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State of Decay 2 is a Wide Open Sandbox Zombie Apocalypse survival simulator and the sequel to the original State of Decay. Published by Microsoft, it was released on May 22nd, 2018 for Xbox One and Windows 10 (only on Windows 10 store and supports XBOX Play Anywhere which means that the same account logged in can be used to play the game on XBOX One, because of being a Microsoft first-party game).
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Compared to the first game in the series, State of Decay 2 has much more emphasis on being an open-world sandbox. Unlike the first game, there isn't really an overarching plot or main single-player campaign, instead focusing on more free-form gameplay similar to the original game's Breakdown DLC game mode. The game also features up to 4-player co-op gameplay.


State of Decay 2 contains examples of:

  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Not only are there periodic sieges (see below), but zombies will constantly be getting in your base, no matter what you do. Expect at least one zombie hopping the wall every 30 seconds, and they will always zero in on the active character. This is incredibly irritating, as your base is thus no sanctuary and you'll very often be attacked while you are navigating menus.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Red Talon. Lieutenant Meredeth's broadcasts are uplifting, patriotic Rousing Speech, but their leader Teresa West also briefly discusses "getting rid of" "troublemakers" from survivor communities, and there are claims from other survivors that Red Talon is running forced labor camps. Meredeth denies it, as does Sasquatch, but Sasquatch also notes if they were, it would be necessary given the situation the country is in.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: Quite a few things have been added to make the game simpler from the first.
    • Anything in a vehicle's storage can be instantly transported to the community locker so long as the vehicle is parked at a base parking lot. The original game also allowed for this, but only for rucksacks, forcing you to still tediously transfer items and weapons to the locker yourself.
      • At launch items needed to be manually transferred from backpack to the trunk before clicking the right trigger to transfer to base. A later patch now allows direct transfer from backpack to base as long as the character is looking in the trunk and the vehicle is parked in the base parking lot.
    • Influence is no longer required to remove items from the locker and items you don't want/need can be destroyed straight from the locker, rather than having to put them in the player's inventory first.
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    • There is now a visible numerical score telling the player what exactly the base and individual survivor morale is and why. This way you know what specifically you need to work on to increase morale for everyone.
    • Suppressors no longer have limited uses, but instead increase the wear and tear on the firearm they are attached to, the level of which is dependent on their quality (Handmade suppressors will wear the gun out faster than a Professional or Advanced suppressor will).
    • Equipped melee weapons and guns have their own dedicated inventory slots and no longer take up room in your backpack.
    • Vehicles can not be permanently destroyed in this version. Even if one is rendered badly damaged and undriveable, it will never despawn, and anything in its trunk is safe.
    • Initially, dropping an outpost refunded your influence, but as of Patch 3.0 there is now a 40% penalty to returned influence. You still get 60% back, so there is a reduced penalty for posting and dropping.
    • Ferals and Juggernauts are still dangerous, but Ferals no longer have an instant kill attack. Juggernauts however, can still instant kill you if your health is gone and they grab you.
    • Is your map all but exhausted, and you're still not close to beating the game? No problem — you can simply move to a fresh map with a radio command. This does reset the Blood Plague and Leader quests, but you keep all of your resources, survivors and items.
    • Added via a recent patch: when you mark a Survivor for exile, they will teleport in front of you. This removed the very, very frustrating ritual of having to find out where they were at in the base to finish the job.
    • Using the radio command to "Locate Resources" actually generates the resource. In the previous game, it would only locate a remaining rucksack in an unlooted location — once they were all gone, they were gone forever. But for 35 influence the game will stick a fresh rucksack in one of the indicated locations. Thus, resources will never run out.
  • Survivors you're not using stay at home and any resource gathering they do is off screen. No more having to go rescue missing survivors or bogged down supply runners every ten minutes.
  • Anyone Can Die: Similar to the first game, any of your characters can die and the game will just keep going. That is, unless you run out of survivors completely. Then it's game over.
  • Ascended Extra: Red Talon existed in Lifeline as a radio support option. By 2, they've become one of two surviving factions that have replaced the U.S. government in helping survivors. Red Talon Lieutenant Meredeth makes periodic radio broadcasts, encouraging survivors and providing advice. Hell, you were once able to recruit an entire community of them via a glitch which is now patched! However it is still possible to recruit a few through legitimate means.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Just like the last game, burst and automatic firing modes will just pointlessly waste your ammunition. Unless you are unloading on a plague heart or a Juggernaut, one bullet (of any kind) to the head kills anything else in the game, making even a short burst ridiculous overkill.
    • .50 weapons are the most powerful guns in the game, but the ammo for them is insanely rare. They're also overkill for anything other than a Juggernaut.
  • Badass Gay: The two starting survivors of the "Perpetual Breakup" scenario are a lesbian couple who are no less effective in fighting the Undead. In fact, choosing this path will more often than not lead to the "Warlord" ending. Although the couple's background story and their interactions in the tutorial are the only indicators of their orientation.
  • Big Good:
    • Lily Ritter is this for the Network and, to a lesser extent, Red Talon. She's seemingly able to defuse the conflict between the two basically just by asking them to stop competing and start working together.
    • CLEO is a more mysterious one. No one knows her true identity, origins, or motives, but everyone loves the periodic supply drops she provides. Heartland appears to subvert this, as it seems CLEO is somehow involved with the Blood Plague as an experiment.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Dodging behind a zombie, grabbing them, then insta-killing them. This is more fiddly than just straight up bashing them your main melee weapon, but doing the insta-kill doesn't wear down the durability of your close combat weapon, is a guaranteed kill, and gives a moment of invulnerability while still giving fighting experience.
    • The Builder legacy bonus in New Game+. The Sheriff and Warlord bonuses (periodic weapon and item drops) are nice, but always having power and water at your base can save you base and outpost slots.
    • Close Combat is not terribly effective for crowd control, but when you max it, you can take down zombies quickly with a flurry of attacks — and it you will ALWAYS have a working close combat weapon that never needs repairs.
    • An upgraded medical facility doesn't do anything particularly exciting, but it will automatically heal characters and remove Blood Plague progression. You can essentially ignore the whole Blood Plague element at that point.
    • .22 ammo and guns. They're easy to come by, so quiet you almost don't need to use a suppressor, and lightweight.
  • Break the Cutie: When one of your survivors kills one of their first humans, they question what they’ve done with horror. They get used to it eventually.
  • Broken Bridge: The updated Trumball Valley map has these, making the town of Farfield and the camping area near Mount Tanner inaccessible. Lampshaded when one of the characters notes the Valley is smaller than she expected.
  • Cannibal Clan: Played straight. Later in the game you come across a group of people doing rather suspicious things and keep giving you “free food.” However once you learn about a survivor who tells you this news of survivors trying to kill and eat her, you tell her of “friends” nearby who can help but you bring her back to said group’s base! They then betray you to try kill you for food. These are apparently the same group Twain mentions on the radio in one random instance. Damn.
    • Doubles as Fridge Horror as once you accept a food rucksack from them, if you break it open you get meat snacks... and a WEDDING RING!
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Lily Ritter and Sasquatch are back, working for the Network and Red Talon respectively. The Network is itself what the Trumball Valley survivor's group eventually grew into. Lily's statement that the other original founders of The Network (Pastor Will, Marcus, Ed, Maya, Jacob, and Alan) "aren't all around anymore" may imply that some or even all of the other Trumball Valley survivors died in between games. This is likely to avoid Cutting Off the Branches given that Anyone Can Die in the original game; also Will and Alan were scripted to die no matter what.
    • CLEO returns in the Daybreak DLC, periodically dropping air strikes on hordes or providing resupplies.
    • The Heartland DLC sees the return of Ray Santos and Mickey Wilkerson.
  • Conspiracy Theorist:
    • Twain, the primary voice of The Network on the radio, is heavily anti-government and seems to be one of these. He believes in a number of conspiracy theories, some of which are proven to be true (i.e. Project Osiris), and some of which seem unlikely (he implies the Blood Plague and its cure were deliberately created by the government to control the populace through controlled distribution of said cure, which seems disproven by the tutorial of the game).
    • In Heartland, IzzeBee speculates CLEO is being operated by the government and that the government has ulterior motives for not aiding survivors.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Juggernauts can take over three dozen headshots from a basic 9mm weapon before being stunned, allowing you to perform a finishing move on them. They can even survive several headshots from a .50 anti-materiel rifle.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Zombies and humans can only be killed by destroying their brains. If you down a human without doing so, they'll reanimate a few seconds later as a zombie.
  • Developers' Foresight: If you manage to keep any of the four starting survivors from the tutorial mission alive until the end of the game, they will have unique dialogue near the end after you defeat the Blood Plague.
  • Difficulty Spike: The Heartland DLC is much more difficult than the base game in many respects:
    • Every zombie is a plague carrier. Yes, including ferals.
    • Juggernauts are tougher, deadlier, and the "sidestep them while they charge" trick no longer works.
      • Also, an early mission makes you fight one, out in the open. Have fun!
    • Zombie hordes are more common, and can contain up to 20 zombies.
    • Introducing the PLAGUE WALLS. Roughly seven times stronger than a plague heart, and it brings constant waves of hordes, ferals and juggernauts.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The Prepper's 10/22 rifle can be obtained via a random personal sidequest for one of your survivors, who wants to locate their prepper aunt. It has an astonishing 50-round drum magazine, an impressive semi-auto rate of fire, comes fitted with a homemade silencer and can be fitted with an advanced silencer to get rid of the weapon decay penalty, uses the incredibly cheap and easy to make .22 lr ammo, and can still kill anything in the game except Juggernauts and armored zombies with a single headshot. The sidequest to get the rifle can pop up as early as immediately after the end of the tutorial. It can also rarely be acquired from Network agents.
    • If you know where to look for them, the special weapons caches can drop some very nice equipment, like a grenade launcher or AK-47 with a 150 round magazine. With these, you can then easily clear out plague hearts, which drop even more upgraded equipment.
  • Fragile Speedster: Hostile humans are this. They're just as fast and capable of dodging as your survivors, but a single headshot will bring them down. Same goes for Ferals. That said, if you try to melee them you'll find they're able to take an astonishing number of crowbar hits to the face.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Outside of the tutorial missions, the game has no real overarching plot, focusing more on being an open-world sandbox experience with occasional random side-quests, with your only primary goals being destroying the 10 plague hearts and establishing your endgame leader legacy. What passes for a story in the game is told via periodic radio broadcasts from The Network and Red Talon detailing the state of the country and a growing conflict between the two groups.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted. Night in this game is just as dark as you'd expect in rural areas with no electrical lighting. One of the benefits of having electric power to your base is it will be lit up at night.
  • I Lied: In one optional Sheriff side mission, you must retrieve a rucksack of stolen meds for a group. You have the choice of either killing the thieves outright or negotiate peace. Should you choose option B, they seemingly let you and the other group member from the friendly group go scot free with meds. Then, the moment you step out of the building... They betray you and kill the friendly enclave member following you and (possible if you have terrible gear at hand) you.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: At max level the Powerhouse skill lets you execute zombies without needing to stun them first; this allows you to pretty much insta-kill anything short of a Feral or Juggernaut with a single button press.
    • In Heartland, The Plague Buster grenade is a major game changer. It instantly annihilates any Screamer or Plague Zombie in the area of effect. Two of them will kill a feral, and even the mighty Juggernaut will be at deaths door for two hits. Once you have a good supply, the heavy freaks are little more than an annoyance.
      • Best yet, it's harmless to humans. So any time you're swarmed, throwing one at your feet will instantly slaughter the normal zeds and set the freaks reeling.
  • Just Before the End: The world is even worse off than the first game made it out to be. The U.S. government is gone, either having straight up abandoned the survivors or itself succumb to the hordes, and what passes for civil authority is implied to be running forced labor camps with kidnapped survivors. The black fever has been surpassed by the Blood Plague which is even more dangerous. The special zombies appear to be evolving and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it. The Heartland DLC subverts this, as it shows the government and Army are still around and that society is largely stabilizing thanks to the influence of the Network and Red Talon.
  • Left Hanging: Word of God says the Blood Plague and black fever are two separate diseases and the story won't be following up on the black fever angle.
  • The Load: One random sidequest involves a group of 3 unprepared and poorly equipped survivors who, like many survivor groups, ask you repeatedly for supplies. They're armed only with knives and your fellow group members will comment that they seem useless and that giving them resources is a waste. They'll eventually ask to join your group; if you accept, you'll learn they have terrible traits that cripple their combat abilities (often unable to advance beyond the first couple of levels for assorted combat skills). If you're lucky they at least might have some non-combat abilities that you're looking for (such as mechanical skill or gardening).
  • Lured into a Trap: Occasionally, a survivor group offering trade are actually setting up an ambush, and will attempt to kill you as soon as you arrive.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Unlike the first game, State of Decay 2 features combat against hostile survivors (although such fights are relatively rare), resulting in 3-way battles between you and your teammates, enemy survivors, and the zombies.
  • Mercy Kill: In the tutorial, the player is introduced to the shooting mechanics by putting down a blood plague zombie who the doctor was unable to save. In the main game, a player can choose to kill someone who has been infected by the blood plague if they don't have the ingredients for the cure.
  • New Game+: Once you've completed a legacy story, the game starts over while allowing you to bring three leveled-up survivors from a previous game and two legacy bonuses.
    • Note that, unlike Breakdown, you do NOT keep your supply locker items when you start a new game. You only bring over the items carried by the three survivors.
  • No Fair Cheating: Turning off the game when your character is about to die will not save them: when you log back on, they will be dead.
    • However, if you turn off the game and reload, all zombies surrounding your character will be gone — but all quests will be reset as well.
    • Blocking base entrances with vehicles (to keep zombies out) won't work, either. The vehicles will be bumped back (damaging them in the process) when an NPC opens the door.
  • No FEMA Response: Zig-zagged. There were Army camps to help refugees, but they've been abandoned by the time the tutorial survivors reach one. The government appears to have straight up fled, leaving Red Talon and the Network to pick up the pieces and help remaining survivors.
  • Obvious Beta:
    • The game was released with a prolific amount of bugs, from characters getting stuck in walls to touching a Juggernaut causing the HUD to disappear. What's very telling is that there's a radio command that exists to help the player get unstuck which maddeningly doesn't exist in co-op. Get stuck in co-op? Better quit and restart, losing your progress towards rewards.
    • A 20GB patch was released in June 2018. Opinions vary on whether this was 20GB worth of bug fixes, or a bug-fixed version of the whole game.
  • The Remnant:
    • Some survivor enclaves are made up of U.S. Army soldiers who got left behind when the government fled. A group of 3 ex-soldiers can join your survivor group as part of one of the game's potential random sidequests.
    • "Osiris Command" is apparently what's left of the U.S. Military; their primary concern at the moment seems to be making sure the President and other VIPs are able to ride out the apocalypse safely, rather than doing anything to help the scattered survivor communities. They also seem to consider Red Talon to be a Renegade Splinter Faction and ignore communications from them.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Revolvers have been somewhat improved from the first game. While they still cannot be suppressed, they won't jam or break, unlike automatics which wear out and have to be repaired after a few magazines worth of gunfire.
  • The Sheriff: One of the possible leaders for your community is this. Their legacy is built upon bringing law and order back to society, which culminates in a fight with a band of renegade survivors preying on neighboring enclaves.
  • Shout-Out: Building a trade depot nets you the Achievement "Who Run Bartertown?"
  • The Siege: Like in Lifeline, your base will be periodically attacked by zombies. The frequency and intensity of the attacks is based on how much noise your base makes, with higher tier base facilities and larger populations creating more noise.
    • The Daybreak DLC is one long, intense siege mission.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: All three new maps are quite similar to Trumbull Valley from the first game, being rural areas in the shadow of a large mountain. The layout of the foothills map (the first choice when asked which map you want) in particular is extremely similar to Trumbull Valley.
  • Time Management Game: A key element. You cannot take every mission that comes in due to sheer volume, so you need to choose which is more important. You must constantly be on the move:
    • If you don't seek out the traders, you'll likely never get the higher end weapons and base improvements.
    • If you ignore other Enclaves, they may leave the valley, or even turn hostile.
    • If you ignore personal missions for your own survivors, they will get angry and make the base morale drop.
    • If you ignore the Scattered Survivor missions, you will miss out on recruits and easy resources.
    • If you don't periodically clear out Infestations, they spread and your base morale will suffer tremendously.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The special zombies are significantly more dangerous this time around. The Feral is better at dodging and attacking, the Bloater is sneakier and its gas does more damage to both health and stamina, the Juggernaut is..well The Juggernaut, and the Screamer is better at drawing in zombies.
    • Your own survivors to an extent. when you first meet and recruit them, they are potentially not the best fighters. Once you max them out however, they become badass undead killing machines after singlehandely disposing of hundreds of zombies. Not to mention, that’s on their own!
      • It bears mentioning that NPC Survivors in your community almost never are killed while controlled by the AI... which is quite a change from the original, where they'd get killed all the time while under AI control.
    • In Heartland, all of the zombies are far more dangerous:
      • The regular zombies can now climb. You are no longer safe jumping on top of a platform.
      • The Ferals now take four shots to the head to take down, not one.
      • Screamers don't just attract zombies like before, they now spawn them in the immediate area, including specials.
      • Bloaters' area of affect is increased and the health penalties for breathing Bloater Gas has increased quite a bit.
      • Juggernauts were tough before but now they are nigh invulnerable: double the hitpoints, a plague cloud area of affect attack, and they no longer run into walls.
  • The Virus: The Blood Plague, carried by the plague zombies and presumably created by the plague hearts that infest the map. Getting hit or bit by a plague zombie causes a survivor's infection meter to increase and if it fills up completely they will be infected. After three real time hours, that survivor will then die and turn into a zombie. With samples gathered from dead zombies and hearts, the player can craft the cure. Or, as mentioned above, simply Mercy Kill the infected survivor.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Late into the game, an enclave threatens you for supplies because you’re “hogging” them. Even if you’re generous, they still continue to threaten you. Which leads to the final offer, the leader asks you to GIVE UP YOUR HOME BASE! Talk about being a major douche. You can either A, give up your base and move or B,kill those ungrateful bastards. What do you think you’d choose?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's unclear what happened to the rest of Greyhound One or Vienna Cho from Lifeline. Though, given Sasquatch now runs with Red Talon rather than the Army, we may be able to guess.
    • When you exile a survivor from your community, unless you follow them and cause them to get killed or they have uncured blood plague and are going to turn, they are never seen or heard of again.
  • Zerg Rush: As usual for zombies, one or two are no problem for even a newbie. However, once they start attacking in groups, things can get out of hand in a hurry.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Duh.

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