The much-anticipated sequel to State of Decay by Microsoft and Undead Labs, State of Decay 2, is receiving quite the response from video game critics. While the game is being praised for largely continuing the traditions of its predecessor, it is also being derided for what many are calling “catastrophic” bugs in the final release.
For those that may not remember, the original open-world zombie game State of Decay was released in 2013 for the Xbox 360 and later made its way to the PC and Xbox One. The game was praised for its innovative take on the zombie horror genre, combining it with open-world elements in a survival horror game that was all the rage back then.
Players could explore, gather, craft, build and defend settlements, as well as interact with a variety of narrative elements that helped flesh out the background behind State of Decay’s world.
The new game largely continues the traditions established by the first entry but apparently the magic has lost something along with the upgrade in graphics. Critics are currently releasing their reviews of the game and one theme seems to be overwhelming all the others: State of Decay 2 is a buggy mess of a game.
That doesn’t mean it won’t be patched to perfection later – something we totally expect to happen. But as it stands right now, reviewers are not happy.
One oft cited complaint that keeps coming up again and again in reviews is the wonky interface. Apparently the game’s user interface has a tendency to disappear if things get too hectic. Eurogamer’s Edwin Evans-Thirlwell recalled an instance in which a “juggernaut” type zombie knocked his character so hard he thought he had entered a new game mode – one sans interface. He then blindly navigated the in-game world with this bug and messed up a whole heck of a lot more stuff. After reloading, the interface was back.
Another instance has the camera becoming mysteriously fixed at certain points and disappearing NPCs that are critical to quest lines. Other issues include car physics suddenly losing all meaning, zombies spawning and standing in mid-air, and clipping issues.
As in the first game, players will build up, provision, and defend a small community struggling against the zombie hordes. Each of these NPC characters have different traits, abilities, and personalities that will make them better for certain tasks over others.
You can take well-suited NPCs out with you for raids to gather supplies and complete other quest missions. When not raiding or questing with you, they will heal, inform you about the state of the base, and help defend it from zombie attacks.
While that sounds fun in theory, in practice testers are finding that the individual strengths and weaknesses of your NPCs in your community are apparently taken in aggregate and that otherwise the NPCs don’t do much without your direction. The player will be constantly tasked with bringing in supplies and this becomes tedious and monotonous. NPCs even need to be told to close the gate to the base during a zombie attack – a somewhat glaring flaw.
Overall the early version of State of Decay 2 seems rough. Still, there’s a lot of solid gameplay there that fans of the zombie survival horror and open-world genres should love.