State of Decay – Preview (360)

A Brief History of Zombies

Zombies have been a big thing in popular media since the ’60s when Night of the Living dead re-defined what a zombie was. Ever since then, the whole zombie ‘fad’ has never died out. The popularity of zombies later moved on to other forms of media – including games. A lot of games used zombies prior to it, but Dead Rising was the first point I ever saw a game capture at least some of the elements present in zombie films and books that make them so good. After Dead Rising there were other popular games featuring zombies – or zombie-like creatures – such as Left 4 Dead and Plants vs Zombies. None of these games really delivered on what we wanted – and I speak with confidence when I say we wanted an open-world survival game.

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What is State of Decay?

In terms of open-world zombie games, there have been a few. Before it there was Dead Island, DayZ and ZombiU, all of which captured at least some elements required. Step forth State of Decay. With fresh ideas and a long history of culture to build off of, State of Decay has done well for itself. While survival is often a part of these games, it usually isn’t the main focus. State of Decay implements survival as mechanics where you must scavenge for food, medicine and weapons to keep you and your fellow survivors alive. In order to do this, the main focus of the game has been set around a home base which you can upgrade with items you’ll go out scavenging for. Scavenging also has a lot of the focus as it is essential to maintaining and upgrading your base. As important as a base is, it’s almost as important to strategically place outposts to help thin out the hordes of zombies and give you temporary respite.

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I’m sure you’re wondering how the zombies act in this game, well, I can tell you that they more closely resemble traditional slow zombies than the fast zombies seen in more current media. The zombies, while slow, will attack surprisingly fast with a small burst of speed, catching you or another survivor off guard. If this happens, you’ll need to help them by hitting the zombie attacking them – State of Decay isn’t all about you. While there is a story element to the game, you’re not stopped from wandering off on your own and doing what you feel like doing. With a good balance of story, humour and open-world survival, is it possible that State of Decay become the holy grail of zombie games?