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State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition Impressions: Survival of the Fittest

State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition is bringing the original State of Decay, all of its DLC, and a number of graphical improvements that includes 1080p support, increased draw distance, and new textures.

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Microsoft announced Undead Labs’ State of Decay would be infecting the Xbox One this month and would be making full use of the extra horsepower under its hood. State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition runs at 1080p, has new textures that offer increased detail to the game world, and increased draw distance, among other improvements. Undead Labs is even rewarding Xbox 360 owners by offering a discount on the Year-One Survival Edition as well as an exclusive survivor to fight as. Grab your backpack and stock up on painkillers because we’re going back to the State of Decay. And this time... it’s personal.

Everybody Was Zombie Fighting

State of Decay is best categorized as a sandbox survival simulator and not a survival horror game. The game has you starting off assuming control over one survivor, Marcus Campbell, and soon, you’ll control several others, each of which have their own personalities, traits, and stats. Some survivors would be best used for scouting missions, while others are natural born leaders and should handle diplomatic missions. Or, in many instances when I played, everyone is either tired or hurt, so whoever you’re using is your only choice for the time being. But as you progress through the game, you’ll be able to train the majority of your survivors to be playable in some capacity, making your selection in survivors much more varied.

There are five major resources you’ll need to make sure there’s an abundance of in order to maintain your home site as well as keeping survivors happy: Food, Medicine, Ammo, Construction Materials, and Fuel. All of these resources can be obtained by scavenging through homes, construction sites, restaurants, and even public restrooms, to name a few locations. Once you find resources, you’ll be able to pack it up and hotfoot it over to your home site, or you can radio back to your group to have someone do the heavy lifting for you. Bringing back resources gets much easier when you have a vehicle as you can throw several packages in its trunk and drop it off when you head back to home base.

As you go through State of Decay, it’s inevitable that you’ll come across a zombie. Survivors can easily become overwhelmed when fighting more than one zombie, so you’ll need to think on your feet considering the game has permadeath. You can fight zombies in a number of ways that include melee combat, firearms, explosives, and my personal favorite, hitting them with the front bumper of your car.

But make no mistake, fighting with zombies will take a lot out of your survivor as each swing decreases their stamina, and each bite from a zombie lowers their health. Thankfully, there’s food to help restore your stamina and painkillers to restore health, but those are completely useless when you have tens of zombies attacking you from all angles. Situations get even more dire when special zombies, such as zombies equipped with SWAT riot gear or zombies that emit a high-pitched scream that both incapacitates your survivors and calls nearby zombies to their location, are thrown into the mix.

Don’t Look Behind You

State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition features the original State of Decay experience as well as both of its downloadable content, Breakdown and Lifeline. Breakdown features new melee weapons, firearms, and playable characters all within an infinite sandbox mode. This game mode technically allows you to play forever as there’s no storyline, just a goal to survive as long as possible. When you first start Breakdown, your limited to the amount of characters you can use. But as you complete specific challenges, more survivors will be unlocked. Once resources become depleted, you’ll be given the chance to advance to the next level, and that level can be accessed if your survivor dies, which is extremely helpful if you make it to a high level and become overrun.

Lifeline tells the State of Decay story from the perspective of a group of US Military soldiers who are tasked with rescuing scientists, researchers, and civilians who can help investigate and fight the outbreak. Players will be able to experience a new map, 40 new firearms, new traits, radio options, and multiple possible endings. Unlike in both State of Decay and Breakdown, your characters are pretty well versed in the art of combat, so you won’t run into as many issues when coming across zombie hordes. It also offers a nice alternative to the grind of resource management that can occur in the game.

Zombies As Far As The Eye Can See

State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition has a lot of content within its package as not only can you experience the original game’s story, but also two additional DLC packs, one of which you can theoretically play forever. If you like games that are less horror and more survival, then State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition should be heavily considered, especially if you didn’t get to experience it the first time out.


This impression is based on a Xbox One download code provided by the publisher. State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition will be available in retail stores and on the Xbox Store on April 28 for $29.99. The game is rated M.

Senior Editor
From The Chatty
    • reply
      April 22, 2015 6:32 AM

      They're offering a discount for PC users as well. As someone who already owns both dlcs, looks like the main draw is better textures? Not sure if it's worth the price in that case.

    • reply
      April 22, 2015 8:56 AM

      My one beef with the game was that it didnt support 2560x1600. Still a very solid and fun game at 1920x1200 though.

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      April 22, 2015 10:03 AM

      That they basically ABANDONED the first iteration of this game, when there's still plenty of bug squishing left to do, is total BS.

      Selling a texture pack and a couple DLCs for full price? Unforgivable.

    • reply
      April 22, 2015 10:39 PM

      Awesome, looking forward to the update on the PC

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