State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition Review

State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition brings a harsh zombie infested world to the Xbox One, but is the transition worth it?

When State of Decay originally launched on the Xbox Live Arcade in June, 2013, people went absolutely mad for it and quite rightly so. It has everything for a great zombie survival game, there’s a fairly massive open world with many places to explore, there’s plenty of undead to kill, and there’s an ever present threat from humans as well as the undead. The game did incredibly well on the Xbox 360 which was then repeated on PC when it eventually launched on Steam.

Since then however the game has been forgotten, we’ve all had our fun and we’ve moved onto other things. The next generation of video games consoles are here and most of us have either moved on selling our old consoles, or our old consoles are just gathering dust. So it seemed like the right idea to bring a pretty great game to Xbox One, right? In comes the Year One Survival Edition, a fully revamped and tweaked version of the game that includes all of the game’s past DLC in addition to an overhaul of the game’s visuals.

State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition Review - n3rdabl3

In concept it sounds pretty good. But in reality, the game still feels very much like an Xbox 360 Arcade title and as someone who doesn’t really pay that much attention to visuals, at least when I’m not required to, I actually found very few differences between the Year One edition and the original Arcade edition.

In terms of gameplay improvements, I experienced the game in two ways, I first started from the beginning to see if any additional changes had been made to the game’s introduction, unfortunately it’s still as vague as before and you’re left practically up shit creek without a paddle as you’re mauled by zombie after zombie. Though if I recall my first playthrough there was a keen emphasis on exploration, which in our second playthrough we didn’t really get. Though I’m not sure if that’s just because we knew how the game played out and pushed forward rather than hanging around.

Either way, the game still feels a little clunky. The characters are still awkward to control and despite the new graphics and power in the new systems at some points the game’s textures still popped in and more than one occasion a zombie would become stuck within the wall of a building or trapped in a half opened door. Not that I’m complaining as I’m happy to avoid them at all costs. Character models also feel like they’ve been forgotten too and show no real improvements. Thankfully the environments are a little better to look at and the lighting is much better too, even at night, you’re now no longer drenched in darkness if you happen to stand in a certain part of a room.

State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition Review - n3rdabl3

Some of the new additions to the Year One Survival Edition include new under-barrel attachments allowing you to craft grenades and other things below your weapon, there’s also a handful of new weapons and attachments to search for, though if you haven’t visited the game for some time, you may fail to notice any of these new additions. There’s also a new truck which has been added to the game which is nice. One of the more notable updates is that each character now carries a knife regardless whether you have a weapon attached or not. This is perfect for those unexpected times where your current melee weapon breaks. You’re no longer left punching mushy flesh with your bare hands.

Players who had the old game are also rewarded to a 33 per cent discount as well as the ability to transfer their saves from their Xbox 360 to their Xbox One. This does however require you to still have your Xbox 360, the game installed, and a save file on your old system. All you have to do is then load up the game on your old console, then go through the on-screen prompts to transfer your save to Xbox One. It’s worth mentioning that there’s no confirmation that the transfer is a success, so you may want to do it just a few times to be sure. That’s what I did and it worked.

In addition to the main game, you also get the game’s Lifeline and Breakdown DLC bundled in too, each of which offers a different spin on the main game, a fantastic addition if you never got around to trying out the DLC on the older title. They both also add some refreshing gameplay changes which are much-needed after you’ve spanned the game’s fairly large map three or four times to acquire some medicine.

State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition Review - n3rdabl3

Ultimately State of Decay is the sort of game that is what you make of it. If you’re someone who follows quests, missions, and like to be told what to do next, you may not get on too well with the game. Though it offers missions and tasks, there’s not a strict overarching story to keep you occupied. It’s up to you to find things to do, to choose your characters path, and ultimately survive. Though personally the game itself feels very similar to the Xbox 360 version, if you loved the game back then and want to play it on your new console and experience some prettier looking visuals, I’d recommend it.

If however you found State of Decay a little tedious to begin with, the remake probably still won’t be your cup of tea.

This review was based on a review code provided to us by Microsoft.

State of Decay: Year One Edition
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Aaron is a bass player, gamer, and tech blogger. He's the founder and editor of and has a soft spot for his wife, puppies, kittens, and gadgets. Also likes apostrophes a little too much.

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