Come the zombie apocalypse the jugglers are the first against the wall. What to do with an unemployed children’s entertainer is one of the tamer dilemmas thrown up in the three hours I spent with State of Decay 2. But it’s indicative of Undead Lab’s slightly goofy take on zombie survival, one that has you desperately scavenging for supplies one second and weighing up the combat potential of a barista the next. I condensed all this, and the game’s other new features, into one convenient 20 minute walkthrough.
I probably shouldn’t pick on the juggler too much, as it’s not his fault he found his way into my community. But your chances of survival in State of Decay 2 hinge on the past lives of those you bring into your team. Enlist a doctor and they’ll patch you up; welcome a sheriff and their firearms training will keep everyone safe. But a juggler? No, a juggler is just another mouth to feed, a mouth attached to two pinwheeling hands and (probably) an obnoxious waistcoat. Perhaps that hand-eye coordination will translate into axe-throwing mastery, but who can gamble on ‘perhaps’ when the undead are pounding on the door?
An influx of weird and wonderful character backgrounds is one of the more notable changes in Undead Lab’s return to zombie country. And while this isn’t a radical overhaul for the series, it does fatten it out in some suitably stress-making ways. You have to keep an eye on the blood plague, an infection that spreads through bases eating medical supplies and causing an outbreak of side-eye in the communal kitchen. Keep that from bubbling over and you can deal with the source of the infection itself, leaving your home to hunt the pulsating growths that transform shambling softies into something nastier.
All this and more awaits you in this 20 minute walkthrough of State of Decay 2. I’ve taken my three hours with the game and hacked at it like a prize-winning chili chef taking a machete to a deadhead (marginally less awful than a juggler, it turns out). You’ll see our heroes laugh in the face of roads as they tear across the game’s new rural region and laugh slightly less when they crash into an exploding zombie. I also whip through improvements to base building and character generation, to give you a taster of everything you can expect to see when the game shambles onto the Windows 10 Store on May 22.
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