State of Decay 2 guide: five tips to hold back the zeds

Vehicles, guns, and sacrificial friends - the essentials for any apocalyptic survivalist

State of Decay 2 is a hard taskmaster. Undead Labs’ survival sequel lulls you into a false sense of security, holding back the zombie horde for you to gather your materials and upgrade your base of operations, only to strike when you least expect it, killing members of community permanently and decimating your home.

None of that happened to us, of course, but we are here to make sure you can keep the horde of undead at bay and that your excursion to the infested locales of Cascade Hills, Meagher Valley, or Drucker County is as smooth and as pleasant as possible – despite the whole apocalypse thing, naturally.

Ok, we’ll come clean – cleaner than a zed, at least – we did make plenty of mistakes during our time with the game. You can find out more about that our  State of Decay 2 review and performance verdict, and read about our adventures in the game’s multiplayer mode. But for now, to help you learn from our mistakes, here’s are our top State of Decay 2 tips.

We’ll be with you every step of the way. And we promise that, even we get overrun in the process and spot an opportunity to use you as bait in order to ensure our own escape, that we won’t do so. Honest…

Never travel alone

A problem shared is a problem halved; it’s an aphorism that is just as relevant in a stable society as it is one devastated by the undead. Always make sure you take a companion with you: they’ll have your back in combat to better prevent the horde from overwhelming you and they allow you to carry more. Just switch to them easily by talking to them and you have a fresh new inventory to fill.

The brave souls that make up your community can suffer from injury and fatigue if you don’t rotate them regularly. If you do not rest them sufficiently or medicate them in your base’s infirmary, you might find your companions are not fit to support you on the outside. If that’s the case, take your chances alone rather than risk the permanent death of a treasured colleague. Equally, consider responding to distress calls from other Enclaves of humans: often they’ll be keen to join you.

Take the right survivor with you

Each member of your burgeoning community will be very different. You could well have a military man or woman, armed to the teeth with rare guns sharing a bunk with a keen, green-fingered gardener or medic. Each will have different skills and stats, so have in mind what you need before you head out on your expedition.

If you’ll be tackling an infestation, you’ll have at least one screamer to think about. These devilish sods yell as loudly as they can to all zombies in the proximity that it’s dinner time, so you’re going to need somebody with the weaponry to take them out first, silently. Ideally, in this situation, you can call on a colleague with high shooting stats and a suppressor-adorned rifle. Equally, if you’re just going for supplies, take along someone with a capacious backpack and decent cardio stats.

Use vehicles smartly

Using a vehicle is always fraught with risk, but they can be very useful. Not only can they effectively take you further when exploring the map, but the boot allows you extra space with which to store materials. That way your adventures outside your base can be more lucrative.

However, be aware that engines are loud and will attract the shuffling blighters to your location. Things get even more dangerous at night if you flick on your headlights. Prepare yourself by storing an extra jerrycan of fuel in the boot to prevent yourself from getting stranded – something we totally didn’t do.

Don’t be afraid to call for help

No, we don’t mean call us. We’re busy. But, if you find yourself short of supplies or are just struggling to cope against an unstoppable stream of zeds, you have in-game tools that can help you out.

If you’ve been scavenging desperately, still can’t find any damn medicine, and you have a survivor dying of blood plague, call for help using your radio. Once you select the material you desire, other humans will locate them for you and ping them on your map. Also, if you respond to distress calls, the erstwhile victim will often offer you the supplies of your choice.

Also, you can use the Dark Souls-like summon mechanic to draft other players into your game. And, if you’re feeling strong and generous, you can offer your own services to those in need, too.

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Trade with Enclaves for rare gear

Enclaves are other groups trying to establish themselves in State of Decay 2’s post-apocalyptic world and they often have rare gear to sell. Before you go and meet these mysterious traders, make sure you have all of your valuable loot ready in your inventory and take a companion or a car for the extra storage in case you indulge in a spending spree.

These traders often have weapons and items that you cannot find anywhere else, so make use of them. Also, know that these traders are often around for a limited time, but don’t risk your fellow community members if they are not healthy or awake enough to travel with you.

And there you have it, our top State of Decay 2 tips for survival against the zombie horde. Best of luck out there, and try not to get your guts torn out by the undead, ok?

Can you run it? Check your PC against the State of Decay 2 system requirements 2021 on PCGameBenchmark.