The Best Zombie Game Of All Time: State of Decay

Herner Klenthur

I have been a die-hard fan of horror games going all the way back to the Commodore 64 days when I was in first grade and I still have fond memories of popping my floppy copy of Friday the 13th into my Commodore 64 and running around Crystal Lake absolutely terrified. 

As far as great zombie games go Dead Rising was the first really good zombie game to come out that amped up the tension levels with thousands of zombies swarming all over you.  The next outstanding zombie game to push the limits of zombie action was Dead Island which took things into the first person and put us on a resort island that had gone to hell in a hand bag.

As much as I love both of those games and the many other zombie games that have come out in-between none of them can hold a candle to Undead Lab’s new title State of Decay which is easily the greatest zombie game of all time. Made on a shoe string budget without the advantages of big names or big money State of Decay has managed to show up the major players delivering one hell of a grand gaming experience.

All previous zombie games  I have played have a formula and force gamers to play the game that game makers want you to. The fact that Undead Lab’s State of Decay does not do this is one of the reasons it is the best zombie games ever made. State of Decay is a third person action adventure title based in the present day just after an apocalyptic zombie event has destroyed the world. In State of Decay you are tasked with one thing and one thing alone… survive. Unlike Left 4 Dead which is a mindless button mashing bullet spitting debacle State of Decay draws in all the best elements of earlier zombie games and adds its own twist making it a truly outstanding gaming experience.

Unlike other video games where the goal is to get from Point A to Point B and carry out C State of Decay is literally just an open world where you the gamer decide what you want to do next. There are plenty of missions and doing them will advance your character and make survival easier but it is entirely up to you in what order you do the quests and whether you do any at all.

State of Decay Grocery Shopping

 In State of Decay if you want to simply drive around town running over zombies and hacking and slashing through tens of thousands of zombies you can. If you choose you can team up with other survivors who are hidden in various buildings and compounds throughout the world and build fortifications, safe zones and outposts. You wont rebuild humanity in State of Decay but you can make survival much easier.

What makes the game phenomenal is its focus on detail. Looting grocery stores you will find food, raiding the police station will find you armed to the teeth and building outposts will make you responsible for feeding, protecting and defending your survivors.  Survivors are much more to you then just characters you toss in a pen and forget. You will be regularly running missions to get them food, medicine, and ammo and just plain keep them alive. 


State of Decay is a truly open world that gives you the freedom to live and die a hundred different ways. As you explore and loot you will acquire weapons, skills and friends who will help you survive but the biggest feature by far is the freedom to do what you want or simply do nothing at all but kill zombies and rampage around as a one man or woman army. 

Did I mention State of Decay has perma-death? You will need to think carefully and plan ahead because when you die… you are dead. Period. There are hundreds of buildings to loot and pillage and more quests than I can count and the zombies are plentiful and incredibly dangerous!

If you are planning to go investigate signs of survivors at a nearby city permanent death will have you thinking twice and thinking long and hard on what you bring with you.


In many cases I found myself weighing whether the trip was worth the risk of loosing important survivors to permanent death. Each survivor has skills my group needs. Some are doctors, some are mechanics who repair cars and others are just key shooters.

At one point in the game I had one working car at my outpost, about a half-dozen shotgun shells and a grenade I had saved for literally weeks and was weighing where I could get more supplies. I needed materials to build more storage for food because I now had 11 survivors and we were facing starvation to often.

While I was weighing whether I should raid the local warehouse for building supplies I located and climbed a water tower and spotted a gun store and since all stores have logical contents I raided it first, found a big bag of ammo and some assault rifles and made my move from there. Planning ahead is the difference between death and survival and in State of Decay there is no second chances.


As you travel through the world of ‘State of Decay’ you get tired and hungry requiring rest and food and as you do battle with hordes you will find your weapons breaking, ammo running out and worst yet exhaustion kicking in forcing you to stop swinging that fire axe and instead start limping and pushing your way to the nearest escape. Survival is not easy in State of Decay and that is part of the reason the game is so good!

The battles can be brutal and even with the best weapons and a few clips of ammo on your belt you can find yourself being swallowed up and literally torn to shreds by zombies that come in many flavors. Worse yet the real world elements of this game make each battle a true challenge. Even when you are carrying a fully loaded AR15 Assault Rifle you will have to weigh whether risking firing the weapon is worth luring in hundreds more zombies or are you better off to fight it out with the shovel you are carrying.

State of Decay is the Grand Theft Auto of Zombie games with a healthy dose of George Romero and is in my humble view the best zombie game ever made. It is well priced for around $20 and is available for download on the Xbox Arcade. Play it, love it and come back and tell me what you think of it. 

State of Decay sold 250,000 copies in its first 24 hours and I for one can not wait for part two and I am sure I am not alone!


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      1. RickLoL August 12, 2013 at 5:17 am

        DayZ is pretty much the same thing, but this sounds more well put together. Thanks, I will be getting this game for sure.

        • Ric January 28, 2014 at 7:32 am

          I find that Day Z encourages you to kill other survivors, while State of Decay encourages cooperation with other survivor enclaves.
          Oh and the replay value of this game is incredible, try to fortify and equip the best home base as possible , recruit the best qualified survivors.

      2. Tim Raynes August 12, 2013 at 6:43 am

        I purchased State of Decay opening day and was hooked right off. I have since beat the main story twice and am on my third go round…..this time I’m just going to see how long we can last before supplies run out. I don’t know if there will be a sequel to State of Decay, but Undead Labs has said that SOD is essentially a test run for a much larger scale game they’re working on…….which is good, because now that I’m on the third play through, the world is starting to feel a little bit smaller. All in all, it’s easily the best zombie game I’ve ever played, and ranks up there with the best games I’ve played…period!

        • Ric January 28, 2014 at 7:36 am

          Amen brother, love the game, I’m on my 3rd run through, there is so much depth and attention to detail.
          I would buy an Xbox 1 just to get the game SoD 2 (they are making part 2 now)

      3. Greg August 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm

        Sequel will have multiplayer. I cannot wait for that. The only bad part of the game is having something crazy happen and experiencing it alone. “You’d have had to be there” moments. As long as it’s more co-op than pvp, I’ll be happy. Don’t want it to be like that train wreck Day Z, where the only real threat are other players.

        Dead Rising 3 is looking like it could give SoD some competition for best zombie game. There’s also a new Dead Island coming (I think is a very underrated series). Exciting times for zombie games.

        • Herner Klenthur August 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm

          I agree Dead Rising 3 looks insane. Not happy I am forced into a new console to get it thought. I also think that adding multiplayer co-op to State of Decay will be fantastic.

          I have not played DayZ dont think I will based off your comment and those of others on our Facebook page.

      4. Tiago August 12, 2013 at 7:26 pm

        Too bad it isn’t available for PS3 or Mac osx, I’ve been dying to play this game.

        • zackmc September 22, 2013 at 11:20 pm

          Will it be able to be used on mac osx?

      5. Mike New August 13, 2013 at 5:27 am

        I played the demo version for SOD I was very impressed. I haven’t purchased the full version yet since I haven’t had time to play video games in the last month or so

        • Ric January 28, 2014 at 7:58 am

          Keep in mind, when you play the game, save it and turn off the console, your survivors are still using up supplies, they can also go missing by the time you turn the game back on to play.
          If you don’t play for a month they can starve to death or leave your enclave. (found out the hard way).

      6. carl August 15, 2013 at 5:28 am

        absolutely love it.i lost two major characters trying to retrieve a memory for a npc.wanted to start again,but figure ill just keep on trucking and see what happens.finally a game that makes me feel im in the genre ive always wanted to play in.every romero,zombie lover must play this once.

      7. Zombie Games Online August 28, 2013 at 4:38 pm

        Hmm, how do you complete or win this game again? If you can just run around endlessly..

        -James Taste

        • Ric January 28, 2014 at 7:44 am

          You can eventually run out of places to scavenge supplies from.
          And the game gets tougher the longer you play.
          Right now I’m trying to see if there is an end to the missions, (last one?) or do they just keep randomly popping up?
          I love Zombie games, and this one is the Grand Daddy of them all !!!

      8. Carl Booth II November 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm

        I’ve probably played it from beginning to end like 10 times…

      9. Miguel Angel Becerra Estrada November 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm

        L4D?? L4D have a similar stage (Y)

      10. Josh Merrell November 3, 2013 at 12:03 am

        Resident Evil 2 is the best zombie game ever made.

        • Ric January 28, 2014 at 7:49 am

          I beg to differ, Res. evil 2 is on rails, you go where the game tells you to go, nowhere else.
          State of Decay is wide open, do what you want, when you want.
          Building a better enclave (home site) is half the fun, can’t do that in Resident evil 2 (not to dump on res 2… it was and still is a fantastic game).

      11. John W November 3, 2013 at 12:23 am

        2013 is the year of the Zombie game.

      12. Marc Ellett January 13, 2014 at 3:49 am

        I love horror (especially zombie based games), and while I love the Silent Hill and Resident Evil series, it all felt very bland. The characters seemed very one-dimensional (like most shooter games)

        Even though I only heard about State of Decay rather recently, I have already decided it is the best zombie game I have ever played

        The characters all of depth and personality, and it’s almost as if you know them and know their story

        It reminds me of watching an episode of Walking Dead

      13. Don Griffin June 4, 2014 at 12:32 pm

        SOD is exactly what i have been looking for in a survival horror game. My only gripe and its a small one is the driving mechanic. Other than that, best game ever…part gta san andreas, part res evil outbreak for ps2. I am in danger every time i leave the compound, just clearing out a house in my neighborhood is scary as hell. Cant believe i passed this up when it first came out. Super addictive