Welcome to Dead Nation, a gruesome and addictive twin stick shooter from the developers of Super Stardust HD. During the last couple of years several zombie shooters have been released, and more or less have oversaturated the market depending on your tastes. Does Dead Nation have the legs to stand up on its own? Or is it an infectious blight on the PlayStation Store?
Dead Nation will no doubt be one of the most addictive and well polished PSN titles you will play all year. Dead Nation takes place in a deserted city where everyone has seemingly been turned into flesh eating zombies. The main character, a lone survivor (Not so alone if you tackle the two-player co-op) miraculously remains immune to the virus that has spread across the planet. The story which centers on your desire to survive is both cliché and well presented. Dead Nation features gritty, yet beautifully drawn inFAMOUS-esue cut-scenes that are used to progress the story. Combine that with some great voice acting and you have a story that is far more intriguing than it should be.
Those that have played Super Stardust or Geometry Wars will be able to step right into Dead Nation. The left stick controls player movement while the right stick controls aiming. Any player will be able to step right in and begin blowing chunks out of the infected. Speaking of this, Dead Nation features some of the best looking dismemberment by any arcade game. Zombies insist on eating your flesh and some require an agile touch in order to be dealt with. Dead Nation has a fantastic amount of enemy variety, which is key to making a deep experience. Players can expect slow and cumbersome enemy types all the way to extremely fast and agile enemies. In fact, Dead Nation does a great job of including every type of enemy you can think of.
Dead Nation is an extremely moody game, and features some of the best lighting and graphics in an arcade title. Despite the deep and rich atmosphere, Dead Nation also manages to have frequent breaks of humor, which helps the game from having an overbearing amount of depressing tone. If all these other elements weren’t enough, Dead Nation is also expertly paced. Enemies, pop out, hide and swarm you in the most inconvient moments, helping to keep you immersed at all times. So many times developers fail in one area or another, however even the sound design is phenomenal. The ambient noise that plays in the background, combined with the enemy chatter, sound effects, and music help to create another layer of immersion that’s lacking from some retail titles.
Dead Nation also features both offline and online 2-player cooperative play. It was hard to gauge if there was any latency problems since not many people were online playing. Perhaps my favorite feature is the way Dead Nation handles their leaderboards. Not only does it do a remarkable job of tracking stats, but it also counts toward your country’s stats. The more zombies you kill, the quicker you can clear the infection from your country. Not only does this leaderboard encourage competition between players, but it also facilitates competition between countries. It sparks a unique sense of competition that I haven’t experienced within an arcade title in quite some time.
Dead Nation is an easy recommendation, in fact, the minute it releases on November 30th I encourage you to purchase it. It’s an extremely polished, addictive, and highly atmospheric title that no one should miss out on.