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The complete, definitive zombie game is something developers have tried to create for years. Objectively it looks quite easy; mix a bit of action and horror with similar amounts of fear, survival and genuine danger, and sprinkle liberally with gore. Many games have tried this and none have been perfect, however reading State of Decay’s description filled me with hope. Construction, gore, horror, survival and phases of genuine messy pants fear, SoD does seem to tick all of the boxes.

The one thing you need to know before starting to play State of Decay is that it’s hard. Not insanely, smash-your-TV hard, but hard enough to make you struggle for whatever rewards you can scrape together. It’s made even harder because of two terrible words that seem to follow me around zombie games. Permanent Death. The moment a character you’ve spent hours levelling and equipping with the latest in zombie killing tech is overrun, and takes that one final hit, your heart just falls out, but even this, in a way, makes the game even more fun, because it adds a new level of danger to it, and makes the zombies genuinely scarier.

Unfortunately it’s downhill from there. While the graphics and sounds are in no way bad, they cannot be described as brilliant. There’s enough variation and detail in the character models and designs to give them each an individual personality, but not enough for any one of them to be outstanding. The dialog is quite repetitive, but informative enough early on to let you know what you are doing, and easy enough to ignore as the game progresses. The textures and colours of the game are quite bland, and later on I found myself really quite bored by everything being brown.

Overall State of Decay is a great game, and would be well worth a full release price… but that’s the best bit! SoD is an Xbox Live Arcade title that is sold at a price of 1600MS (around £13.50/$20) which is an absolute steal for what is, overall, a very good game, and one I would heavily recommend playing.

State of Decay review info: