I’m a sucker for a good romcom. As soon as the fateful meet cute happens, you’ll find me curled up with a blanket swooning over the blossoming romance. Bumping into someone while getting on the train or getting in an elevator might be a minor part of your day, but for a romcom protagonist, it ignites the love story they’ve been waiting for. They were ready to fall in love and probably hoped for a meet cute because they wanted a surprising story that they could tell everyone about. Like a good romcom, State of Decay 2 often has ways to generate unexpected stories that we’re secretly hoping will happen. Let’s call it a meat cute.
State of Decay 2 thrusts you into the mundaneity of a survival apocalypse. As Brendy (RPS in peace) noted years ago in his review, it’s little more than an ever-expanding to-do list. After years of updates little has changed, but I think that’s for the better. The tasks themselves might be dull – kill a horde, destroy a plague heart, clear an infestation – but the stories they generate often feel like your own little snippet of an action movie.
It might start with bumping into one zombie on a routine scavenging run, but as more shamble from the shadows, you find yourself fending off the affection of an entire horde. Before long, you’re using every weapon at your disposal to cut through your apocalyptic amours in a blaze of glory.
The blaze of glory is like the airport dash of a romcom: it’s almost always how these stories end, but the cliche doesn’t have to make it less enticing. When I sit down to watch a comforting romcom, part of me hopes for the airport dash. It’s a guaranteed way to make me sob, and there’s something cosy in that. I often find myself hoping for that blaze of glory too, though not to make me cry. It’s cathartic, and often feels like an impromptu cinematic setpiece that I can gush about to my mates.
State of Decay 2’s permadeath pulls me in even further, because it’s a constant reminder that this isn’t the story of just one person. It’s a whole community, and dying on a scavenging run could leave them in the lurch. That means another survivor going on a scavenging run which could lead to more apocalyptic campfire stories, and that’s what the game is all about. The objective list filled with chores might feel monotonous, but it gets you in the perfect head space for an unexpected meat cute that could change everything.