State of Decay: Year-One Survival Review

The original State of Decay launched on Xbox 360 and rightfully broke all kinds of sales records. It was fairly unpolished and janky but the ambition and implementation of the gameplay systems far outweighed any negative feelings brought up by its flaws. On a new system, State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition looks better, performs better but still features some frame rate problems and the same janky gameplay.

State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition features all the previous DLC that were released for the title on Xbox One. Breakdown and Lifeline add many hours of gameplay that isn’t just more of the same from the main campaign. Both Lifeline and Breakdown feel like it’s approached from different angles which means it doesn’t feel like you’re playing the exact same game with the same features and experience.

The systems in State of Decay seem initially overwhelming but everything is broken into digestible chunks making everything more manageable when you realise that nothing is that deep for the better. As well as exploring an open-world overrun by zombies, you must manage relationships with other survivors, resources, building new bases as well as your fatigue and more. It seems like a lot to handle when you’re actually trying to just go out and play the game but its systems are implemented so well that it never really feels like a hindrance and instead enhances the experience of playing through State of Decay.

state of decayState of Decay: Year-One features full 1080p gameplay but unfortunately the game’s previous problems are not gone with the upgrade to a much more powerful system. While frame rate and slight hitches are far less frequent, it still occurs and it can be rather frustrating as it can hit drastically out of nowhere.

State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition is incredibly ambitious, it’s one of the main reasons it was so successful when it released in 2013. It has enough gameplay and systems that you’d expect from a full price game but it’s less than half of it. It features dozens of hours of thrilling gameplay with plenty of systems to enjoy as you explore the world. The cam is solid but not as satisfying as other zombie games. The captivating aspect of State of Decay is the culmination and marrying of the gameplay and systems in place that create an incredible world with exploration that feels meaningful as you gather resources for the your base and other survivors.

Your survivors level up and increase their stats in a number of areas based on what you are doing with them. You can also switch between survivors and use them out in the world too. This is definitely something to consider as death of that characters means they are gone for good and you must use another character and take them over using their stats. It makes it quite emotional in the sense that if your high level character is up against it, it can be stressful to keep them safe.

State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition is an incredible package worth twice the asking price. The world can be beautiful at times, gameplay can jump from fun to stressful in a matter of seconds while remaining enjoyable and the content included is vast and all of high quality. State of Decay was great on Xbox 360 and even though Xbox One doesn’t fix all the technical flaws it’s even better on Xbox One. This is an excellent blend of RPG, resource management, and tense zombie survival gameplay.


  • Ton of content
  • Implements mechanics usually reserved for online games in the genre and makes it work well
  • Massive game with great freedom


  • Gameplay still can feel janky
  • Frame rate still not consistent


Owner of Game-Smack, Jason plays everything that’s possible. Goal of Game-Smack: Overhearing a stranger “Game-Smack? I’ve heard of that. It sucks!”

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