A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that State of Decay is a violent, bloody, and scary action game where you have to survive a zombie apocalypse. Armed with knives, guns, and blunt instruments, you have to destroy hundreds of the undead before they eat you or your fellow survivors. The resulting combat is often bloody and gory. The zombies not only attack you en masse but will knock you down and eventually tear you apart. You also, while driving around town, will run across -- and thus over and through -- throngs of zombies, also resulting in their messy dismemberment. Players will take prescription drugs that you've taken from pharmacies or homes, and many characters will say "s--t" or "f--k" at times during battle or dialogue.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In STATE OF DECAY, you have to survive when a zombie apocalypse destroys society. Not only do you have to scavenge for supplies and weapons, you also have to help your fellow humans survive, often at your own peril. Set in an open word, this third-person action game has you searching nearby structures, looking for anything helpful, while also taking out throngs of the undead with melee weapons, guns, explosives, and even motor vehicles. Just be aware that life is fleeting -- if you die, you stay dead, and you'll have to then play as another character who, creepily, might run into your zombified past self.
Is it any good?
As zombie games go, State of Decay is a bit of a mixed bag. On the plus side, it has a rich, open world, with plenty of areas to explore. It also has tight controls that make it (relatively) easy to protect yourself from zombies. This comes in handy, since there are a lot of the undead, and your supplies are usually limited. The zombies also won't approach you one at a time but instead will swarm you from multiple directions. (Y'know, like they will when the real zombie apocalypse begins.) State of Decay also is a lengthy and deep game, especially if you get the Year-One Survival Edition on Xbox One or PC, which includes all the weapons, characters, and story expansions they added to the Xbox 360 edition.
What State of Decay lacks is variety or a compelling reason to keep playing. Because you're doing the same thing over and over -- killing zombies, looking for things to kill zombies, running away when you’ve run out of things that will kill zombies -- and often are as outnumbered as you are outgunned, the game loses steam after a while and becomes dull. It also can become frustrating when you find yourself surrounded ... again. It doesn't help that some of the text is so small it’s hard to read some of the instructions and button prompts. But potential players also should know that the malaise actually takes a while to set in, so if you're a zombie fan or like testing yourself against seemingly impossible odds, State of Decay could be a fun apocalyptic time for mature players.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in video games. What difference does it make when the violence is committed against monsters instead of humans? Is violence ever justified?
Talk about disaster plans. Do you know what to do if a disaster strikes? Do you know how to get out of the house fast, where to go after you’re out, and what, if anything, to bring with you?
Talk about helping other people. Why is it important to help other people?
Discuss conservation and avoiding waste. How can you make things last longer? Instead of throwing something out, how can you reuse it or use it to make something new?
- Platforms: Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Undead Labs
- Release date: May 27, 2015
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language: Mild Fantasy Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.