I haven’t minded that State of Decay has never had crossbows. Because every single other game has a bow, or crossbow, or hand crossbow. When Arthur got his bow in Red Dead Redemption 2, I groaned out loud. Oh god, another archery weapon. Really, Rockstar? To be honest, I always felt a little silly using the bow as Arthur. Like I was playing a videogame. So I don’t really need to get my archery fix in State of Decay 2. I know, I know, Daryl Dixon in Walking Dead. I get it. But one of the many many silly things about Walking Dead is that Daryl Dixon would be far more badass if he just grabbed an assault rifle like everybody else. At this point, toting a crossbow smacks of hipsterism. Like listening to vinyl.
But I guess I wouldn’t mind a crossbow in State of Decay 2. Which is something that will happen with tomorrow’s update. It’s adding a crossbow. Actually, eight crossbows. Eight seems excessive. Three I could understand. Maybe as many as five. But eight? The update also adds a bunch of other stuff you can read about here. It’s mostly just bits and bobs, but it’s a free update, and there’s nothing like more bits and bobs to pull me into another playthrough.
The more interesting announcement is that there are two sets of DLC in the works. One will be an updated version of Trumbull Valley, the setting from the original State of Decay. If you played the original State of Decay as much as I did, a Trumbull Valley map will be like coming home. But the DLC that really grabbed my attention — but apparently not the attention of Undead Labs’ copyeditor — is this:
…we’ve got a new difficulty setting coming in 2019. This will bring you a more challenging player experience, and allow you struggle through increase difficulty in new or existing communities.
Since I’m fluent in poorly edited text, I think I know what they’re getting at. It sounds like the Breakdown DLC for the first game, in which you played on increasingly harder difficulty settings until you failed, which is how any zombie story is supposed to end. Currently, the difficulty in State of Decay 2 is a built-in dynamic system. As you clear more of the map, it starts spawning more special zombies, and the remaining areas get more difficult to clear. It’s a good system, but it doesn’t push back very hard. On the contrary, it sort of hangs fire and lets you muck around at your own pace. Which is fine for some people. But what I really want in my zombie apocalypse games is a prohibitively difficult survival challenge with the looming inevitability of despair, starvation, failure, death, and the annihilation of humanity. Is that too much to ask?
The crossbow update is out tomorrow. The Trumbull Valley map and difficulty settings will be out next year.