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Microsoft 'State of Decay' is a gem

Game review

POSTED: June 13, 2013 10:11 a.m.
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A screenshot is shown from the Xbox 360 game "State of Decay," an open-world, zombie apocalypse survivor game in which a player not only must survive but also must lead a team of survivors and keep their morale up so they don’t end up killing each other or themselves.

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    Developed by Undead Labs and published by Microsoft Studios, “State of Decay” is an open-world, zombie apocalypse survivor game. With 250,000 copies sold in the first 48 hours of its release, “Stay of Decay” has sold more copies in the first three days of its release than any other title in Xbox Live Arcade history, with the exception of the ever-popular “Minecraft.”
    “State of Decay” focuses on in-game community-building and, of course, survival. Although the game is a single-player experience, the player meets many other survivors who also become playable once he becomes acquainted with them. The open world found in the game is huge and comparable to those found in the “Grand Theft Auto” series. Players are sent on a range of different missions to gather supplies, upgrade or build communities, kill zombie infestations, find more survivors and much more.
    As a player who loves games that are open world that allow me to roam around as I please, I quickly fell in love with “State of Decay.” After only about 10 minutes of play through the demo, I gladly gave the 1,600 Microsoft Points ($20) to buy the game. The world is huge, and there are more things to do than you ever could get done in just a few hours of play. Many different types of missions and encounters give this game a high replay value. Also, the pressure of knowing that your character could die in this game and never return unless you start over adds to the sense of urgency and fun. 
    In the game, a player not only must survive through the apocalypse but also must lead his team of survivors and keep their morale up so they don’t end up killing each other or themselves. Having a world in which in-game choices have direct consequences in that world and on the people in it gives the player a feeling of truly being involved with the story of the game rather than a follower of some linear, predetermined plot. And let’s not forget the many different types of weapons a player can arm himself with to kill off the different types of zombies found in the game.
    Although there are many positives about “State of Decay,” I did find a few flaws. While leading a group that can make decisions and live without your control is a positive, it’s also a negative. Just like you, these characters are trying to survive as well and could use up precious resources. Also, you could return home after running missions or gathering supplies to change out with another survivor because you’re tired, only to realize they have gone out on missions of their own, leaving you to wait around until a playable character becomes available. The game’s artificial intelligence (AI) characters aren’t very smart when fortifying a home under attack by zombies, as they will continue to board a window while a zombie outside destroys the board, creating an endless loop until you kill the zombie. I also came across a couple of issues with the game’s frame rate. There were times when it would stutter, but this was rare. 
    With a few negatives but many more positives, “State of Decay” is a standout game — and its sales show it. With countless objectives and many characters, each with their own abilities, it looks to be a game players will enjoy for hours on end.

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