State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition Review

State of Decay is one of my absolute favorite arcade games on the Xbox 360. With improved graphics, bundled DLC, and new achievements, can Year One Survival Edition top it’s 360 counterpart? Read on Zeds!

Developer: Undead Labs
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Format: Xbox one
Release Date: April 28th, 2015
Copy provided by publisher

“Hell yeah bruh!”

I want to start by giving a quick rundown of the original State of Decay and the general gameplay functions of the game as we did not review it previously. State of Decay is one of the most hardcore survival games. Period. Your begin with one character but they aren’t exactly the main protagonist. If your character dies, or any other character for that matter, they are permanently dead. You therefore have to rely on building up a community of characters that you can switch to in the event that one gets tired, sick, or even dies. To add onto this sense of dread, resource management is a key aspect in State of Decay. You will need to build up your base; manage food, medicine, ammo, and building materials; maintain survivor health; prevent or solve community issues; all while avoiding zombies.

You’re weapons break. Vehicles get destroyed. Stamina and health get permanently reduced after a certain amount of time. These are all key aspects in what really makes State of Decay stand out from your average zombie game and what made it one of my favorite Xbox 360 games.


In Year One Survival Edition, State of Decay gets an upgrade to visuals, achievements, and bundles in the previous downloadable content packs. The visuals are the most apparent. Don’t get me wrong, State of Decay never won any awards for visual fidelity and neither will Year One Survival Edition, but the textures and lighting are much improved. This is really evident at night. On the 360 version, it was damn near impossible to see anything at night.

The two downloadable content packs from the Xbox 360 are also bundled into the YOSE. Both do not differ too much from the main gameplay style, but instead add a unique spin to the formula. I would estimate each DLC adding at least 10 hours of gameplay. In Lifeline you begin as a military soldier tasked with maintaining a base and extracting key survivors. In between saving the survivors, zombies will sporadically attack the base forcing you to return and defend it.

In Breakdown you begin with an RV and are only accompanied by Lily, your radio guide. You must then find a new home, build up a community, and repair the RV to continue to the next Breakdown level where you begin from scratch again. I only made it to Breakdown level two in my time with this DLC but I was struggling to survive with very low resources, influence, stamina, and health. Although I’m not sure if this was circumstantial or an increase in difficulty.


Along with the improved visuals and add-on’s, YOSE adds a slew of minor additions and updates. There are 26 new achievements (10 for the main game and 8 for each DLC) making the total gamerscore 1500. Also added for the Xbox One version is the much expected Game-DVR feature. I thought it worth mentioning that this game has an option to turn off the Auto-Record feature in the menu (take notes developers!).

State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition is an improvement in every aspect of it’s Xbox 360 counterpart. The improved visuals, bundled DLC, and new achievements make this remaster a great value for any gamer. There are still a few minor graphical glitches, but the overall game is simply amazing. Zeds be damned!

+ Improved Visuals
+ New Achievements
+ Value with bundled DLC
+ Turn off Auto-Record
+ True Survival Game
+ Perma-Death
– Minor graphical issues

Score: 9/10 “Amazing”

What I Played: 20 hours total completing the Main Story, reaching level two in Breakdown, and saving five survivors in Lifeline while obtaining 35/72 achievements.

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