Microsoft Corp.’s State of Decay for the Xbox 360 is a solid open-world survival title that is a vast and unpredictable single-player experience.
Developed by Undead Labs, State of Decay allows users to take control of a band of survivors post zombie apocalypse. The user can setup a home base where supplies can be stashed and move from objective to objective in order to scavenge for supplies and help potential survivors.
Controls are tight and easy to learn and each survivor wields a unique set of upgradeable stats. A player can switch dynamically between key characters to allow others to rest and regain strength or stamina. A backpack can load a certain number of items from an axe or rifle to a firebomb or snack. Each item will add weight to the user which can lessen stamina. In addition, melee weapons can break to add a welcome simulation and difficulty factor.
The open world is impressive with virtual day and night cycles, and acres of trees, houses and buildings to enter. Users can enter abandoned vehicles, though the sound can alert more zombies to enter the area. Even a speedy search can cause noise to alert a new zombie.
NPCs will follow and generally take out nearby zombies quickly. At times the AI script calls for the user to be near the NPC in order for an action to execute. For example, when the objective was to find a car, the NPC stood in place and head to be driven to before he entered the vehicle.
The graphics engine is good at 30 frames-per-second. While there are some clipping and pop-in issues, the title’s construction in addition to the physics engine relays a premium experience.
The sound engine is on par with hefty melee sounds, zombie moans, and clever dialogue. The script is quick enough to change dynamically if a zombie nears and reverts back quickly to catch up. Also, the general banter is entertaining and realistic.
State of Decay is a solid open-world survival digital download title. The multiple objectives, options and random zombie generation deliver an equal measure of action and simulation, while setting a foundation for a potential massive online multiplayer sequel.