You may remember that not to long ago we detailed how ‘Dead Nation’ would be coming to PS Vita, well now it’s here and one of the PS3’s biggest indie titles is now available on the go. Before we get into the differences you’ll find with the handheld version we’ll recap the experience as a whole. #ZombieTime
Dead Nation is basically a top-down shooter (think Age of Zombies) with less of an arcade drive and more of a focus on character and weapon development and because there isn’t a cameo from Barry Steakfries you’d think the Zombie apocalypse would be all about doom, gloom and a bitter fight for survival (oh wait, memo says that’s what zombie apocalypses are!). Dead Nation succeeds because it’s gritty, dark and places all the focus on tearing through waves and waves of the undead horde; which if we’re honest, if the apocalypse actually occurred would probably be what we all would attempt to do (With varying levels of success).
That’s enough Zombie hypothesis’ for one review, Dead Nation’s top down view might not have the visual scare power of a Resident Evil but it does portray panic much better. In a first person view you can only ever see what’s in front of you; there are quite a few times in Dead Nation you’ll find yourself going “Holy Guacamole” as your surrounded from every angle by groups of the undead and you’ve got 2 options weedle your way out or blast your out, there’s no other option.
Blasting zombies is fun and in the grand scheme of things relatively easy so how does game retain a level of difficulty and intrigue. There’s two main reasons and firstly it’s the enemy variants; you’d think zombies are rather one dimensional (and if that was the case Dead Nation would be boring), but there’s special zombie types including runners and bomb zombies who have different strengths that need different weapons to dispatch them. That itself isn’t to different other zombie games out there but Dead Nation stands out because even the most basic enemies have slight variations, weight and speed that mean a group zombies charging your way might need to be picked off in a certain way.
Dead Nation has a campaign (We won’t touch that, you can discover it yourselves); but what makes the game stand out is its ability to manipulate the theme. There are score multipliers, currency for upgrades, online leader-boards and multiple forms of multi-player; and they all run into the game so seamlessly keeping the game as a whole running like clockwork. Dead Nation will not go down in the annals of time as a legendary game that defines a generation but by lord your going to lose hours and hours battling through the campaign and survival modes trying to top your own score.
Time for the Vita effect; two main gripes which offset one huge positive. The positive (Let’s start good) is that Dead Nation is now available on the go, you can bring swift justice on the train or the tube without a worry in the world. This is such a positive (not just a boring port) because the gameplay suits ‘short bursts’ and nothing will get you through rush hour like a bazooka, grenade and a group of zombies. The gripes are to do with Vita hardware influencing the gameplay, not the gameplay itself; firstly the screen doesn’t display the darker texts ans shades of the game too well. This may be specific to the OLED screen we’re playing on and might look a lot better on the LCD screen that’s coming with the PS Vita 2.0; however things like the torch light don’t look very crisp and there’s more than a few times that environments seemingly blend with the zombies and then ‘BOOM’ your getting bitten. Second gripe, is as normal the Vita’s nub sticks aren’t quite as responsive as a dualshock’s analogue! That’s a fact of life and if you’ve played the PS3 version you’ll feel like your sticking and that your aiming is really loose.
Dead Nation as a whole is another excellent entry to the Vita’s Indie library, it does suck that the Road To Devastation DLC isn’t included for free but none the less, If you want to kill zombies and lots of them…. then Dead Nation is the game for you!