State of Decay 2 Review - Read Before Buying!

State of Decay 2 Review
Ready or not, the zombies are coming.

Is State of Decay 2 the right video game for you?

There has been a lot of hype around State of Decay 2, there is no doubt about that. But is it worth the hype? I decided that I would give it a go and give you all a level-headed review of what I think of the game thus far.

I did not play the first game, so I went in pretty much blind. I liked the idea of a zombie game that focuses on community building rather than just the same ol' concept of shooting everything that moves and surviving for as long as you can. For the sake of full disclosure, I can take or leave zombies—I don't feel strongly about the reanimated meat sacks either way. That being said, I believe that I can provide you all with an unbiased, fresh take on this game. No frills, no fluff, just my honest opinion.

About State of Decay 2

Explore the open world to look for resources and plague hearts.

State of Decay 2 is a zombie-themed survival-horror RPG with single player as well as online co-op modes. This game allows players to scavenge for resources such as food, medical supplies, and weapons in order to grow and sustain a community that they are responsible for building from the ground up.

The player starts with 2 characters at the beginning of their game and they can switch between both—this is a mechanic that the player will use for the rest of the game as they gather more members of their community. The player must learn to survive in the rural, zombie-infested heartland of the U.S. while at the same time protecting the members of their community and making sure their needs are met.

State of Decay 2 released as an exclusive for Xbox One and Microsoft Windows on May 22nd, 2018. Initially, the game was well received and was even May 2018's top selling video game; however, as players have gotten the chance to sink their teeth into the game, popular opinion has seen a bit of a shift. Metacritic has given State of Decay 2 a 69%, from GameSpot a 5/10, and 74% from PC Gamer.

In its first month, State of Decay 2 managed to sell somewhere in the vicinity of 3.5 million copies—not too shabby at all. The game was in development for 2 years before it was finally released in May of 2018. Surprisingly, the game only cost $30 at the time of its release (which really is a steal considering most new Xbox One games cost about double that price).

State of Decay 2 Story

The world is overrun by zombies just like this guy.

The story behind State of Decay 2 is a simple one: the world has been brought to its knees by a zombie apocalypse, and you must learn to survive and adapt in a world gone mad. Beyond that, the story is yours to mold as you please. Build a community or go it alone, the choice is yours!

I found this concept to be quite interesting. There are character specific missions that you will be tasked to go on, as well as responding to the SOS calls of other survivors, in tandem with scavenging for resources. If you are interested in an in-depth story-driven experience, this probably is not the game for you. If you are interested in shaping your own adventure, you may want to give State of Decay 2 a try.

Players may enjoy this game for the same reason that they enjoy The Sims—it's fun to build something from the ground up and watch how it grows and evolves. Although State of Decay 2 is a bit weak in the story department, it allows player to create their own stories—which I, for one, am never opposed to in video games.

State of Decay 2 Gameplay

If you want to survive, you have to fight.

The player must choose a pair of characters from a selection of preset characters with preset stats (there are no character creation functionalities in this game). There are no traditional character classes. There are, however, a variety of different stats that each character starts out with that make them better or worse at specific skills.

There are 4 different basic skills that each character starts off with: Cardio, Wits, Fighting, and Shooting. There are also several optional 5th skills that survivors can learn such as chemistry, mechanics, gardening, etc. As you level up each skill, more specific skills will become available. For instance, if you level up the Shooting skill, the subsequent Gunslinging skill will become available.

Players can expect a variety of different activities to engage in, such as character-specific quests, scavenging for resources, answering distress calls, taking out zombie hordes, claiming outposts, and exploring their map. No matter which map you get, there are plenty of areas and buildings for you to explore. The map is not heavily populated with friendly NPCs, but there are plenty of zombies to kill.

There are no set main protagonists—you start out with two characters that you can switch between, and as your community grows, you will have more characters to switch to. I suppose, in that, you can make your "main character" anyone one you want. As far as the antagonists go … they're zombies. They're not too intellectually challenging as villains. Just hack, slash, or shoot at them until they keel over. But, let's be real, if you're playing a zombie game, you're not there because you want to hear lengthy monologues about the antagonist's evil plan.

There are a few areas of the game that I believe could be improved upon. First, I was really underwhelmed by the graphics in State of Decay 2. It looks as if the game is a remaster from an earlier console generation—perhaps that contributed to the release price being so low. Second, I abhor their save mechanic—it is basically nonexistent. Because there is no manual way to save, you have to rely on autosave, so I am never quite sure where I am going to pick up from when I turn the game on, and that really bothers me.

The game will not save any progress if you are halfway through a character quest. So basically, the game forces you to complete missions in one go, no breaks (because you can't pause the game either). Yes, I am a bit salty about it. Lastly, the AI is buggy as all get out. I had my follower completely abandon me in the middle of a fight, and he kept running so I could not keep up with him. My favorite character almost died because of that glitch—I was not a happy camper.

But there is a saving grace for State of Decay 2, and that, my friends, is its replayability. With three different maps and tons of starting character combos, you are nearly guaranteed to have a completely different experience each time you start a new game.

State of Decay 2 Combat

Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

There is no auto-aim feature in this game; however, the zombie's hit boxes seem to be pretty large even if you are a terrible shot (thank goodness). With melee weapons, the best strategy to employ is to face your character towards the enemy, hope for the best, and whack, hack, and slash away.

Weapons can degrade and break, so the best thing to do is to carry a secondary weapon at all times. Weapons can be repaired if you have high enough skill points. The combat controls aren't that sophisticated or complex compared to other games in the genre, but they do the trick. If you are looking for a zombie game with simple combat controls, this might be just the game for you.

We already touched on the skill system earlier, but here is a more in-depth explanation of how it works. Each time the character you are controlling performs an activity that corresponds to a skill, those skills will increase. For instance, if your character punches a zombie in the face, that character's "fighting" skill will increase. If you have a character plant a carrot, that character's gardening skill will increase. Points that you gain from activities towards skills points are pooled into a general level system, where, if you gather enough points from activities, you gain a level. It's a pretty straightforward, easy-to-understand system.

There is no PVP combat in this game, but you can join your friend's game (or they can join yours) and help them clear out zombie hordes, destroy plague hearts, or defend their base.

State of Decay 2 Quest/Mission System

Help characters like these by answering their distress calls.

Unlike most games, State of Decay 2 does not have a main quest line. I suppose destroying all of the plague hearts could be considered the game's "main quest", but that is using the term quite loosely. Most of your missions will come in the form of character-specific quests or distress calls that are received over the radio. The distress calls received over the radio are time sensitive and will disappear if you do not react fast enough. Character-specific quests must be completed all at once—the game will not save in the middle of a character quest if you decide to quit the game.

Honestly, I found that the time-sensitive quest system was a little overwhelming, especially in tandem with the character quests that must be done in one go, and the fact that you constantly have to scavenge for resources. But the missions are fun, I will say that. Because the characters can die for good, it adds an extra level of suspense to whatever you're doing, so the missions are always interesting and sometimes even heart-pounding!

An example of one of the quests that you may come across is a distress signal over the radio asking for assistance with a building overrun with zombies. If you don't act fast the beacon will disappear from your map. It is always good to check out those distress calls if you can because the survivors give you resources for your help, or you can gain new members with special skills for your community.

State of Decay 2 Graphics

Be careful who you choose to trust.

State of Decay 2 was developed on the Unreal Engine 4, and the graphics are mediocre at best, as I mentioned earlier. Most of the textures are too smooth to look realistic and objects that move (trees, bushes, plant life, etc.) look grainy up close. Animations are basic, nothing really special about them (not terrible by any means, but nothing to write home about either). This game is definitely not winning any awards for graphical realism. The developers do seem to be listening to the community regarding their concerns and issues with the game—several updates have already gone in since its release in May, 2018.

State of Decay 2 Price

In case you weren't sure that it's the apocalypse.

Currently, State of Decay 2 costs $29.88 on, which is about the same price that it was upon its initial release. The game is a Microsoft exclusive which means that it is only available to play on Xbox One and Microsoft Windows (but the plus is that it supports cross-platform gaming). State of Decay 2 does not feature any microtransactions or play-to-win elements—once you buy it, it is entirely up to skill whether or not you are able to beat the game.



  • Replay value
  • Price of the game
  • Community Building
  • Lots of enemies to fight
  • Create your own story of survival


  • Mediocre Graphics
  • Inconvenient save mechanic
  • Time sensitive missions
  • Not much of a story
  • Buggy

Played State of Decay 2? Let us know what you thought of the game in the comments below!

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Emily is a tiefling who enjoys writing in Common more than Infernal. She grew up playing too much Mario Kart, but now prefers playing indie games.
Gamer Since: 2012
Currently Playing: Celeste
Top 3 Favorite Games:Fallout: New Vegas, BioShock, Kerbal Space Program