“State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition” Brings Life to the Undead

Yes, there are roving hoards. But the game is really about how players use their braaaaaaaaaaaaaains.

Do you long for the zombie apocalypse? Do you envision a future where only your steadfast demeanor and logical approach to resource management can help you survive throngs of undead? Boy, have we got good news for you: “State of Decay”, last year’s downloadable darling of a third-person survival game for Xbox 360, has made its way onto the Xbox One and is bringing all the methodical scavenging and careful rationing with it. The “Year One Survival Edition” packs the original game, two major expansions as well as new playable characters, weapons and cars to make your prolonged existence in the zombie-infested world a unique one, even if you’ve played the game before.

If you’re looking for a typical button-mashing survival game, State of Decay’s Mt. Tanner and its surrounding open-world is not for you. Unlike such games as “Resident Evil” and “Dead Rising”,

“State of Decay” only occasionally pits you against a hoard of the undead. Yes, you’ll be able to shank them unmercifully with a hatchet or headhunt them with a pistol. But that’s not really encouraged. Instead, “State of Decay” challenges you to carefully weave around the threats, distracting them with fireworks and crumpled paper or using stealth and sneaking through nearby brush.

Keeping in line with its unusual approach to classic survival, “State of Decay” emphasizes base-building, food-growing, and the hardships and perks of maintaining a camp of survivors as much as it forces you to make tough decisions like balancing the amount of health vs ammo in your characters’ backpacks. In fact, the game manages to borrow as much from turn-based strategy games as it does from RPG, a formula that works even better the more time you spend playing and growing out the roster of playable characters.

“State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition” is the thinking man’s zombie game. It forces you to make difficult decisions, organize your existence, and make fighting the undead a consequence of poor choices as opposed to a necessity. Yes, there’s action, but in making the game about avoidance, it helps reanimate a tired genre.