- Broken Base: The Year One Survival Edition has caused quite the split amongst the fans. Proponents say it's a worthy remaster of the original game, with improved graphics and more content. Opponents say it's little more than an unpolished port of a game released barely two years before, with the graphics hardly being improved, many technical issues still unresolved from the original 360 version, and that the new content doesn't justify the price tag even with the pre-owned discount.
- Demonic Spiders: Feral Zombies can quickly kill lone survivors, especially if they get the drop on you at night. It is surprisingly easy to lose Marcus or Maya on day one to a Feral zombie, and even in the late game they can blitz you and kill a survivor you may have expended a significant amount of effort and time leveling up.
- Gets downplayed once you figure out a surprisingly simple trick to killing them quickly. Do a combat roll the moment they lunge at you, and while they're lying on the ground, immediately turn around and do a finishing move.
- Army zombies. In Breakdown, they replace SWAT zombies as the armored freak, and are the remnants of the US Army unit sent into the valley. They run fast, leap far, are immune to almost all bullets due to their armor (anything not using incendiary shotgun rounds is completely ineffective, even against the head) and in later levels become the most commonly encountered freak without question. The only way to deal with them without using the shotgun rounds is to melee attack them or use explosives, which becomes problematic when 8-10 of them are mixed in with a horde.
- Disappointing Last Level: The third and final town, which is only accessible near the end of the main plot, serves very little purpose. There are no story missions or side-quests there other than the game's finale, and Marshall contains enough resources that there's no need to loot the new town for supplies. It definitely feels like they were going to put more story-related content there, but simply ran out of time and shipped the game as is.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: The survivor Karen Tolbert is surprisingly popular on the Undead Labs forums. This despite the fact that she only appears in one story mission and has some of the worst survivor traits.
- Game-Breaker: Characters with the Reflexes skill have access to one of two utility skills: Spin Kick and Sweep Kick. They replace the standard kick, and they ALWAYS knock down the zombie it hits. This allows you to conserve ammo and weapon durability when dealing with either single zombies or small groups by knocking them down and then executing them one after the other. The passive bonus of the stat also counts; a faster Stamina regeneration rate, which definitely helps in improving their Cardio.
- Genius Bonus: Montressor is actually an appropriate name for a character who traps another behind a wall and leaves them to die — it's the name of the Villain Protagonist of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado". At least this game has a better ending for the one(s) on the other side...
- Goddamned Bats: The Bloater, which takes only one shot to kill, but explodes into a cloud of poisonous gas which quickly drains both your health and stamina. Inhaling this gas however briefly can get a character sick and needs a few real-time hours to recover. Worse still, they tend to mix in with the normal zombies, so it's not always easy to spot and kill them from afar. They're most annoying when they hide just on the other side of a locked door during Zed Hunt missions. Also, running them over causes their gas to stick to your vehicle and affects your character until you leave it and let the gas dissipate.
- Screamers cannot attack, but their scream drains stamina and makes you lose control of the character, who covers their ear in pain. Encountering these guys in a middle of a fight means a lot of health loss or even death.
- Normal zombies on their own are no hassle. They become quite the pain when countered near specials, however. Spend too much time focusing on them and a Juggernaut or Feral will hand you your ass. Focus on the special and you'll find yourself getting grabbed by the normal zombies, opening you up to the special's insta-kill attacks.
- Doubles as Demonic Spiders, but Army Zeds are this as well. Immune to bullets (except .50 caliber rounds from rifles such as the M 107 CQ and Mk 15 and incendiary shotgun rounds), they run fast and quickly become the most common freak encountered. It's not uncommon to have dozens of them spawn at higher Breakdown levels, and the player can end up killing hundreds of them in a single level. They also can mix into hordes, forcing the player to use explosives or melee weapons.
- You'd think Juggernauts would be Demonic, but in reality they're this. Sure, they can easily ruin a survivor's day, but you almost never need to actually fight them. However, if they're in an area you want to loot, you'll have to flee and come back after they've despawned.
- Good Bad Bugs: In Breakdown, it was originally intended that players would only be able to bring six survivors with them to the next level. However, players eventually discovered a glitch that, by sending survivors away from the home base and then manually sending them to RV, would allow them to bring as many survivors as they wanted. This was affectionately nicknamed 'roof riding'. Sadly this was fixed in the Year One Survival edition.
- Left Hanging: Throughout the Lifeline DLC it's implied that the plague is not naturally occurring and may have been a result of experimentation gone wrong. However, after completing all of Sasquatch's hunts, these plot threads are then dropped in favor of the bog standard Nuke 'em ending.
- Scrappy Mechanic: When the player loads a saved game, events are calculated and executed depending on how long it is since the last time the game was saved, to simulate real-time events. It's possible to close the game in a good position, then come back a couple days later and find that your survivors have eaten all your supplies and several zombie hordes have congregated and are heading straight for your safehouse. Luckily, the problem can be countered with little hassle by adjusting your computer clock close to the last time you saved the game.
- The Scrappy: Lily the Mission Control, who is unkillable, unplayable (yet still consumes supply), and constantly nags players about missions they haven't completed ("Hey, have you checked out the survivors I've mentioned?"). Also, she is one who gives you the "Memento" mission.
- If there's one trait that may be the most detrimental to a survivor, it's "Improves cardio slowly" (it's actually named "Asthma Attacks" or "A Pack a Day", but the effects of both are the same). The time you invest in trying to max out the stat of a character that has this will most likely be better off spent leveling up all your other survivors.
- That One Achievement: Unlocking "The Killer" sounds easy enough, just get one of your community members sick enough so you're forced to mercy kill them. But getting the simulation to work in your favor is a bitch and a half. Even if your community has no medical station or even any medicine at all, injured/sick members can heal on their own, even if they were on the brink of death. Entire guides have been written with tips ranging from running people over with vehicles to hunting down bloaters to purposefully have them explode on the player. It is, however, mildly humorous that one of the most difficult achievements in a game with zombies and Final Death is just getting someone to die.
- That One Level: The optional mission "Memento," where the player has to travel through heavily infested terrain to retrieve a novelty watch for Lily. You can improve the odds by calling in various expensive favors, but in a game whose main story points tend to give you a gang of NPCs for backup, it stands out as a mission that's very dangerous without substantial preparation and luck. It's also very much a Luck-Based Mission, as you may only have to deal with the Infested ranger station, or if you're really unlucky you'll also have to deal with multiple Hordes, Feral zombies, and even a Juggernaut or two.
- Not so much a "level", but certain areas of the map are known for being very difficult and risky to venture into, due to high spawn rates of zombies and special zombies. Special mention has to go to the trailer park in Spencer's Mill, just south/southeast of the church home site. The small lake next to this trailer park spawns insane amounts of zombies, and going there is extremely dangerous if the survivor is not equipped with plenty of ammunition, throwables and health items.
- The forest just outside of Spencer's Mill and north of the church also is an area best avoided, as it is almost always crawling with zombies, and more will continuously spawn.
YMMV / State of Decay