Zombies are becoming more popular than Oprah nowadays and Housemarque hoped to catch fire with their PSN exclusive title, Dead Nation.
Dead Nation is a top-down, twin stick shooter, where you play as the male or female character shooting your way through hordes of zombies. The world is in bad shape since the outbreak began over a year before the game starts.
Dead Nation looks excellent. From the insane amount of zombies that populate the scenes, to the explosions and lighting, this game looks crisp. The sense of dread is very well-established due to the sound effects and score. Now, the score isn’t something I would suggest buying on its own, but there were moments when I was a bit fearful of what was around the bend and I can attribute that to the sights and sounds.
The atmosphere created by the soundtrack is well-rounded, with believable noises in explosions, hard pounding rock as the hordes start pouring in, and even the surprisingly well-placed vending machines. These vending machines, as well as car alarms, work to both add an element of surprise for the player who is just spreading bullets all over the screen. These sounds also act as a beacon to summon nearby undead. They function as either a way to attract unwanted attention, or a well-timed distraction to use to your advantage.
Dead Nation also includes a leveling system. Though it’s not the most robust, it does add to the game. Players can choose to focus on powering up their explosive weapons or making sure their faithful rifle will do as much damage and fire as quickly as it can. This allows for a stronger connection to their character, as well as re-playability.
When it comes to upgrading your weapons or armor, the players who focus on looting will have the most success. Weapons can be upgraded with money, which can be found primarily in the trunks of cars. All of the armor parts are scattered in hidden stashes and boxes around the levels. Some of these stashes are hard to find, but the cars are simple enough to come across.
The gameplay of Dead Nation also seems to have been given a lot of attention. It
feels very balanced in both the power of the player and the variety in the undead. With zombies ranging from simple one-shot kill human husks, to Stretch Armstrong-like wolverines, to blubber ball tanks, you may find yourself in some difficult situations. The nice part is, with the some health packs dropped on occasion, and the depth of your arsenal, you never feel like surviving an onslaught is impossible. That leads to an experience that you will keep going back to.
Another appealing aspect of this game is the leaderboards system. Now, you can see how many zombies you have disposed of and how you match up against your friends and the online community as a whole. As the title “Dead Nation” suggests, you are a part of a nation in peril. The game brings that feeling to the forefront by tracking the kills of every player in every country. You can then see how each country is doing against the zombie outbreak. Of course there is a leaderboard as well, showing which countries are making the biggest dent in the zombie population.
Finally, you can take the game online and bust heads with a friend in co-op. So, what’s better than a cheap, deep, and competitive or cooperative experience? Not much. This is a game that is definitely worth a full price purchase. Also, if you shy away from horror games because you prefer not to get nightmares from your favorite hobby, don’t worry. This game has its moments, but it won’t keep you up at night... unless you can’t stop playing it.