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4 Things the Survival Genre Could Learn from State of Decay
This indie survival game, State of Decay, is making record sales since it’s release date on June 5th. Sure, the game has its flaws, but there are some mechanics that the rest of the survival genre could learn from.
Switching Between Main Characters
Too many games let you play as some kind of super human. A character that never tires, never needs to eat or sleep or rest, and that regenerates health at an amazing rate. But not in State of Decay. Adding this realism to the game not only makes the experience feel more rewarding, but it also forces the player to play the game in different ways. Usually I’d stick with my strongest character in a party, and not bother playing my other, weaker characters. But there’s no choice in the matter in State of Decay; you have to constantly switch and level up different people, and I love the game for it.
This simple mechanic is one that I immediately became a fan of. Instead of having a mini map with your surroundings completely explored, enemies marked, and strategic zones highlighted, State of Decay makes you do explore the map on your own. It’s not hard, as just climbing up on a water tower or high point and looking over your environment should do the job. But I appreciate having to work, just a little, for the huge reward of knowing what is around me. Unlike other games like Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed where you press one button at a high point and the whole zone is automatically explored, State of Decay forces you to have to look around and find the places you want to explore.
Upgrading the Home Base
Too many games make home base upgrades very simple. You do a certain quest, or gather a specific supply, and then your home base looks cooler, but doesn’t provide that much of a bonus. State of Decay, on the other hand, has lots of different ways to upgrade. The player isn’t allowed to get all of the upgrades. Instead, they have to choose between what is important. It adds another level of strategy to the game, and I got as much enjoyment in having to decide between bunk beds to prevent sleep deprivation and a better clinic to heal my characters faster than I did killing zombies in the town.
Another mechanic that most games simplify is your group’s need for resources. State of Decay still keeps the mechanics for it simple, requiring only a handful of supplies to both keep your home base running, as well as for upgrades. But when you find these supplies out in the wilderness, it’s not like your character can carry five days worth of food for 10 people at the same time as carrying hundreds of pounds off wood. Instead, State of Decay forces characters to once again rely on their party, calling them on the walkie talkie and having your other characters collect gear for you, if it’s too much to carry.
State of Decay has all kinds of cool mechanics that I hope other games in the survival genre will start adopting. What stood out to you in the game? Let us know in the comments below!