State of Decay 2’s open-world battle for survival against a zombie menace is the right kind of post-apocalyptic fun. It creates plenty of high-stakes moments, punctuated by the relative calm of foraging for supplies while always looking over your shoulder. It’s a potent mixture for a while, until the combination of repetitive missions and annoying bugs eventually dulls the joy of squashing heads, even when your co-op entourage rolls deep.
Just like in 2013’s original State of Decay, in State of Decay 2 you can freely switch between randomly generated survivors in your post-apocalyptic community – and you’ll regularly have to, because they can only be pushed so far before their stamina starts to give out. Or worse, you did something stupid and got someone permanently killed, taking their unique traits and whatever leveled-up skills they’ve acquired with them. You’re not able to customize their names or looks at all, which is a shame, because if XCOM has taught us anything it’s that it’s fun to tell your friends and co-workers how you got them killed. But that fear of loss (you can’t reload from an earlier save!) adds some significant weight to the struggle that plays out on one of three open-world rural maps, as you scavenge the region to build a shelter and work to cleanse the land of a disease known as the Blood Plague.