State of Decay 2

Sticking Together to Survive the Apocalypse.

Imitation is the Greatest Form of Flattery...

If you are a fan of the hit TV series 'The Walking Dead' you'll probably be keen to play out the adventures of you favourite survivors in the form of a computer game, right? Well, unfortunately, if you are looking for some X-killing action in the form of a console/computer shooter then you are a bit out of luck!

Yes, there is a very good Telltale Games adventure game but when the first peaks at the new action shooter game for this franchise (Walking Dead: Destinies) hit the market the early reactions weren't exactly favourable!

Luckily, however, there's a rather good option - in my opinion - with Undead Labs 'State of Decay 2'. We've been playing this title over the past week or so and I have to say that it gives me all the 'Walking Dead' vibes that I want, only minus the shows actual characters

It's All About Community

One of the principal features of the Walking Dead show was the sense of community and surviving together is a small, almost family-like, group. Fans of the show rooted for the small groups and the relationships that were forged between the members.

Much to my surprise - and unlike any of the zombie survival games I have played before - State of Decay 2 is precisely this sort of community driven game. It's not so much about the individual characters - although you are bound to develop your favourites (just as with Walking Dead) - but rather it's about growing your group and strengthening the interrelationships between the characters as each becomes a integrally important part that helps make the community strong.

I really was surprised that I took to this format of play, more used to 'lone wolfing' my survival gaming. And I really have very quickly come to care about each of my group member and feel invested in their growth and the particular part that they play in the survival of the group.

Here's my group...

State of Decay 2 - My Community

It's still early days and I haven't as yet chosen who is going to be the leader of my community  (I *believe* that whomever you chose influences the the kind of group yours will be based on their personality and attributes). At this stage, however, I am concentrating on 'getting to know' each individual and what their role might be within the group.

You can steer the personal attributes and skills of each of the group by performing specific tasks, thereby building up a specialism.

For example, I have just finished a session as the character of MORGAN, who's cardio I managed to increase to the point where I took her to the next skill level. At this point I was give a couple of choices of a specific fitness related specialism to work on - I chose 'Backpacking' which gives Morgan the ability (once completed) to carry a lot more loot.

In this way you can give each member a niche role within the group, in Morgan's case I want her to be one of the groups specialist scavengers for loot and resources. Each time I take her out I will hopefully increase our chances of more and better item hauls (in theory).

Therefore, I am starting to get an idea about how the group functions as a team and am starting to identify how each member might be of use. I even drew up this rough roster...

  • Erik - Our group's medic
  • Brant - Mechanic specialist
  • Zac - Unsure as yet (but probably some sort of technician)
  • Morgan - Scavenger
  • Pugh - Soldier
  • Syd - Scavenger

This is the core of my first community, but - of course - I can recruit more members and form alliances with other satellite NPC groups. But I want a reasonably strong basic team, with established roles, before I think about growing the group any further. And I will have to make a decision about who will be the leader!

Invested in People

You can see from this that the game very cleverly gets you to care about the different characters, and in a way more than just a superficial attraction to a certain type. It would be very tempting for me - a guy - to be drawn to play a strong male character to the determent to others, but to do so would be fatally ham-stringing my continued progress as my group would be substantially weaker if I di try to be some sort of superhero loner.

Rather, you find yourself spreading your interest across the board, playing each different character in a uniquely different way for the 'greater good' (LOL)!

State of Decay 2 - Improving Kayleigh's Base
Above: Here's a screenshot from last nights play session. Kayleigh chose to work on her
tactical specialist (I forget her name) while I spent the session building up my Morgan
character as we conducted resource gathering missions.

One important point I should mention here with particular relation to multiplayer co-op play: When playing the game 'single player' you only have your own community to worry about, but when you step into the world of multiplayer and have a go at co-op play with a friend that changes dramatically...

You have to be aware that either you or your friend/s must join a host community to play the session.

Either they will come into your community's game work or you will enter theirs. As such, they or you will spend the time building up the community within that world (server). The host will, as a result, befit the most from the collaboration and the most the guest player/s will get is the enjoyment of the co-operative play and just a cut of the loot/resources that they acquire!

Substantially, it will be the hosts' community that will derive the lion's share of any item haul from that game. The guest/s won't go empty handed as quite apart from the experience their characters will derive, thy will keep anything that they can carry in their backpack plus they will receive a little reward. Here's what I was rewarded from my evening's work where Kayleigh acted as the host...

State of Decay 2 - Co-Op Session rewards

It does seem a little disappointing after spending a few hours assisting Kayleigh in her missions, but this is outweighed by the amount of fun it is playing with a friend... Honestly! 😉

Just take a look at these short clips from our co-op session. You wouldn't  get this sort of fun playing by yourself!

State of Decay 2 - How Not to destroy a Plague Heart

State of Decay 2 - Kayleigh Takes a 'Short Cut'!

Sometimes You Want to Walk Alone

While there playing with friends can be it's own reward, it has to be said that sometimes you just want to buckle down and concentrate at the serious work in had, without any distractions (however hilarious they can be)!

And to this end, bit Kayleigh and myself have found that we have started dividing our State of Decay 2 game time split evenly between single player and co-op sessions. In fact, I think the way it's going to work out is that we will probably meet once or twice a week to co-op, but then spend any further game time playing alone so that we can concentrate on our own communities.

This also allows us to focus on our particular community strategies and how the group or base will develop. It's kinda a cool compromise and helps to keep the game fresh.

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