I liked State of Decay 1, quiet a bit in fact. I can’t say the same thing about State of Decay 2 (SoD2) however, which has been rather disappointing.
I’ve already talked about the multiplayer issues of SoD2, and I’ll just expand on that post here to say that the focus on multiplayer takes away from the single-player of SoD2. Where the first game had a good single player story, SoD2 does not, and instead relies entirely on the gameplay mechanics, which sadly don’t hold up.
The first issue I have is combat doesn’t feel great. Melee isn’t terrible, but its not good-enough to be a highlight, and its certainly not something you get excited about. Killing zombies, even the special enemies, never feels satisfying, partly because more of them just randomly spawn, you are aren’t so much ‘clearing’ an area as you are temporarily removing a speed bump on your way to something else, and 95% of the time you are better off not fighting anyway.
Shooting is worse, with terrible aiming mechanics (super floaty) in a game that rewards headshots. Guns also never feel right either. Finding a machine gun should feel great, until you realize ammo is so limited that the ability to spray a bunch of zombies is never worth it, especially due to the respawn issue. Find a great sniper rifle? Neat, except shooting zombies at long-range is pointless (respawn), and at short-range a pistol is a better ‘sniper’ than the rifle due to reload times. A silencer mod sounds good in theory, but the reality is you don’t want to waste so much ammo as to clear a whole area firing shots, so the stealthy aspect of a silencer never comes into play.
So there is no real story, and the combat isn’t awesome, what else does the game offer?
Base building is good overall, with moving to a new spot with a different slot layout being a fun highlight. Base building upgrades being tied into character support skills is another nice touch, as occasionally this will motive you to find a new survivor with a specific skillset, or to use a skill book on someone who has an open slot.
That said, too often taking care of the base feels like babysitting. Moral is constantly dropping, you can’t store a lot of food/materials/fuel, so you are always running low, and while zombie attacks can never fully defeat you (that I’ve noticed), they are annoying-enough that you should return and defend, even though the defense is always super easy and more of a cleanup task than a serious siege. I also never got the feeling of a base being ‘alive’, of a place your survivors are actually living in and defending. They feel (and are) just different crafting stations and support modules with some fluff surrounding it all.
Lastly, the whole tone of the game, from the graphics, sound, and quests, are all a little more comical than in SoD1, and that IMO is a negative. The zombies especially are comic book villains rather than a serious horde of the undead, and that results in the whole game feeling like one long ‘joke’ rather than humans fighting for survival.
Unless you really, really love this style of game, it’s hard to recommend SoD2. Double so because it’s not on Steam.