Game On: ‘State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition’ brings zombies to life

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Over the past few years, there have been dozens of zombie games but none had the level of realism as “State of Decay.” Previously released on PC, the “Year One: Survival Edition” is now on Xbox One. I never got to play the original but, from what I hear, it was quite buggy and hard to manage. With the re-release, it has had several years of polish to both the visuals and the gameplay, along with all the DLC.

“State of Decay” is a third-person action game all about survival. You have to scrounge for gear, supplies, construct and fortify your base, and build a community of followers. One of the most interesting selling points of the game is the huge open world, which develops in real-time. The difficult thing about the game, besides the hordes of zombies, is being able to survive with finite resources. If you don’t pay attention to your character’s needs, like hunger, you won’t last long. If you explore too long and don’t find food and water you could die, or if you don’t find shelter when night falls you are in real trouble. If you go out and scavenge all the time it is possible to last a while but the only real way to make it is by building a base and recruit other members. If you choose a good place for a base there will be several options such as watch towers, gardens, medic centers and barricades. Once you have a safe place to live, you can go get food and medicine at abandoned supermarkets and even grow food in your garden. If you end up having a surplus you can trade some of your supplies for ammo with other survivor groups. Ammo and weapons are some of the most sought after and useful survival tools. There are about 100 guns, and many have sound suppressing options that don’t attract zombies. The best option is melee options — swords and bats — but they break over time.

There are so many things to do you might forget there is a story. You play as Marcus Campbell, who worked at a grocery store before the apocalypse. He was out on a fishing trip with his friends, and when he came home the world had gone to hell. He meets up with a group hiding in a ranger station. While looking for supplies he finds most of his group has been wiped out or bitten, so he must escape and find shelter.

The “Year One Survival Edition” introduces a new game mode called breakdown, which strips out the pesky story mode and resources become harder to come by. It is like pure survival mode. Another game mode is lifeline, which shows the world from the perspective of the military and what they did at the first sign of the zombie outbreak. One of the cool things about playing as the military is you gain air strikes and supply drops which changes the way you play. You also aren’t struggling for fire power. New DLC modes are different that even people who played the original will still want to give it another try.

I did encounter substantial bugs like zombies getting stuck inside walls, and I had to restart some missions because one of the NPC characters wouldn’t leave a vehicle. There were times where it would stop moving, and you had to wait for the game to catch up. There were a few times I had to restart my Xbox because the game froze. All of these things were pretty infrequent.

“State of Decay” is the most realistic Zombie survival game out there. It’s pretty great despite having bugs. Even if you have played the original you will want to try the “Year One Survival Edition” to experience the new game modes and DLC content. There are an incredible amount of things to do and see if you manage to survive long enough. If you love zombies, “State of Decay” is a must play.