State of Decay 2

Technically shambolic, obsessed with hoarding, and a waste of a once-promising society simulation.

Key events

Microsoft details this weekend's two-hour X018 Inside Xbox live stream

Microsoft details this weekend's two-hour X018 Inside Xbox live stream

Crackdown 3, Sea of Thieves, Forza 4, and more.

Microsoft's X018 event takes place in Mexico City this weekend, and the publisher will be streaming a two-hour Inside Xbox special from the show, bringing with it a variety of new announcements for the likes of Crackdown 3, Sea of Thieves, and Forza Horizon 4.

More specifically, X018 - an fan event that Microsoft has previously dubbed "a global celebration of all things Xbox" - unfolds on November 10th and 11th. For those that can't make it to Mexico City in person, the two-hour Inside Xbox live stream (which will hopefully be less exasperatingly paced than previous efforts), begins at 9pm on Saturday, November 10th in the UK. That's 1 PM PT/4 PM ET for our US pals.

Xbox One's social media channels have been teasing a few details of what we can expect during Saturday's live stream, including Crackdown 3, Minecraft, Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, and Forza Horizon 4 announcements. Additionally, Microsoft has promised "big" PUBG news, a look at Shadow of the Tomb Raider's upcoming The Forge expansion, plus "a surprise or two", including "over a dozen game announcements for Xbox Game Pass."

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"Significant" 20GB State of Decay 2 patch aims to fix the game

"This patch today is just the beginning…"

State of Decay 2 launched in, well, a bit of a state. Our reviewer Edwin called the Microsoft Studios game "technically shambolic" in our State of Decay 2 review.

Now, developer Undead Labs has released a huge 20GB patch that aims to fix the game's glaring issues.

Patch 1.2 includes bug fixes, gameplay tune-ups and quality of life improvements, Undead Labs said. This "significant" download comes "just in time for a leisurely weekend of apocalypse survival".

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State of Decay 2: Xbox One X looks better than S - but frame-rate is lower

Exclusive to Xbox One and PC, State of Decay 2 blends four-player online co-op with a well-worn zombie apocalypse setting - and the concept is sound. Survival is the name of the game: you explore a seamless, open area for weapons and items, claim safehouses, and scout new spots for your community of survivors to migrate to. It expands on the original's ideas, but the technology behind it gets a full reset this time. Built on Unreal Engine 4, State of Decay 2 abandons the CryEngine 3.1 of the original game - perhaps partially explaining the five-year development time. It's a fundamental overhaul in rendering technology, but with that transition comes a fair share of teething troubles, requiring some pretty fundamental work in improving what is clearly a lacklustre showing.

But let's look at the positives first. On Xbox One X, State of Decay 2 is noteworthy for a fully open-ended design with a dynamic time of day, a pleasing use of object physics simulation, and some beautiful lighting effects. Pop-in is surprisingly well hidden on the enhanced console too - and once a lengthy initial load is complete, everything that follows is seamless. It's not a showcase for the system per se - a shame given it is a Microsoft exclusive - but there are some eye-catching moments in there. Unfortunately, while the Xbox One X rendition has these visual niceties, our first experience of it was on the base Xbox One console, where to our eyes, State of Decay 2 looks somewhat dated for a current-gen game.

There's a lot here that just doesn't hold up on the regular console. Whether it's the pop-in on shadows and zombies while driving, the soup-like texture quality, the heavy, dithered motion blur, or the low-grade lens flare effect - every facet feels compromised in some way. The last aspect sticks out like a sore thumb; panning the camera around, the lens flare effect's trajectory across the screen updates at slow intervals - out of sync with the game's frame-rate. It's not an issue on Xbox One X where we get a smooth, clean rotation. It's curious that such a seemingly simple effect gets dialled back, and you need a full console upgrade to solve it.

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State of Decay 2 review - a soggy open-world loot-'em-up with catastrophic bugs

There are times when State of Decay 2 is so buggy that it stops being a stodgy post-apocalyptic looting game and transforms into metatextual horror theatre. At one point during a fight outside a barn, a juggernaut zombie hits me so hard that the UI vanishes, as though punched clean out of my character's skull. I try to speak to another human faction leader later, selecting unseen dialogue options at random, and accidentally trigger a civil war. The game features an extravagant array of injury types, from torn discs to punctured organs, and I half-wonder whether the developer is actually simulating the effects of a head wound through the very interface. How long will it last? Is this some unlockable hardcore option I'm not aware of?

I reload the save and, thank goodness, there's the aiming cursor, but I have other problems to worry about. Doors that seem open won't let me enter. Zombies keep falling out of midair in the distance, as though the Hand of God were literally sowing a wayward planet with the seeds of annihilation. I jump into a car to go clear out a nearby infestation, and the camera develops a Velma Dinkley complex, standing in confusion while I disappear into the sunset. Is the camera, too, falling prey to the zombie curse? Another reloaded save, and now my AI companion has become a ghost - he's visible only on the game's minimap as a teleporting icon who yells in my ear, shaking my nerve far more efficiently than the ghouls that roam the hillsides. I fire up online co-op to escape and, oh crikey, now the audio has caught the gremlins too - I can hear the twangy country soundtrack but when I clobber somebody it sounds like I'm beating a snowman. A plague of silence! Isn't there something in the Bible about that? I quit the session to look it up and, perhaps mercifully, the game crashes.

All this on top of more continuous, less dramatic flaws - cars that occasionally jump skyward like startled cats when you nudge anything at greater than walking speed, vicious online latency, lighting glitches and a tendency for characters to get stuck on objects that has obliged the presence of an actual "free rewind" option. There's something almost exhilarating about State of Decay 2's sheer brokenness, the way it limbos under the launch-window bar set by Mass Effect: Andromeda - but alas, sooner or later the clouds part and you're left with the mere tedium of the game within.

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Here's a good look at State of Decay 2 gameplay

Undead Labs has released new gameplay of State of Decay 2, its upcoming open world survival zombie game.

The video, below, shows off character selection, base building, combat, environments and more. You have to maintain the happiness of your home, keep your stockpiles fresh and build the likes of watchtowers for protection. You manage your community, too, promoting characters as you see fit.

In combat, you're able to sneak up on enemies, grab them from behind and chuck them at other enemies. There are some pretty brutal melee kills in there, too. And, as you'd expect of a State of Decay game, you can run zombies over while driving vehicles - and smack them up by leaving the car door open.

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State of Decay 2 finally launches on Xbox One and PC this May

State of Decay 2 finally launches on Xbox One and PC this May

Also available as part of Xbox Game Pass.

Undead Labs' long-awaited zombie-survival RPG sequel State of Decay 2 finally has a release date, and will be arriving on Windows 10 and Xbox One on May 22nd.

State of Decay 2 will be available in two different versions, according to publisher Microsoft (thanks IGN). There'll be a Standard Edition, weighing in at 24.99/$29.99 USD, as well as a 39.99/$49.99 USD Ultimate Edition.

The Standard Edition includes just the base game, while the Ultimate Edition features the base game, the Independence Pack and Daybreak Pack DLCs (neither of which has a release date yet), and will also offer early access to State of Decay 2, starting on May 18th. Additionally, it includes a copy of the State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition for Xbox One.

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State of Decay 2 confirmed for spring 2018

State of Decay 2 confirmed for spring 2018

An Xbox Play Anywhere title.

Zombie survival game and indie darling State of Decay is getting a sequel. It's called State of Decay 2 and it's coming next spring.

Revealed at Microsoft's E3 press conference, State of Decay 2 will be an Xbox Play Anywhere title, meaning it will be on both Xbox One and Windows 10 and players will be able to transfer their data between platforms.

The gameplay footage above promises a more robust State of Decay experience with plenty of refuges to build, vehicles to drive, and different types of zombies to shoot.

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FeatureXbox boss Phil Spencer: the big interview

"Scorpio is designed as a 4K console…"

Microsoft's E3 media briefing was strong, I thought, although its impact was dulled by a pretty spectacular set of leaks that not only revealed the existence of the Xbox One S and Scorpio ahead of time, but the running order of the show.