Genre: Shoot 'Em Up | Players: 1 or 2 (co-op) | Developer: Housemarque
Dead Nation is a top-down perspective twin-stick shooter like the classic Smash TV; if you don’t remember STV, ask your father and watch his eyes mist over. One stick controls character movement, while the other stick controls the direction of fire. It can be initially confusing, but once your brain gets in the zone it feels as intuitive as scratching your balls while simultaneously changing the TV channel.
You play as a male or female character, but it’s purely cosmetic, they have the same set of skills and firepower. You begin each of the ten levels at Point A and have to make it to Point B alive to advance the story. hat’s easier said than done, because the game is old-school hard. Pussies need not apply.
The more zombies you kill the more cash you acquire. Get a multitude of kills in a row without taking damage and you’ll be awarded with a multiplier that grants even more cash. Cash is used mid-level to purchase new weapons and upgrades.
It’s possible to use the environment to get kills, but blowing up cars also has the unwelcome side-effect of attracting more zombies to your location.
If you take the time to explore the environment you can find new armour that will aid you by increasing your agility and/or the number of hits you can take before you bleed all over the ground.
The gameplay is polished, and the visuals are really quite beautiful in a dark and dreary way; for a PSN game it’s impressive. However, to really enjoy Dead Nation you’ll need a friend; either online or locally. The co-op dynamic is well-balanced with a surprising amount of depth beneath the surface. Play alone and you’ll likely get bored very quickly, because gameplay is repetitive.
Note: An add-on pack was released entitled Road of Devastation, but I've not played it. I suspect it's more of the same, but can't say for sure. Use comments if you know any different.
PSN only. A physical release at a sweet budget price would've been welcome.
3 times wondering why Peter Fonda is on the cover? out of 5