(Pocket-lint) - You can't move in a videogames shop these days without bumping into a zombie or twenty. Zombies are by far the biggest trend in gaming right now and there are plenty of games out there or on the horizon that feature hoards of the undead. And survival. And crafting. And, well, you get the picture.
Indeed, there are so many that the "z" word is rapidly becoming a swear when it comes to highlighting a new game's main theme. For some reason everybody seems to want to put a zombie in their game in order to attract fans and it is therefore hard to stand out from the pack.
State of Decay, however, was one of the first of this generation of zombie games when it came out for Xbox 360 and PC in 2013. And we think it's still one of the best. It contained all the best ideas that have since been washed, rinsed and repeated en masse, plus added a couple of its own, such as tower defence-style home protection missions, and the open world apocalyptic adventure continues to be played in our strongholds.
That's why we were thrilled to find out that a remastered and improved version was soon to come for the Xbox One (and PC), potentially reclaiming its crown in a miasma of lesser zombie titles. And we were invited to give a preview build around an hour's worth of play prior to its release on 28 April.
Like the original, State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition is a huge open world game with vehicles that can be driven, items and weapons that can be found and used, and survivors that can be rescued to bolster your community and therefore defences.
It also features the same "permadeath" feature that makes the original so interesting in that, once the character you are controlling dies, they stay dead. Forever. And there is no save to go back to. Instead, you take control of another character in your survivor group. But as you can level characters up while you play, that might not be so great as you could lose all the bonuses you've accumulated along the way. This gameplay feature ensures that you are more careful than you would be in most zombie titles.
Like games like Grand Theft Auto 5 and other open world equivalents, missions are scattered around the huge landscapes and you can zip around completing them. However, you'll be best to try doing things in the day time as the night is a lot more scary and difficult to progress in.
The new features for the remastered edition include a bump in graphical fidelity to 1080p and far greater draw distances, making the game look fit for the Xbox One. There is also improved lighting, textures and shadows and, quite simply, the game looks stunning for such a vast title.
All the downloadable content released over the last year or so will also be included in the Year-One version. And it is all also upgraded graphically.
That means the original State of Decay, Breakdown and Lifeline are all accessible from the menu screen, so your play area and mission structures are dramatically improved as each gives a new beefy location to explore.
There are also new vehicles you can drive, a new mission type where you have to secure supply crates from dangerous hoards of zombies, and 30 minutes of new music has been composed for this release.
Xbox One owners also get new achievements and the game DVR functionality of the console have been added to the title so you can record video.
In play, it's just as much fun as before but with the added bonus of looking a darn sight better. And although there are plenty of zombie game rivals out there, this offers arguably the best single-player experience.
In a way, thanks to the multitudes of non-player characters that populate a well fleshed-out world, it feels like a multiplayer game or MMORPG. And there is not much higher praise than that really.
It's one we cannot wait to hit the Xbox Live store or Steam - especially as it will only be £19.99 when it does.