Review – Deadnation

Deadnation has been announced for release on November 30th for the US and December 1st for Europe. We have ran it through its paces, and gave it our best shot. Does it live up to the hype, or is it just lamely walking dead? Read our review after the jump.

Housemarque games, the makers of Stardust HD, adds another quality game to their list. Deadnation is an addictive top down, dual stick shooter that can be played alone, or with others either online or side-by-side.

Sometimes Killing zombies is Better with Friends

If you are playing alone, you’ll either play as Jack McReady or Scarlett Blake. Both are highly skilled in the art of zombie killing, so you can’t go wrong with either choice. The story is told with graphic novel style cut scenes and voice actors (think inFamous), and there are three different sets of scenes depending on how you are playing. Jack has a set, Scarlett has a set, and the third set is for playing co-op mode which includes both characters in the cut scenes. The cut scenes look great and the voice acting was much better than anticipated.

The story centers around who you choose to play as (the story is the same regardless and it’s just a matter of who is in the scenes). You are in a city that has been infected and infested with hordes of zombies. You have a built in immunity to this virus, so it’s up to you to help find a cure, and a solution, to the on going zombification of the world. The story is well thought out and entertaining. No need to skip cut scenes here. They are worth the time to watch them.

The gameplay consists of you trying to get from one place to another, and killing anything that moves. As a general rule, if it moves, it’s a zombie. Shoot first, ask questions later. The game is played in a top-down view (also known as an isometric view). It uses both analog sticks, left moves and right aims, and shooting is done by pressing R1. The controls are simple and effective. As you acquire more weapons, the d-pad will allow you to switch primary weapons, as well as secondary throwable weapons.

As you move through each level, be on the lookout for boxes that contain cash and some that contain armor. The cash will be used at the weapon shop (see next paragraph) but the armor may save your life. There are different classes for the armor and each set has its own pros and cons. Strength, endurance, and agility are all determined by which armor pieces you are wearing, so mix and match to find the style that suits you best.

As you progress through the story, you’ll come across checkpoints with a weapon shop. This is where you can purchase new weapons, or upgrade ones you already own, and also mix and match the armor you have found. A fully upgraded SMG is a must in later missions, but a fully upgraded rifle should be your first goal. It’s just a semi-auto rifle, but fully upgraded it can do some serious damage to zombies. There are more and more weapons made available as you progress along, so always try to rack up as much cash as possible in each level. These other weapons are worth their weight in gold.

The zombies are really the stars of this show. At first, they are just your normal, everyday, run of the mill zombies. Just dead people walking around looking for their next meal. As you progress along, they become bigger, badder, and tougher to kill. They vary in size, shape, and speed. Apparently the government thought it would be a great idea to create some sort of exosuit with blades on the hands. Did they not realize that the people wearing the suit would become infected and make them even harder to kill? Really? Thank you so much! Who ever said technology is great never had to face a zombie in that thing.

The number of zombies you’ll have to face starts out relatively low, but eventually your entire screen will be filled with a moving mass of putrid bodies, and killing them is a chore, albeit a fun one. This is where the game can be really addictive. The game keeps track of your kill count and adds that number to the total for your entire country. There’s a global leaderboard pitting your country against 50+ other countries, and all of those kills add up. There’s also a stat for percentage of zombies cleared in your country and a race to see who hits 100% first (Lets Go U.S.A.!)

Gather them round the car, and then blow it up

The graphics for the game are top notch, and the levels are well designed. Lighting changes from level to level, but you will mostly be fighting at night. It is a dark game set in dark times. Be sure to explore each level as hidden boxes can be found anywhere. Just be ready when you open one, as you’ll probably have several zombies coming at you within seconds. Alleyways are great hiding spots, for both boxes AND zombies, so make sure you clip is full before opening that box. You never get a close-up of the zombies, but they are still well designed and look great. When you shoot them, look for limbs and heads to go flying. Dismemberment never looked so good.

The sound and music for the game is great. The music sets the pace and tone for the gameplay, and when you hear the tempo pick up, reload quickly and get ready to roll. The zombies have their own set of sounds, and each type of zombie’s sounds are different. This comes in handy later on, so try to remember the sounds as this might help you prepare to take out some tougher zombies.

Housemarque’s Deadnation goes above and beyond what anyone may have expected with a zombie killing game. It is far from simple, with its deep weapons and armor system, a storyline that keeps you intrigued, and even laughing at times, and an overall experience that is addictive and fun. PSN games don’t get any better than this.

This is a game that everyone should have in their PSN library, and at the low price of $14.99/€12.99/£9.99, there are no excuses.

Help your country clear out the zombie horde ASAP!