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Watch our State of Decay 2 gameplay preview

Zombie sequel goes open-world and co-op

Earlier this month, I recently spent a few hours holed up in a Microsoft preview event fortress, playing State of Decay 2. The video above offers some of my thoughts on the game, as well as a chunk of gameplay. You can also read a longer preview here.

The first game’s primary point of departure from genre zombie shooters was a clever story-based core, in which the player sought to create a community of survivors, rather than merely mowing down enemies. This dovetailed into crafting, building and social mechanics, as the community grew into new and bigger problems.

The sequel retains and expands on these ideas, with an in-depth social strategy that leans heavily on the sort of personality types you might expect in an apocalypse, as well as a few you’d rather do without. Building and crafting has also been elevated, without changing too much about the basics.

The main changes come in the form of an open-world map, rather than a more linear, narrative approach. This seems to follow standard open-world procedures, but also includes narrative threads that pull the story into a cohesive entity.

Co-op missions have also been added, which take advantage of a wide array of weapons, allowing for strategizing against powerful nests of enemies, perhaps using a combination of bombs, decoys, range weapons and all-out melee. I didn’t have a long enough time in co-op to really understand how well it succeeds, but we’ll find out more when State of Decay 2 arrives on Windows PC and Xbox One on May 22.

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