‘State of Decay 2’ beginner’s guide: Essential tips you need to survive

Undead Labs’ State of Decay 2 might look like every other open-world zombie game at first glance, but where many of its peers focus on fast-paced and enormous battles against the undead, this title for Xbox One and PC is a deep and challenging survival game. Fail to pay attention to the needs of your ever-growing community and you’ll quickly find it in disarray, but if you focus on gathering the right materials and expanding your influence, you can master the apocalypse. Knowing your way around a gun and a baseball bat won’t hurt one bit, either. Here’s what you need to know when you start State of Decay 2.

Surviving against zombies

Upon starting up State of Decay 2 for the first time, you’ll be sent into a tutorial mission with a few survivors who must sneak and fight their way out of a zombie-infested compound. This mission will teach you the basics of melee combat, stealth, and firearms. After it’s complete, you’ll have the opportunity to establish a home base and begin recruiting other survivors for your group. Make sure you pay attention during this section and you’ll have a broad idea of what to do – and not do – when you see a zombie. Just in case you need a refresher, though, here is the gist:

If possible, kill with stealth

By holding down the B button on the Xbox One controller, you’ll crouch and move with much less noise. If you manage to sneak up behind a zombie and simultaneously hold down the RT and X buttons, you’ll instantly kill them with a knife to the head. This allows you to thin a group of zombies without alerting them all, and saves your melee weapons from unnecessary wear and tear.

Your gun is a last resort

state of decay 2 beginners guide sod2guide1

A well-placed headshot from a pistol can kill most zombies in State of Decay 2 in just one hit, but there are fairly few scenarios where you’re actually going to want to use one. Ammunition for firearms is quite limited, and there are several different types of weapons that each use their own caliber.

Guns are also loud. Killing one zombie with a gun will often result in two or three more discovering your position, resulting in a prolonged battle that could have been avoided if you had just used your melee weapon.

Hold your ground, but be realistic

When you do start swinging your bat, pipe, or sword, mind your character’s position relative to your enemies. You’ll automatically focus on a nearby enemy when you press the X button to start attacking, but won’t snap toward their position. If you aren’t within range, let them take a step or two before you swing. If you miss, you’ll leave them a chance to get in an attack of their own.

Once you’ve attracted some zombies’ attention, always prioritize attacking the undead trying to attack you from behind. If you’ve ever seen a zombie movie, you know they love to leap onto survivors’ backs and chomp on their neck, and this is certainly the case in State of Decay 2. Getting attacked this way can quickly take a large chunk of your health away, and it takes several seconds to shake a biter off.

Should you run low on supplies or find yourself completely overrun, your best course of action might be to run away. Provided that you have some stamina in your tank, you can often make it to a vehicle or safehouse before the zombies can surround you. If you are killed, that character is permanently dead, and your community will have to conduct missions to find a replacement. No weapon or supply cache is ever worth dying over, so don’t hesitate to run from a fight that, for whatever reason, you think you might lose.

Types of zombies

state of decay 2 beginners guide sod2guide2

The zombies in State of Decay 2 aren’t limited to the dumb, slow-moving undead you know from George Romero films and The Walking Dead. There are several different types of special creatures you’ll encounter in your first few hours with the game. Here is what to expect, and the strategies you should use for taking them down.

  • Screamers: Screamers appear as armless, heavily decayed zombies that will often be surrounded by several standard zombies. If they spot you, they’ll let out a high-pitched noise that will draw several more enemies to your position. Make them your first priority in any encounter, either with stealth or with a bullet if they happen to spot you.
  • Bloaters: Bloaters are larger zombies that, as their name suggests, are filled with deadly gas. Shooting one or getting too close will cause a bloater to explode, and the gas is capable of decimating your health, even if you hit them from inside a car. If you see a bloater, either keep your distance or take a shot when you’re several yards away.
  • Ferals: Ferals are among the most dangerous threats in the game. Fast-moving and capable of dealing out melee damage in a hurry, you’ll notice their four-legged run right away. While dangerous, you can easily kill one with a well-placed headshot. If a Feral hasn’t seen you yet, kill it right away to avoid wasting your supplies.
  • Juggernauts: Juggernauts are insanely powerful zombies that you’ll spot occasionally during your time exploring. Far larger and taller than any other enemy, the Juggernaut can pick you up and deal tremendous damage, but the scariest thing about them is their health: It takes several headshots to bring one down, so your best bet when you see one is usually to run. They’re also deceptively quick, so a car or an elevated structure should be your destination.

Think iPhones can’t get viruses? Our expert explains why it could happen

If your iPhone has been acting strangely, then you may be concerned about the possibility it is infected with a virus or some malware. We take a look at just how likely that is and explain why iOS is considered relatively safe.

Yes, Apple’s new iMacs look great, but they do have one glaring problem

With processors ranging up to the eight-core Core i9, the 2019 iMac update looks like a pretty solid upgrade to Apple's classic all-in-one. But hidden in the details of the product page, there's one outdated component Apple is holding onto.

Upcoming zombiefest Days Gone boasts 30-plus hours of story-driven content

Days Gone, the first PlayStation 4 title from Sony's Bend Studio, looks to offer a different type of zombie game. Here's everything we know about the forthcoming title, from the setting to its gameplay.

Dominate in the Dark Zone with our guide to leveling fast in The Division 2

Loot shooters like The Division 2 are all about the endgame for some players. To get the best gear and play the hardest content, you need to hit the level cap. Our Division 2 leveling guide will help you get there as quickly as possible.

From PUBG to Apex Legends, this is how battle royale happened

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in Twitch streaming and eSports.

How to sync and troubleshoot your PS4's DualShock 4 controllers

Sony's Bluetooth-enabled DualShock 4 controllers for PlayStation 4 are some of the best on the market, but connection issues aren't unheard of. Here's how to sync them to your console.
Product Review

The Division 2 brings the most fun we've ever had to Washington, D.C.

After 55 hours with The Division 2, it’s clear that Ubisoft has improved on the original in almost every way. The world is richly detailed, the story missions are wonderful, gunplay and enemy design are great, and the endgame content is…

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.

The Division 2 is another loot shooter with a dull story. Does it matter?

The Division 2 has a story to tell. It's not a good story. It's not told very well. But by-golly, The Division 2 is going to make you sit your ass down and listen whether you want to or not.

A new hope is lost as Disney dismisses rumors of a revival of Lucasfilm Games

According to job listings on the Disney website, the company has plans to revive Lucasfilm Games. This comes as a surprise following the shuttering of LucasArts in 2013 and could potentially mean more Star Wars games.

Last gen had some hits! Take a look at the best PS3 games of all time

Choosing the right PlayStation 3 game can be a conundrum, especially when there are nearly 1,500 titles to choose from. Thankfully, we've rounded up the best games to have ever made it to the platform.

Oculus shows off the Rift S, plans to phase out its original VR headset

Oculus plans to phase out its flagship Rift VR headset for its newly created Rift S. The Rift S made its debut this week at the 2019 Game Developers Conference and is expected to be released in spring 2019.

Hook up your Nintendo Switch with these deals on accessories right now on Amazon

The Nintendo Switch is a portable system with tons of accessories. The problem is, hooking it up doesn't come cheap. Every week, we look for the best deals on Nintendo Switch accessories on Amazon so you don't have to.

Epic Games is offering $100 million to game developers with no catch

Epic Games launched a new grant program called Epic MegaGrants. The program will dish out $100 million in funds to developers working in the 3D graphics community, even if they don't use Unreal Engine.
1 of 3