Back in 2010, the Zombie craze was still raging in America. You couldn’t play a game, watch a movie or tv show or read a book without there being zombies in it. During this outbreak of the walking dead, developer Housemarque teamed up with Sony Computer Entertainment and released “Dead Nation” for the PlayStation 3 and later the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita. This top-down zombie shooter combined elements of the popular genre to put together a solid zombie adventure. Get hungry for brains in his Dead Nation review!
Dead Nation Plot:
The world burns as the human race has collapsed under a virus outbreak. Resources of food, water, and other essentials have started to dwindle as survivors struggle. Zombies attack in packs, with both slow and steady zombies and quick sprinting ones. Two survivors are left in an unknown city. Jack McReady and Scarlett Blake pick up a radio transmission which is the first sign of human life they’ve heard in a while. With the last of their supplies packed, they arm themselves with a few guns and set out to the police station in hopes the radio signal coming in clearer.
Fighting through zombies on the streets, the two make it to the police station but realize they need to get to higher ground for the signal to come in properly. Reaching the top of a tower, they hear the transmission from a man named Doctor Morton, a scientist working on a cure for the virus for a company named Egogate Pharmacy. As both Jack and Scarlett are unaffected by the virus, Doctor Morton pleads with them to come to his lab so he can get a sample of their DNA to complete the cure. He also informs them that he needs a tissue sample from the first human to contract the virus, aka patient zero whose body happens to be at a hospital nearby.
Jack and Scarlett agree to help Doctor Morton continuing to fight off hordes of the undead as they make their way to the hospital. They soon discover that the body of patient zero was buried in a graveyard close by. As the hunt for patient zero continues, they learn that his body was never buried but transported away from the graveyard by a train to the harbor and then again to an airport. The zombie attacks worsen as advanced zombies begin to attack Jack and Scarlett as they barely escape the hordes. They find patient zero and severe his head taking it with them as they escape in an abandoned helicopter at the airport.
They fly to Doctor Morton and his underground facility where it is safe, giving him the head and their samples of DNA. Doctor Morton betrays them and injects them with a serum that paralyzes them. Both wake up in large glass tubes filled with biological liquid and serum. Doctor Morton had betrayed them in hopes of turning them into superweapons for his pharmacy company. It’s revealed that both Jack and Scarlett kept cyanide capsules stored in their teeth as a last resort if the zombies got them. They decide to bite the capsule as they slowly turn into zombies before Doctor Morton. He loses control over them and their first kill is him.
Dead Nation Gameplay:
Dead Nation is a top-down shooter where you control the movement with one joystick and the aim of the weapon with the other. I haven’t played many top-down shooters, but I loved the way the controls worked, everything was smooth and I had no issues aiming during my Dead Nation review.
I teamed up with my wife during our Dead Nation review as we took control of both Jack and Scarlett and made our way through the city. Each level ends as you make your way to a safe zone that is fenced in with an equipment truck that will refill your ammo, upgrade your weapons, and buy armor. It’s a great system that sets you up for success and encourages you to kill and explore to obtain more money. You’ll have access to pistols, machine guns, flamethrowers, shotguns, and more.
There are all kinds of zombies, but they are all the typical zombie types you’d find in a video game. You have your slow and stupid zombies that can barely walk, you have the sprinters who will run at you, and there are lurkers that will hide in the shadows and wait for you to get near. My favorite to kill were the super fattys that exploded when you pumped them full of enough lead. We nicknamed them “Shannons” as an inside joke. Sometimes you’d get all of the types to attack at once and you’d have to focus on what ones were more important to take out first.
During our Dead Nation review we had sidearms, like grenades, mines, and Molotov cocktails that came in very handy when fighting hordes. Zombies can be distracted by noise, so if there was a car nearby you could set the alarm off and they’d attack it causing it to explode and kill them. It was little things like this that made the game fun to play, it wasn’t just holding down the trigger button, but planning your attack, knowing when to run and fight.
We were able to get through most of the levels one our first or second try but the final level was hard. We played it around ten times and each time we got a little further, knowing which zombies came out when and where to place our mines, grenades, etc. After some memorization and luck we were able to beat the level and complete our Dead Nation review.
The story is told through a graphic novel style presentation, illustrations are shown on the screen as the characters talk and tell the story. It’s not my favorite type of cut scene but it works for Dead Nation. A minor complaint I had and I know this is on purpose, but the game is so dark! Not in its story, but the actual environment. Sometimes it was hard to see where my character was and it was certainly hard to visually see all the zombies coming my way. When we died it was because we couldn’t see what we were doing. You can collect health packs that are hidden around the level but be warned, there’s a good chance you’ll laugh when you get them. Both characters will moan out in ecstasy when they heal themselves. It’s quite comical and we both laughed numerous times and started doing impressions of the characters.
I downloaded this game and beat it by myself in college. It was fun, but when my wife played it with me, it was ten times better. This is meant to be a co-op game and we enjoyed making our way through the hordes. I had to take the flamethrower away from my wife though as she set everything on the screen on fire, myself and her included. She was not thrilled when I banned it.
Dead Nation Review Score:
Dead Nation is unique in many ways with the comic book style cutscenes, twin-stick controls, and the topdown view. It’s shorter than most games and can be beaten within a weekend, but it’s a recommended experience. If you love couch co-ops, and zombies, you’ll love Dead Nation.
Dead Nation scores a 7.5 out of 10.
What would you write in your Dead Nation review? Have you played Dead Nation with a friend? Where’s it rank in your zombie games? Did you pick Jack or Scarlett to play with? Let me know your thoughts and memories, I’d love to read them!