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Game Review

When you think "zombie game," you probably think of a whole lot of running away from the sharp teeth of undead monster types while finding the right weaponry to blast or crush as many skulls full of ghouly, drooly mush as possible. And this game certainly shuffles in with all that stuff in tow.

But the real ax-swinging thrust of the State of Decay franchise is more about strategizing—figuring out how best to build up your post-apocalyptic human community, scavenging the right materials and taking care of the people in your charge—than it is simply pureeing zombie innards.

And that makes for a living dead game of a slightly different shade of green.

Rise up From the Rot

State of Decay 2 kicks things off with several pairs of randomly generated characters you can choose to play in a world that has been devastated by plague. Each "lucky" survivor has his or her own set of skills and abilities that might come in handy somewhere down the dusty, organ-littered trail.

One guy might be pretty good with a gun, OK with a med kit and a wiz at card tricks, for instance, while there's a gal who knows her way around a car engine and who is a real pro on the dance floor. And you never know what skill might just save your skin in the thick of things.

From there, it's a matter of establishing a home base in some abandoned house, service station or warehouse, then meeting up with other survivors of the zombie plague who might help you out of a tight spot or supply much-needed construction finesse.

As you guide your chosen group of people around, they'll complete various quests and level-up their skill sets with each victory and successful scavenging mission. That also means you'll be free to switch between all of your community members. In fact, you'll want to do so, not only so you can level-up everyone's unique traits, but because each man or woman can only be pushed so far before their physical stamina starts to give out.

Community members will each have their own individual quest lines woven into the fabric of who they are, too. And as you follow through on those assignments—tracking down a missing relative or helping out a dear friend in need—you can ultimately find things that will aid your group as a whole. The fact is, that as your community grows, the demand for beds, food, fuel, weapons, ammunition, as well as technical and medical support will expand as well. And you'll have to manage it all.

Oh, and at some juncture you'll want to appoint a leader of your clan, someone who'll have a randomly determined class—Warlord, Trader, Sheriff or Builder. That leader will not only give your group a boost when it comes to negotiating or fighting with other humans, he or she will also be influential in how your whole story eventually plays out.

So What About the Zombies?

Of course, we can't forget that this is a zombie game. Besides all that people-management, the main storyline will have you constantly looking over your shoulder at the growing zombie Blood Plague around you.

You'll soon discover that not all of these decomposing adversaries are created equal. You'll face your run-of-the-mill shambling zombies, puffed up bloaters that are full of poisonous gas, huge and blubbery juggernauts that can stop a speeding car in its tracks, feral zombies that are as quick and aggressive as a werewolf, and other awful undead thingies.

You'll have scores of pistols, rifles, grenades, axes, bats and clubs to use in this grotty, bloodletting and skull-crushing challenge, but each will eventually fall apart with wear. You'll also eventually seek and destroy large plague hearts—gory constructs of meat, bone and goop that are critical to the zombie armies—while hordes of the rotting creatures come raging in to fight you off.

If your chosen human representative gets swarmed and crushed under a frenzied monster mob, he or she can be permanently killed, too. No going back and retrying a particularly ugly section after enough blood has been spilled. It's a goopy, nasty world, one that's made all the worse by characters who frequently spit out f- and s-words (in addition to a veritable compendium of other profanities) in the heat of their machete-swinging battles.

Without a doubt, there's some interesting gameplay to be had here—especially for those who might wonder how they'd rebound and rebuild from the inevitable apocalypse that Hollywood keeps saying is just around the corner.

But like everything zombie-related, State of Decay 2 certainly comes packing its own unpleasant bites.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range







Record Label


Xbox One, PC


Microsoft Studios


May 22, 2018

On Video

Year Published



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