Within the first ten minutes of gameplay, it was easy to judge the re-mastered version for Xbox One. The graphics are not much to look at, the frame rate struggles in more taxing situations, and it plays like a cut-rate GTA game. That being said, putting the additional hours in gave me a chance to discover some really great ideas executed that I haven’t seen in other zombie game titles before. It comes off somewhat cartoonish and a little cheap at first, but quickly gives way to its own refreshing take on an ever growing zombie gaming genre that even gives a nod to zombie pop culture creations such as Walking Dead and Zombie Land. Before I get into what I appreciated from the game, I’ll add that I’m not here to give a full review on the copy of this title but to highlight some good reasons to give the game a chance and see for yourself if you haven’t already done so.
- Safe House/Outpost Management- Harbor in survivors that can keep your defenses up provided you can deliver the goods. On a daily basis your people will use a portion of your collected materials for wall repairs, you can upgrade sections in your camp, and you can stockpile your loot and weapons. It reminds me of Fallout 4’s settlement management on a light scale.
- Influence- the zombie wasteland trek becomes more rewarding as you have more survivors tag along. I’ve always enjoyed friendly AI to assist in the endeavors I experience in a game and your crew can certainly hold their own in SOD. It’s surprising to see your team even steal kills once in a while. Influence is an important attribute that will take time to level up as you play along. The more influence, the more followers work with you.
- “Permadeath”-You’re going to want more of these mentioned followers once you realize you’re not restarting from some checkpoint or restarting a mission after being ripped apart by the glowing eyed horde of zombies you stumbled upon. Now it’s up to the unsuspecting asshole that thought he was sleeping all day back at your cozy camp. Not only do you lose survivors permanently and switch off to whom you have left, you’ll have to go back to your corpse to pick up what you dropped and start again.
My take on this game is better than what it was at the initial game start. Most games I’ve played I’ll get a good idea how shitty it is by the first mission or introduction into it. Although, it didn’t take long to find the redeeming points to resurrect my outlook on SOD. I’ll say that for a late release Xbox 360 title and reboot to the next gen console, this would be a great game to try for those Walking Dead types out there. The consistent need for supply runs that become your daily grind of survival plays out like the show does in a simpler vision. When I’m watching an episode I know I’ve thought about how great a “run” would be to do in a game. Getting a chance to make your own campaign for supplies with a crew and managing a fortification within a zombie setting is a damn good time. It doesn’t need to be a AAA title to appreciate what’s been created here. While certain elements are lacking, this could be revitalized in the second installment we’ll see in 2017. I for one will be excited to see how it’s improved and the pre-release footage makes it look promising already. Let’s just hope it retains those elements from the first game that I think gives a strong backbone to an emerging zombie survival franchise.