State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition Review

Hitting Xbox ONE and Steam Today on April 28, 2015 is State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition, the third person action / adventure / shooter with a persistent world of survivors to be recruited, materials to be scavenged, zombie infestations to be contained, and a lot more. One of the most distinct features of State of Decay lies in its punishment for mistakes. Sure, it takes a lot to get this to happen, so there’s plenty of time to avoid it – but let your camp members die out in battle and they’re gone for good.

For all of its strengths being emboldened by this revised release, a few of its weaknesses unfortunately still remain. Driving around vehicles can feel very wonky, they tip over easily and repairing them will take a day’s time which is hardly worth it unless you’ve upgraded their armor since cars are hanging around all over to be stolen at a whim. The melee attack mechanics are bittersweet and don’t feel entirely great either. Luckily the good outweighs the bad and I’d even go as far as to say that State of Decay is a must-play game.

The psychological effects of the Zombie Apocalypse are explored as players take control of multiple characters, build their own bases, decide when it’s time to move on, set up outposts, loot stores, avoid or aid the government’s military troops who funnily enough still try to get people to obey the pre-apocalypse laws to the letter, all the while keeping their clan of recruited survivors fed, happy, and comforted.

The game provides plenty of moments where player choice comes into effect to a large degree. In addition to that, every time players set out they have to decide how best to spend their influence which can be used to recruit other players on your trip to the outside world, exchange which weapons to take with or leave behind, and how to upgrade the home base. There’s a limited amount of gear that can be carried at any given time, so that decision of whether you’ll be out collecting or needing to fill yourself with ammo, snacks, and medicine for a big battle is ultimately crucial every time players step out of the door of their home base.

Conversely, Breakdown is the sandbox mode included in Year One Survival Edition which was presented as a DLC for the original State of Decay and features different missions, skills, facilities, bases, and has an overall focus more set to individual behavior rather than following the will of the group. Morale and group opinions still matter to some extent, but the player is much more of a leader as they gain the ability to control many more characters and story-based characters take on new roles in a bit more of a random fashion.

Lifeline sets players in the hot-seat as they play through military missions designed to ultimately evacuate the survivors from the area with the long-term goal of saving humanity’s skin. All of the Xbox 360 game’s original content has been fully remastered in 1080P High Definition. All of the DLC is included in the game, and the asking price is very low considering the sheer amount of gameplay hours which can be achieved here.

The game is not without a few minor glitches remaining that can hopefully be patched out. But similar to Oblivion or Skyrim, these are easily tolerable for the vast and detailed world which can be explored. A never-ending amount of quests, side-quests, areas of interest, both random and carefully scripted, continue pushing gameplay further and further. It’s not long before players become fully invested in what they’re doing and I dare even say addicted to the awesome living world of State of Decay.

Final Verdict:

State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition is probably one of the best Zombie games out right now. The reasons are simple; it’s got a big huge open world with living and breathing characters and events, it’s got tons to do all backed up by a story that matters, and most importantly the gameplay feels rewarding and meaningful. Undead Labs has managed to capture the “complete package” feel of video games from the old days in a modern era where pieces are being sliced by other studios to be sold as DLC for the detriment of the experience. Microsoft Studios has proven that they are willing to take a chance and support unique and original titles with the long-term commitment to Undead Labs’ vision and although Year One Survival Edition is not without a few hiccups, many of the players’ concerns were addressed resulting in a quality increase. I look forward to seeing what Undead Labs can come up with for their next project which is said to be multiplayer from the ground up and continuing the State of Decay franchise in some way. State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition receives an 8.75 out of 10 making it one of RGN’s Silver Games of 2015.

Official Trailer:

Overall Score: 8.75 / 10
RGN Rating: Silver Game
Developer: Undead Labs
Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Available On: XO | PC

Played On: Microsoft Xbox ONE

Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this Review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20150428 and was last modified on 20150428 .