By Adam Smith on November 19th, 2013 at 10:00 am.
I’d been looking forward to State of Decay for a long time when it finally arrived on PC but after shuffling around on my hard drive for a while, it fell as flat as a zombie on an icerink. Hordes of people were quick to tell me that the game had more charms hidden beneath its fetid flesh than I had been willing to acknowledge but I haven’t returned since the disappointment of those opening hours. At the end of this month, I will revisit, although I’ll be abandoning the confusing confines of the story to try the Breakdown expansion, which is released on November 29th. It’s “an endless campaign with twists and turns based entirely on [player] choices”, which sounds ideal. Difficulty increases over time and as in Project Zomboid, the only certainty is death. Sounds like a treat!
Undead Labs’ news reports suggest they’ve been keeping on top of bug reports but I haven’t seen the results of that for myself. Fully remappable keyboard controls arrive in Update 4 at the same time as the expansion, as does a new loot system. It’s good to see support continuing – after the grand success on XBLA, the PC release could have been perfunctory but that doesn’t seem to be the case, with the expansion arriving simultaneously on both platforms and updates targeted specifically at the PC version.
Freedom from story missions might allow me to get to grips with the base inventory and survivor systems, which I found vague and irritatingly affixed to the confused passage of time, which drips and cascades between play sessions. Here are some more details on the other additions:
Build up your score in the face of an ever-escalating zombie threat, and compete with survivors around the world. Complete challenges to unlock new heroes with unique weapons and skills.
I don’t mind unlocks and scoring. As much as survival for its own sake seems appealing, I’d be likely to get to the third day and, in a fit of cabin fever, drive across the entire map looking for an enormous crowd of zombies to lead around the suburbs, Yakkety Sax style. I need incentives to keep myself nourished and rested, and I’m more likely to persevere if the reward is something more than a new hat.