State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition, Tougher zombies are nothing a campervan can’t handle - Games Weekly

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition, Tougher zombies are nothing a campervan can’t handle

It’s rare that the return of a glitch warms the cockles of our hearts, but we confess to a contented sigh on spotting a familiar physics problem in the Xbox One version of State of Decay.

The original is a work of demented scope, struggling to exist inside an Xbox Live Arcade-friendly box. It’s  got all the inventory clutter of Dead Rising, a massive world to explore, communities to nurture and a variety of NPC personality traits to watch out for. This lends the rough bits a certain underdog charm like when you brake to dislodge a zombie clinging to the fender of your car, and the lobe-munching goof doesn’t quite fly off in a punctual fashion.

It would be a different matter if the returning niggles were serious, of course, but they’re mostly cosmetic and the game beneath has lost none of its mouth-watering capacity for strategy and surprises. Our demo sees us guiding Gurubani Kaur a new character who’s exclusive to those who upgrade from Xbox 360 down a road to a farmstead. Kaur is the owner of two ancient Indian swords, a suppressed rifle and a neat hoodie, making her the nearest thing State of Decay has to Legolas.

Throwing caution to the wind, we set about offing nearby corpses and eventually find ourselves standing beside a water silo. Edifices such as these serve the same function as towers in Far Cry 4 they allow you to mark hotspots on your map and radar. On Xbox One, they’re also a great way to appreciate the beefed-up draw distance, though this isn’t as decisive a change as PRs would have us believe: most zombies don’t cover ground fast, so the perception boost feels a little perfunctory.

Still, the greater potential for postcard views is nice to have, and the 1080p resolution and revised textures make for a lusher kind of penury when ferreting around inside abandoned buildings. Entering a house, we pause to check out an Xbox 360 lounging against a wall and read the posters over a long-dead student’s desk. Then a zombie in riot gear hurls itself out of the master bedroom and starts gnawing on our neck. Sorry, Gurubani.A tidied-up inventory, extra items and the inclusion of all previous DLC aside, the big addition with this version of State of Decay is a new mission type, where crates of powerful gear are dropped onto the map at random intervals. Cracking these open requires that you put down a bunch of tougher zombies, but it’s nothing that a camper van and the administration of some figure-of-eight manoeuvres can’t handle.

State of Decay’s Xbox One debut is hardly dramatic those who’ve cleaned out the Xbox 360 version may not see the point of it, frankly. But in the absence of a native Xbox One survival sim (cough Fallout cough) we’re glad that the franchise has made the leap. There are plenty of zombie games on Xbox but few like this one, with its understated aesthetic, its array of psychological variables and yes, its slightly wonky physics.

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