This is going to be a long one, as I started playing this series back when I was a teenager (perhaps around 16?). Meaning I am going to start with the story of my experience first, then get into the two games, zombie games, and how to survive.
The Origin Story
It was a midsummer's day if I do recall, and I was scouring the internet. I started to come across a couple of video trailers, and I believe a review as well; For a game that was very unknown at the time: State of Decay.
Mind you this is back around 2011 or so, and the zombie game genre wasn't as vast. You had zombie driver on mobile, Left for Dead on PC, and Resident evil on consoles.
Most of these survival game genre games that we all know today just simply weren't out yet. Let alone conceptualized, so when I saw a game that gave you a community to control I was elated.
Back then the digital game stores were a bit under developed on the console side of things. It was basically segregated content, with triple AAA games on one side, and indie games on the other. However Undead Labs, the creators, were more of a small studio from what I understand. Meaning they were in the middle, and alas in order to get on the Xbox store they had to go the indie route. It was weird too because the game was the scope of a AAA game, but the budget of a AA one. Meaning there were certainly a ton of glitches, and issues. However more than that, there were a ton of things done right.
Well enough that many games followed suit like DayZ (I'm not saying they copied or anything, just joined the wave), as well as Microsoft Xbox actually buying out the rights to the game series.
Quick Rundown of How the Games Work
You have a group of people that join into a community, they all form your playable experience. When one person gets tired, or even dies, then you move onto the next. There is no reload save, or a redo, if someone dies it is permadeath.
You have a community of less than a dozen people, usually only a handful, and you have to maximize each character's skills and stats.
Over the course of your playing you'll need to scavenge, make outposts, hunt special zombies, and overall just survive the post apocalyptic world.
My Story so Far with State of Decay 1
I actually pre-ordered the game, which for a digital only game, let alone an "indie" one it was a bit unheard of. I seem to recall having a lot of technical issues in the beginning, but the team was very adamant about making the whole experience work.
I can't tell you how many playthroughs I had done, let alone counting the DLC's too (downloadable content). That was all on the Xbox 360, and I played it again for a time on the Xbox One. Now despite loving the main game, and the army DLC for the original game, I wasn't a fan of the free for all mode they had implemented in the next DLC.
Ironically that would become some of the best parts of the sequel. They implemented new features, such as sieges, when the DLC came out. I remember finding ways to maximize my time in the city of Danforth. At least on the Xbox 360 there was a lot of manipulable time. So at the end of every mission there would be a siege, and if you just stayed outside of the range, or operated in the MIDDLE of the mission. Then you would be able to spend extra time looting, or establishing outposts.
I even created a "How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse" system, that I ended up teaching my sister. I'll write about that in the future!
My Story so Far with State of Decay 2
It came out in 2019, and I think I tried it back then. I downloaded it, as I was trying out game pass. I ended up hating it! It felt like they doubled down on all of the things that made the first one not as good, and forgetting the stuff that made it shine. I spent a whole Summer at one point on their forums, as they were "taking in the fan's thoughts", and I felt rather betrayed by how little they actually did.
Now that may seem a bit harsh, and I think actually I may have been right. It seems that over the past couple years they kept adding content. Even forging a new "edition" named after one of the special zombies.
When I saw that change, and watched some videos, then I tried it again at the end of 2021. I still disliked how it felt, and couldn't play it for more than a few hours. I tell you all of this because third time is the charm. Once again I have game pass, and I just got a new console. I was wanting to try it out once more, and I fell in love again just like the original. Perhaps even worse because it got most of the weaklinks out of the experience.
I've been voraciously playing it lately, and even one night I went to bed very early. Ended up waking up at a 2AM, and decided "oh I'm gonna play for a couple hours". A couple hours passed, and I saw the time "one more mission". Then before I knew it my roommate was getting up around 8AM.
Given my deep love for the series, and the vast amount of experience I have; I wanted to challenge myself. I played all five of the maps out right now, and even increased the difficulty. Normal is #2 out of 5, and I went up to level 3. Immediately I got swarmed with zombies, and including a powered up huge zombie. Right at the start of the game when I was claiming my base. I thought to myself "NOPE", and then proceeded to revert to a lower level.
Eventually I found myself trying again, and even going for level 5. I joined into the world, and brought with me two relatively well skilled survivors from my "Legacy Pool" (you can save up to 50 people once you complete a map, or just want to send them off for later use). You get three to start off with, and the 3rd was just random. I picked an "easy" map, and already I felt the difference.
I'll tell you more down later in the post! Keep in mind that this post is four times the length of the free portion. I talk about how to play the games well, what to do overall, and more details about my stories. If you want to keep reading, then check out my cheap membership to the site! :D
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