The Average Gamer

Dead Nation Review (PSN)

Zombie killing always seems to come in and out of fashion, like flares and turtle necks. We’ve got Resident Evil running constantly in the background to keep everyone on their toes and now even the television networks are jumping in on the act with shows like The Walking Dead. So, to round it off in November 2010, Housemarque released their isometric 3D zombie-slaughtering PSN game – Dead Nation.

I’m pretty sure you can guess the storyline, but if not, here goes. You are a survivor of a virus that turns the population into zombies. As with any good zombie flick, you are miraculously immune to the virus. Oh, and you also know how to use lots of weapons. The story comes at you via stylish comic book graphics between levels, maybe a bit cliché but it suits the game perfectly.

There are only 10 levels of gameplay; most seem to be around 15 to 20 minutes long. While this might seem short, do remember this is a PSN game and there are the different difficulty levels. I’m still fighting along in normal mode, however even on this level I still die often enough. Since people seem to be going after Platinum trophies right now, it will come as good news that Dead Nation features one. You will need to complete the whole game a couple of times on different difficulty levels, as well as commit zombie genocide!

Isometric 3D did seem a strange choice in this day and age, a bit Diabloish. Once you start playing however, you’ll see it works very well. The environment is very well rendered and there is actually strategy that you can use. See, zombies love to go beat up anything making noise, so shoot a car with an alarm and watch them run to beat it up. Keep shooting it, and boom! there go the zombies.

The game itself is very easy to pick up and play. The controls are simple, left thumb stick to target, right to move. Weapons are selected with the left D-pad; the issue I find is that when in a tight corner being mauled to death I have a habit of selecting the wrong weapon. For some reason it always seems to be the launcher and I end up blowing myself to hell and back.

With regards to the weapons, there’s quite a selection from the stock rifle, to blade throwers and electroshock cannons. Also you can collect distraction items, like flares, grenades, mines and so on. These are very handy for clearing large areas of zombies. Personally, I tend to just use the rifle, SMG (for mass slaughter of weak zombies), grenades and occasionally the launcher.

I would strongly suggest buying all the improvements to the normal rifle first. How do you do that? Well while killing zombies you gain money and there are hidden boxes scattered around the levels. You can also open the trunks of cars to find more goodies.

This brings us nicely to armour. It’s important to look around for the hidden boxes, as this is where you’ll get the different types of armour from. Trust me; you will definitely need it to survive being overrun by zombies. I’ve been mainly trying to keep the Endurance, Strength and Agility attributes balanced, but your preferences may vary.

So where does that leave us? With a game that I keep coming back to, swearing at, and trying again. I’ve yet to try the co-op, or online but I can see how these would only enhance the game further. At $14.99 in the US and £9.99 in the UK, it’s definitely worth buying. Throw in the latest additions of voice chat and check point saving – what are you waiting for? Go get Dead Nation right now.


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