A couple of years ago, Undead Labs released State of Decay for the Xbox 360. With it, the studio added much-needed complexity to the usual zombie-bashing formula. You still beat up and ran over the undead, but there was more to the game than that, including having to find survivors to build bases, storing resources for use in later levels and most importantly, perma-death – once you lose a hero, he or she is gone for good, and you have to start from scratch.
Now the experience returns this spring on Xbox One with State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition. Most of the gameplay we've come to expect will return, including open-world exploration and resource management, but there will also be a number of extras that will make it worth buying again. Plus, those who purchased the game before will receive a 33 percent discount on the new version, bringing it to $19.99 instead of $29.99. Returning players will also get access to the sword-wielding hero, Gurubani.
In State of Decay, you and your fellow survivors become trapped in the city of Trumbull Valley, a place overrun with zombies. Similar to other open-world adventures, you can get around with ease, either on foot or with vehicles scattered around. You'll journey through each part of the city, locating survivors and the necessary tools to help fortify your base, making it strong enough to withstand the undead surge.
While bashing zombies makes for a fun time, State of Decay takes a more human approach, as you keep a close eye on survivors and make the best decisions when it comes to keeping them alive. This is especially true when a horde comes out of nowhere, as you'll have to think quickly alongside your team in order to stay in one piece.
State of Decay offers a variety of melee-based weapons you can use to smash up foes, but that doesn't mean you should run into every pack of enemies you encounter, specifically because of perma-death. Fortunately you can prepare for such an occasion by gathering food and other items, as well as finding and crafting new weapons to hold off attackers.
Weapons, meanwhile, can break. Knives get worn out after stabbing enemies a few times, while clubs and other items become useless. That's why you'll want to be extra careful, managing your resources to build a new weapon when the situation calls for it.
Along with 1080p resolution, State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition will also come with two DLC packs. The first is Breakdown, a survival-based mode where waves of enemies appear, forcing you and your teammates to use whatever items you have on hand to remain alive.
There's also Lifeline, a completely separate story mode that takes you to a new location, the city of Danforth, and puts you in charge of a military unit, Greyhound One. You'll learn new tactics, since the team utilizes new weapons and techniques the previous survivors did not.
While State of Decay can some getting used to – especially if you're prone to straightforward zombie-bashing action games – it's one of the more unique entries in the genre, and a lot of fun once you master the basics. You'll find out how good the apocalypse can be when the game arrives on April 28th for Xbox One.