by Paul Tassi via Forbes

Microsoft does not have all that many Xbox One (and now PC) exclusives out in 2018, but so far, two of its most high-profile ones would seem to be failing to impress critics.

Sea of Thieves current sits at a 66 and 69 on Opencritic and Metacritic respectively, which Opencritic notes is in the bottom 30% of all releases on its site, given that games are rarely given below a 6/10 in our current industry climate.

State of Decay 2 is…not faring much better. It’s currently at a 68 and 72 on Open and Meta, the bottom 37.5% of game’s reviewed, though with less reviews in on embargo day here. The game itself will be out May 22nd, and unlike the $60 Sea of Thieves, is only $30. But it is also included in Microosft’s Game Pass as part of the subscription, as all new Xbox One exclusives are (though so far that hasn’t been terribly appealing).


Like Sea of Thieves, perhaps State of Decay 2 will attract its own share of fans who don’t care at all what critics are saying. But, if you want to look at what critics are saying, here’s a sampling:

Metro (4/10):

The State of Decay concept still holds plenty of promise but this sequel is so broken that laughing at its bugs and glitches becomes its primary source of entertainment.

GamingBolt (6/10):

State of Decay 2 isn’t a bad game but it doubles down on too much of the first game’s failings. For newcomers, the repetitive combat and mission variety, glitches and lack of polish can be a turnoff but the base-building and survivor management manage to shine.

But some are more positive:

PC Gamer (8/10):

A solid survival game vastly improved by putting the focus on people, not zombies.

IGN (7.5/10):

State of Decay 2‘s zombie-infested maps are good places to scavenge, fight, and survive in. Combat is satisfyingly brutal and the special zombies inspire some real fear of permanent death, even though the Blood Plague turns out to be more of a sniffle. But the bugs are just as persistent as the zombies, and after a dozen or so hours the repetition of both eventually take their toll, making the appeal of replaying feel more limited than I’d expected for a sandbox RPG.


And finally, Polygon’s score-less review headline: “State of Decay 2 made me sad, but mostly bored.”

While State of Decay 2 was never meant to be some sort of AAA blockbuster, I’m sure everyone at Microsoft was hoping for a clear win here after mixed reactions to Sea of Thieves, but that just does not seem to be the case.

This is also a tough situation because A) Sony has been drowning in praise for the seemingly inevitable GOTY, God of War, for the past month, its crown jewel exclusive. B) The next biggest Xbox One exclusive that (supposedly) releases this year is Crackdown 3, which has had an exceptionally troubled production and has yet to look terribly good in any previews.

Microsoft understands this problem. It’s been very vocal about the fact that it knows it needs to invest more in its own studios and creating quality exclusives, but the problem is that is going to be a very long process if they’ve just started recently. The first step in that direction could be the upcoming Fable 4 created by the Forza Horizon team, but again, we’ll be lucky if we see that game by what, 2020-2021? So it seems like next gen is where Microsoft has the potetial to start turning this narrative around, even if I and others have been deeply satisfied with their recent hardware (Xbox One X) and program (Game Pass) offerings.

I will probably be skipping State of Decay 2 for now with so much else to play, but if you think it’s your bag, don’t let pesky critics stop you from giving it a shot.

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