A few years ago, without hesitation, I deemed State of Decay and its DLC Breakdown as “the best zombie apocalypse survival experience on the market”. Even post Dying Light, I have a hard time changing that statement. Undead Labs chose to ‘one-up’ themselves recently by re-releasing this classic as a refined and retouched experience on both PC and Xbox One in a Year One Survival Edition.

State of Decay is the one zombie game on the market the really stresses survival and brilliantly utilizes stamina to limit your character’s bad-assery at all times. Rather than limiting you to just one character, you are forced to control an entire survivor community. With their ‘use the skill to improve the skill’ leveling system, this places an interesting strategy and RPG element to every mission you take on as well as every supply run you make. You can eventually specialize your survivors in one weapon class and acquire other special moves and skills that SHOULD help making those supply runs easier. All it takes is the wrong stroke of luck and members can get tired, hurt, or even sick to the point where you only have one exhausted member able to venture outside the home’s walls! Tack on the fact that at any moment, you could get overconfident and get swarmed by a horde or by particularly difficult ‘freak’ zombies and you have supreme replay value layered on top of a beautifully constructed foundation.

survivor page

Honestly, just playing the game brings back fond memories of two of my all time favorite games Mercenaries and Red Faction: Guerrilla. Somehow this perspective (which is also executed beautifully in games like Dead Space and Dead Souls), manages to infuse a DEADly and anxiety filled atmosphere since you can completely see what fate awaits as you are picked up and ripped apart! This is all in the midst of realizing that once a community member dies, it’s permanent! No reloads or respawns. You can easily have a crew of 3 survivors on a mission together and at just the wrong moment, your tank could run out of stamina and end up leaving the rest of the team to die just so he can survive! This game can get real tense real quick!

All of this and I’ve only spoken of the main game. In Year One Survival Edition, Undead Labs has included all of the DLC they previously released and tweaked things just enough to make the experience fresh and more inviting. With Breakdown’s near retro ‘high score’ horde mode and Lifeline’s impressive difficulty despite taking the reigns of a military outfit, YOSE is effective at improving the formula.

Guruvani Lives
Yeah… survive this! (it actually is possible)

Here’s what’s new in YOSE:

  • 1080p resolution and new animations to add just enough polish to what was already an effective presentation.
  • An exclusive new character for previous State of Decay owners named Gurubani Kaur and her unique sword.
  • All New CLEO supply drop missions (that occur in all versions) surrounded by hordes of zombies yet filled with unique and rare equipment you’ll definitely want.
  • SUV vehicles for more durability to run over almost anything
  • New weapons: under-barrel attachments and incendiary ammo

(Imagine the beautiful sound of a M16 followed by the ‘thump’ of an underbarrel grenade launcher! The whip out a shotgun that burns its foes! burn baby burn! Survival is sooooo sweet!)

  • The facility actions from “Lifeline” now show up in every version of the game, including ammo crafting and snack making at your base. NPC Enclaves are also getting a makeover, making it easier to trade and build trust with them.

(trust. The crafting, snack making, and trading adds a superb new element to your survival tactics that you’ll NEED in Breakdown especially)

  • Unlocking heroes from the “Lifeline” DLC for use in Breakdown.

(this adds a ton more replayability since more heroes equals more survivors to use in your community each time you play Breakdown)

Gotta catch’em all!

Probably the best of these additions would be the supply drops. Since it is hard at times to find just the right weapon for that hero or built up survivor that is a pro at heavy weapons or assault rifles, the supply drops provide an immense challenge with high payouts.

Personally, I wish there was time or plans to work out the previously unmanageable coop or multiplayer aspect of this game. This definitely screams for fun with friends. Maybe we’ll see that in the sequel!?

Without a doubt, this version would do even make Daryl Dixon (The Walking Dead) proud! Of course, that means we’d need a crossbow in one of these CLEO drops! At $29.99, this is a steal that shouldn’t be missed.