies. As such you have targets you won't get first by any means possible: car, a bullet to the brain, thermite grenades. Yes, lighting one of these on fire feels oh so good.
Others you might choose to take things out at a distance because their death causes a gas to be expelled from there corpse. Perhaps they are carrying the blood plague and getting hit so many times by them infects you so you prefer to not have close contact with them.
Then you have situations where melee actions are just not quick enough or seem rather pointless. That's when you hope you brought enough explosives and fire to the party and there no birthday candles to blow out! Just a plague heart and its spawn to explode and set into a fiery blaze. What is it with me finding these things in barns and peoples bedrooms?
You can also be a bit more of a tactical person here. Moving behind zombies to use a special move, or get them on the ground and using a finishing blow. Being sneaky or drawing their attention away from your into a trap or another location using something like a Boombox. You could also just be a blunt instrument of death and just go on a zombie killing spree alerting the entire area that dinner has to be fought for.
Multiplayer: Welcome Guest Player
Now to be fair to this feature of the game I only tried it out the first couple of days before I just let it roll off the hood of my car like a zombie corpse. They take you being a guest quite literally. Unlike other zombie killing games like 7 Days To Die you and your friend are not equal partners in this adventure. This feature in my eyes has a long road ahead of it before it could be amazing.
The game does have the option for you to call in for help, offer help to others, or just join a friend’s game. While that great and all you do so as a sidekick called a guest. So what is the big deal about this part? You’re not building a world together you are just an assistant. As such you are stuck within a tether range. You at least get to earn a bonus reward for being a guest.
With the base price of the gaming being $29.99 and it is available from the windows store or on Xbox One. Some limitations where to be expected due to this. One of them is being tethered to the host of the game. Quite a few games do this so there only a couple of points I could ding a game on for doing this. Perhaps one-day gamers will never know or see such a thing ever again.
That rather ugly looking giant circle you can see on the map. As a pc player, I don’t like that kind of limitations. Even more so since you are can’t pausing the game if the host needs to afk and really you can’t do much in such a small area. If you do go outside of it you start getting a warning before the game is forced to bring you back to the host of the game. I’m not sure if this is something they can fix later on or if the way they codded the game it would not be able to handle loading more of the game.
Lack Of Importance
It is also a rather moot point. As such you as the guest do not get to loot rucksack to help contribute in the way. The game, however, does give you a couple of places to check for loot within an area. This is mostly to acquire guns, gun ammo, things to heal with, and other needed resources to keep you going. After you loot the couple of spots you get. You could play the role of a guard for the host who still has rest of the place to loot and play pack mule back to the car of things he finds. As anything you do loot that you do not drop on the ground for the host just goes into your own personal storage.
As you gain influence as a guest in someone else’s game you get item rewards. This is mainly earned from killing zombies, taking out infestations, plague hearts, or helping out on a mission. The rewards overall felt rather underwhelming. I’m not sure how many hours I played for the level three reward. In it, we can see I got some coffee, medications, a boiler mod, gun suppressor, a gun, and some random ammo. It was at least something but I went into this with the mindset of me and my friend sharing a game together. Not a way I earn rewards for my own play through.
At least at the start of the first few days multiplayer had desyncing issues between me and my friend. There was some lag and I could not even be a host on our first few tries as there seem to be some setting issues. On top of that just strange glitches as well mostly in part due to desyncing issues: vanishing, zombies that were killed but were not, vanishing items after the guest left, or car bugging out and was no longer usable. On top of that most players seem to just be using this feature of the game as a way to exploit and dupe items. As such this keeps me from wanting to join a random person’s game or have a stranger join mine.
At the very least the core mechanics of multiplayer are in the game. They were just not the build and survive together kind of experience that was expected in a survival game. I think a few of the issues can be fixed when they start releasing game bug fixes. Other parts I hope they go back to the drawing board and polishing or rethink some choices made.
Storyline And Quests
At least in my eyes, this game lives up to how the first game was and that is not a very complex storyline or questing. To be honest I’m not one for huge story arcs or an encyclopedia of lore to be read to understand its place in the world. As such this game is great for someone like me. There a little there to keep you engage, to progress things along, and to live up the world. Not so much you are stuck reading for days on end to find out where to go.
While you are busy trying to micromanage your bases resources, dealing with health, and stamina figurate on your survivors along with other things. You often run into the questing system in this game. It comes into all kinds of different forms. From someone calling out for help, to community goals, or perhaps a blood plague was found or a building became taken over by an infestation.
Often times you can just use your map to work out where you want to go and what activity you want to accomplish next. Sometimes I would not even consider them even quest just more of a place of interest. As we can see from this map that blood looking spot is has a plague heart. The black and white icon is someone asking for help, the green two zombies together is a horde running by. A yellow target circle is a place I marked that was infected that I cleared. All the grey circles with red around them are areas I’ve fully cleared out while searching for supplies. You also can see what I own marked in blue
While there some bugs to fix, and some game design changes I hope they make for multiplayer down the road. Overall, it has been an amazing game. I myself will be counting to play this after this review has been posted and I expect to check in on the game from time to time.
While there have been quite a many zombie apocalypse styles of games in the past. This one did very well to sticking with its roots and just making a better and more modern experience with the sequel. The game also does not require what so ever for you to have played the first one which is great for those who are just now getting on for the ride.
I do see a fair amount of repayable in this game. In fact, while I’m in the best base for the current map I’m on. I’m still lacking quite a number of things I want to acquire. There are certain skills sets I do not have yet like someone with computer skill. People also get killed so you tend to go out and find a new survivor to take in. There quite a large amount of weapons I’ve yet to use or have for all my survivors. Perhaps even I’ll find a car I love more than the upgraded van. It is also just nice to switch which survivor you take out of the base as you go on that next adventure. As they all have similar but different skill sets as well.
Have an amazing week and try and not be like Grace or the other dozen or so I’ve lost so far in my adventure. It is finally time for me to start working more on the main goals and see where the storyline takes me.