State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition is an open world zombie game brought to you by Developer Undead Labs. Originally released on PC and Xbox 360 this title gets a fresh lick of paint some extra Zombie fun parts and shoves it all in your face in glorious 1080P Here’s our full review on Xbox One.
State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition brings two expansion packs alongside it, Breakdown and Lifeline which in my opinion, is excellent value for money as the game is huge and has a lot more to do than some of the more expensive games out on the market. Existing owners also get a 33% discount.
With the Lifeline expansion pack you will have the opportunity to play from the army’s perspective, giving you loads of gameplay once you have finished the main game. Breakdown is more of a survival based challenge where the game becomes increasingly more difficult with each passing moment and the goal is to survive for as long as possible. The gameplay in State of Decay makes this possible though as you can be very strategic by making use of the 3rd person and looking round corners before running in all guns blazing. By picking your fights carefully and placing importance on certain resources you will be sure to have the ability to survive and maintain your settlement for a lengthy period of time. Weapons such as pistols and rifles will wear and tear, eventually needing replaced over time. The same can be said for the vehicles which are placed around the map and can be left in positions that might benefit you at a later point through the game.
Throughout State of Decay, you are constantly checking between different characters health, provisions and influence upon other people you may meet as the story goes on. Your influence is one of your main resources as this will allow you to control people better and call for help when you need it. State of decay as I mentioned above is played in the 3rd person which can be very useful when looking around corners and inside buildings to check if there are any zombies lurking as they can be quick when jumping out of nowhere. When you do get caught out however and possibly perish in a fight with Zeds you will not get your character back Due to State of Decay using perma-death, whereby you will not get a character back if you lose them, it makes the role of survival even more crucial within the game. However, don’t worry if a few characters don’t make it, there are plenty more characters to bring into the fold. When you get the chance though you could go and pick up the belongings your fallen comrade had on them at their demise showing just how raw and survivalist this game is.
The combat system within the game is pretty basic and I would have liked to see a bit more variety especially in hand to hand combat although doing a finish move on a zombie head is still particularly satisfying. Personally, one of my favourite things about this game is that you cannot sit and waste time like in many other games. When the game is on, you will be forced to continue playing because if not, you will waste time and resources whilst not improving skills or making your situation any better within the game. Sometimes this fact means the game doesn’t necessarily feel like a zombie game. With the key role focusing on survival, you are just trying to keep people within your camp happy, fed and healthy. Although while you are doing all this, your stats will go up, for example, if I used guns more with one of my characters they would become better with that particular weapon, whereas, someone who prefers to bash zombie skulls in might find their hand weapon stats going up.
Although fully remastered for Xbox One in stunning 1080p, “Year-One Survival Edition’s” improvements aren’t just cosmetic – Undead Labs have added all-new challenges and Achievements, as well as features like game DVR, knives, vehicles, weapon add-ons, new music, unlockable characters and more
You can additionally make improvements to your home by upgrading things like shooting platforms for keeping zombies from reaching your walls. You may also find yourself needing more sleeping area as your community grows in number but all these improvements come at a cost so you will need to be a savvy scavenger and get the correct consumables needed for these necessary improvements. All these choices put so much importance of decision making in this game too, it really does impact your game by making bad choices. Sometimes you will not get to do what you want and will have to wait until you have done other tasks that keep your little settlement from imploding, Making bringing back consumables to base and sharing them with your friends so vitally important.
In relation to friends, the dialogue is fantastic between characters. Occasionally in the game, someone within your camp may become upset and angry. When this happens, it is your duty to take these characters on short walks to kill zombies which allows those characters to clear their heads. I liked the variety of dialogue in these parts as each time I have done one of these short walks, something different has been said between the two characters each time. When you couple this with the music in this game which at times can be very eerie especially at night time when it is dark and difficult to see, you have a very immersive audio experience. When you unexpectedly get attacked by a zombie I actually felt myself jump with the game noises alone. There has also been new music added to the game from the previous generation giving the game even more value.
play this game differently every time
Even though this game is set in America, I felt very at home within the sparse forest landscape as a lot of Scotland has a similar feel to it so I could imagine myself in the game and how I would act and survive in this world making me very involved and invested in the game and the characters and all of this can now be viewed in the lovely 1080p which can be very beautiful at times. Undead Labs have also put some work into making textures and lighting better. I think a lot of work has gone into making this game more appealing to the eyes but it seems they have rushed things slightly and left in some glaringly obvious technical problems.
One thing that has been particularly noticeable is frame-rate issues especially since this is a re-release on even better hardware. I would have liked to see the developer put more work into getting rid of these issues and making gameplay run more smoothly. I have found it is most noticeable when driving cars and can actually spoil the gameplay at times (Clip above). This can be overlooked however because the replay value within this game is massive as you could play it through quite a few times. With the variety of decision making present, you would be able to play this game differently every time, allowing you as the player to become more involved and perhaps take risks that you would not have done before. You could have a play-through where you attack everything you see or perhaps you could play the game in a quieter, sneakier way. I would recommend the latter when starting out. When has running headfirst at a zombie ever worked out for anyone?
If you have £20 sitting around somewhere from and old birthday card, I would definitely get this game. This game is without a doubt 100% value for money. With such a great story and replay value, you will never find anything that will provide you with as much quality and endless fun for £19.99. Even better that returning Xbox 360 players get a 33% discount and some extra playable characters and gear.
This review was undertaken on Xbox One with a Code supplied by Microsoft.
State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition ticks all the boxes in the zombie genre whilst bringing a few new elements with its very deep and rich survival based gameplay. You sometimes forget you are playing a game with the unforgiving perma-death and unrelenting depletion of resources.
The game lets itself down on the current generation of console by not fixing some of the framerate issues and addressing zombies getting stuck under floors, however, these flaws can be overlooked as the game is bags of rewarding fun.
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