State of Decayis back for another bite, this time as a Year One Edition. The rot this time is far less rotten.
So what’s new in this year one edition remaster? Well, the user interface has been tweaked to make it more intuitive. Everything falls to hand, such as moving left or right on d-pad to cycle through important inventory items, like pills for health and coffee for stamina. If memory serves me correctly, up on the d-pad invokes your characters profile. The developers, Undead Labs, have also managed to make the frame rate more stable. It now runs at 30 frames-per-second in 1080p…. except for when it doesn’t; there were a couple of times in the game where it would stutter, but this occurred far less frequently than the previous version. There are also new characters, new guns and vehicles too, along with a new mission style which has supply crates, dropped full of useful goodies on the map. Unfortunately, there’s an electronic voice declaring their presence, attracting a large number of un-dead, which makes getting those goodies tricky!
If your coming from Xbox 360 to Xbox One, then paying for the Year One Edition is a noticeable upgrade, but it’s a bigger pill to swallow, coming from PC to Xbox One as the changes to resolution and frame rate are more like optimising, which feels like they could have been delivered in a patch to the original game. (How many new games released on PC aren’t in 1080p?) I am somewhat confused by the upgrade to 1080p. I thought the original State of Decay was 1080p anyway (So I went back and checked loading up Breakdown to find I could select 1920×1080 in the options on the original PC version!), so having to buy the whole game again feels a little unfair, although you are offered a small discount if you already own the previous version. To add further incentive to purchase the game again, you can also import your save from your non-optimised version of the game to continue your fight in the definitive version.
The character animations have been tweaked along with the textures. Some vehicles now sport more outlandish paint jobs rather than the mundane ones found in the original. Even with the developer’s efforts to give it a new lick of paint, on loading up State of Decay, I have to admit I was hard pushed to tell the difference, having come from the original PC version rather than the Xbox 360. I had to go back again and check the PC version, and it was only then I found, yes, the Xbox One does like nicer – it’s more polished, the rough edges have been chipped away, the textures are more detailed, the light effects are more intricate and some cars sport shiny reflective surfaces; smoke effect are better too. So Undead Labs have clearly put the effort in when you look for it – it’s just that it still doesn’t reach the graphical heights of its peers. For all Undead Labs’ efforts, there are still graphical glitches like zombies sticking through a closed door, clipping and pop up when driving along, but then at £19.99 for all the content and great gameplay, surely it can be excused. It’s certainly not an ugly game when all is said and done.
State of Decay Day One Edition Part 1 – “I Did My Homework Guys!!!” 1080p PC Gameplay – Generikb
What makes the biggest impression is the game itself? Don’t get me wrong – we all want great graphics, but if there’s ever a game where you should forgive the graphics not matching the likes of GTA V, then this is one such example.
Ah there, I’ve said it – GTA V. State of Decay can be compared to the king of sandbox games, and on paper it doesn’t fare well, only offering a single-player experience and not having access to a huge budget to dip into during development, and this title already stretching Cryteks’ Cryengine 3 to the limit, but when you’re driving along an open road and you find your path blocked by… what the hell is that? Landing gear?! …forcing you to cut in to a field to swerve round it, only to see a crashed jumbo jet still burning and with zombies milling in the vicinity as if they are the passengers from the plane, you just don’t care because you realise your playing something special in its own right.
So you would be doing State of Decay – and yourself – a great injustice if you dismiss it out of hand because it doesn’t look as pretty as some of its peers.
This may be a sandbox game, but it beats it own drum. You would be wise to take a more measured approach to the game; erring on the side of caution will see you surviving a lot longer. Unlike GTA V, the Fighting is intense and can go South quickly. Taking on four zombies on your own can see your stamina drain making your blows ineffective… especially if you were carrying a heavy load back to your car when the zombies beset upon you. Even if you make It into the car and get moving, if a zombie manages to hang on to your car, they can pull you out, back into the eager hands of their undead brethren. Get it REALLY wrong and there’s perma death. Levelling a character up, then taking a needless shortcut across a field and flipping your car to find zombies bearing down on you is a risk, and losing your character because of a GTA V moment is devastating. I know, because that’s how I felt when I lost – I set about making the inbound zombies’ death final second time around. Hacking and slashing, avoiding their lunges, but there were too many and my stamina was waning. I foolishly tried to run, which was futile due to my stamina situation. As the zombies tore in to me, I desperately tried to pull the power lead from my Xbox one but to no avail. My character was zombie chow!
There is no second chance, extra life or continues. You just have to choose another survivor and start the process of levelling them up again.
You will eventually set up a camp for you and your fellow survivors. This is where the strategy comes into play – you will need to scour the local area for resources so you can improve the base. Finding building supplies, fuel, medicine and food all helps keep your fellow survivors happy and healthy. Improve the base, though, and you can become self-sufficient. Build a workshop to repair cars or a medical facility to help your survivors heal at a faster rate and make your own medicines.
Then there are the missions that pop up. You’re often faced with choices – take one mission and you may run out of time to complete the other, losing the opportunity to see if any new survivors would have joined your party. This can make the gameplay slightly different each time you play through, as you may see a different cut-scene if you complete a mission you missed the first time (Not that completing all missions triggers a cut-scene). I completed State of Decay on the pc and loved it. Playing again on Xbox One and seeing different survivors as I was picking up different missions from my first play through, made the game feel fresh to me. One such mission was defending a house from a zombie siege with two brothers. This was a great mission, trying to fend off the zombies smashing the through your boarded-up windows and throwing Molotov cocktails at them to thin their ranks. This was also my first encounter, this play through, with a Juggernaut who came charging through the front door to wreak havoc. I never did this mission on my first play through on PC, and it was nice to see what I missed. While you’re under siege, the pressure trying to sift quickly through your inventory to swap out a weapon that’s about to break, whilst hearing those moans getting ever closer, is immense and the UI tweaks definitely helped make selecting much needed health easier.
When you’re out on a scavenging mission, you’re always having to manage your inventory. Carry enough supplies and weapons in case your meet overwhelming odds, and having enough inventory slots to carry items you find. You can call back to Base to have someone collect your loot but you risk them being attacked too.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the game, plus conclusions.
State of Decay Day One Edition Part 2 – “Smoked Oysters?!?” 1080p PC Gameplay – Generikb
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