E3 2010: Dead Nation Hands-on Impressions
Dead Nation is a game from the creators of Super Stardust HD that takes the top-down viewpoint of a bird’s eye view and brings you zombie mayhem that aims to rival any top-down zombie title on the PlayStation Network with a massive amount of zombies on the screen at once. Comparisons will inevitably be made between this title and Konami’s Zombie Apocalypse for PSN as they share a similar visual perspective and game-play style. Dead Nation takes advantage of a slightly more zoomed out view to give players a visual of large environments that will become full of zombies quickly. One stark difference between these two titles is that Dead Nation has, thus far, no online functionality announced for the co-operative multi-player game-play it supports, so if you are looking for a more local focus then this might be a top-down zombie shooter for you to keep your eye on.
Players hit the streets of Dead Nation with shotguns, machine guns, grenades, land mines, and more in addition to a close-range physical melee attack in a grueling assault on the seemingly never-ending hordes of zombies that swarm. Even in pre-alpha state the game had great visual clarity that included fairly detailed gore and zombie blood and guts flying everywhere as well as still-‘undead’ zombie torsos crawling after the player in a desperate last attempt to perform their sole function of killing. Dark-themed environments that sported abandoned vehicles, ragged fences served to give the overall atmosphere that you were the only non-infected human you were going to see in the game (excluding a co-op partner).
I was able to easily pick up and control the dual-analog controls immediately (which use the classic right trigger to shoot, left stick to move and right stick to aim). During the short and fun time I spent playing Dead Nation I discovered a few interesting takes on top-down zombie A.I. that kept the game-play from getting repetitive and stale. Players can shoot up cars with flashing lights inside them to set off the alarm which will often distract zombies and cause them to attack a car until it explodes, or they simply empty their clip into the vehicle if it has no alarm to produce a similar tactic. Before doing this though, it pays off to try and kill as many zombies as you can with your bullets and close-quarters attack so that you can loot the trunks of each vehicle for gold. Gold in this game will be spent to upgrade weapons and purchase new ones in shops between levels. All in all this title seems pretty interesting compared to the competition and, after trying it out first-hand, is something I now look forward to seeing more of.