How many zombie apocalypse titles do you own? How many post-apocalyptic games have you played and didn't feel like you were immersed? How many times have you picked a zombie title just to get your "Walking Dead" fix and just said, "meh..." Well, Undead Labs got the two points that I mentioned in my title, down to an exact science. So many AAA developers narrate a story and you follow through objectives to push the narrative forward. Otherwise, game wise, your stalled out like a banged up Pizza Delivery vehicle. In every other AAA title, you're put in the place of a protagonist that is the center of the story and without you, the game can't move forward. State of Decay, doesn't emphasize you as the protagonist. You're just another survivor thrust into a world of chaos that is as merciless as any battlefield on Earth. The protagonist is not you, but the setting and the environment you're in. That's the miracle of State of Decay. You are surrounded and insulated, to some extent, in Trumball Valley or Danforth. The environment is constantly communicating with all your senses, all the time, without some disembodied voice having to tell you what to do next. Your companions and Lily (God Bless the voice actors that helped sell the companions) are giving advice, but the story and the environment move on with or without your input. The various NPCs you come across are all perfect examples of the type of people you're going to have to deal with when the power goes out, 9-1-1 becomes obsolete and basic services are all referred to in the past tense. Pastor Will, Sam, Marcus, Maya, Ed, Alan, Sgt. Tann, Kilo, Sasquatch, etc. all bring their own voice to the setting. They completely immerse you into a world that is no longer gray, but a seriously stark reality where darkness and daylight are as opposite as black and white. The whole scenario of having to pick up stakes and move to keep from bursting at the seams is so well crafted that it actually becomes less of a chore and more of an exciting prospect. Permanent Death. Now that's immersion. Trumball Valley and Danforth don't care whether you survive or fail, they'll still be there when you hit that reset button. Ferals, Juggernauts, Bloaters and Screamers. The apocalypse of any type (disease, war, famine, etc.) is already tough to do deal with, but add these monsters and now you're seriously challenged. Every survivor, including jerks like Alan Gunderson, become indispensable. Yet, give the environment enough time and you'll be scrambling to replace those indispensables because they were caught by one of these monsters. Anyway, this is my (love) letter of thanks to Undead Labs for giving me such a great, interactive piece of art that separates the hardcore gamer from the "filthy" casual. When I'm out in the boonies inspecting wells again this summer, I'll have the usual gang of suspects to keep me company. By the way, if you didn't know by now... I CANNOT WAIT! UNH!