Arriving just over a year on from the launch of State of Decay 2 - a game I found mechanically satisfying, yet buggy and narratively sparse – the new expansion, “Heartland”, feels a hell of a lot like what fans of the series were expecting in the first place. A narrative that picks up from the events of the first game (and the Lifeline expansion); with unique, non-disposable characters that ensure there’s real tension in every encounter; multiple factions and mission paths; and even different endings - all of which gel with the existing mechanics and encourage replays. I’m just worried they missed the boat.
Despite mixed reviews, State of Decay 2 garnered millions of players at launch - helped no end by its inclusion on the fledgling Xbox Game Pass - though it was rightly criticised for its buggy and janky nature. However, there were still plenty of reviewers and players that highlighted the satisfying gameplay loop and complex role-playing (so long as you liked juggling numbers rather than narrative choices). Unfortunately, the following year has been spent on much-needed patches and boring DLC, a gear and cosmetic-oriented pack, along with a horde mode that was enjoyable but throwaway. It’s a shame, as had they launched with the Heartland content first - and then moved onto more mechanically-driven expansions - I think State of Decay 2 would have been much better received.
...the unique NPCs in State of Decay 2: Heartland have distinct personalities, commentary on the environment, interactions with other NPCs, and quest dialogue.
Jurassic Junction is... by far the easiest base in which to create a self-sufficient community; the caveat being the far deadlier environment, brutal plague-variant special infected, and the end-game activity of tackling a gauntlet of “plague walls” – multi-stage battles that make destroying plague heart infestations look like a cakewalk.
Dealing with the blood plague is now a fulltime a job, and plague-ferals will have you cursing the moment you hear their cries...
Enjoys games with awesome stories and characters, along with new and interesting hardware. Dislikes day-one patches and driver updates.
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PC, Xbox One
26 June 2019
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