Friday, March 14, 2014

Zombies... again? Yes, but Interactive!

Zombies! Yay!
As my last post hinted at, there's a new Zombie Game out for PS4: Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition, a revamped version of the PS3 game from 2010, including that game's DLC. Which makes it the Apocalypse Edition. Obviously.

1942 - in 1985
Finnish Developer Housemarque might be best known among the PS4 crowd for PS4 Launch-Title Resogun, an apparently very addictive game I completely failed to understand. I played Resogun once, kept throwing the to-be-rescued humans to their death, and moved on to something else. Maybe it's because I am old enough to have actually played Space Invaders and 1942 at the Italian Arcades I spent most of my time in during our family holidays, but I don't see the novelty.
This was the beginning...

It's possible Resogun might grow on me, but it's just as possible I had already outgrown it.

Anyway, Dead Nation is a completely different animal - because: Zombies! God, I am tired of Zombies. I had had my fill shortly before all the hype began back in... 2002 or something. I will even come right out and say I don't like the Walking Dead TV series. Sure, when there's zombies it's fun, but all that soap-opera drama? No way, Jose!

Dead Nation, however is fun. It's one of those "isometric camera" games, which is not quite top-down, but more of an "elevated, yet slightly drunk, observer that occasionally hangs his head and nods off" camera. And while everything that happens on screen is a bit smallish, it looks and works quite well.
You move with one stick, you aim with the other. You shoot, throw grenades and flares and stuff, open boxes and trunks of cars for money to buy stuff - including that throwable stuff, but mostly weapons and upgrades. Oh, and you kill a lot of zombies. With guns, grenades, beating their brains in or using the environment. Shoot a car, it will explode. Shoot a car with a car alarm, and it will first attracts zombies, then explode. And since the main goal - besides killing zombies and surviving - is to get as many points as possible for life-changing bragging rights, you'll soon start to try and set-up combos, whether lining zombies up for a "charged, and thus capable of multiple head-shots" Rifle shot, or luring a pack of zombies into a car-alarm bomb. Of course, there's a risk to that, as every time you take damage, it will lower your Combo-Counter.

And so quickly do you have the recipe for an addictive experience. Add in Leaderboards, A Friend-Challenge Menu, Two-Player Online and Offline Co-Op, several game modes and difficulties, a good variety of weapons and armor pieces, sterling graphics and lots of zombie-killing-fun (that`s a lot off add-ins), and you already have an entertaining, albeit somewhat repetitive, way to kill some time, alone or with a buddy.

But, hark. There's more.
Watching other people play videogames has, apparently, become a legitimate pastime some time ago - when I wasn`t looking. And I don't mean joining a buddy on the couch to give completely obvious and excruciatingly annoying commentary to his gameplay, hoping against hope that you will annoy him enough to let you play. No, for the pathological online, there's whole gaming streaming services, like It's a novel concept for me, and I don't claim to understand - or see the appeal. But lots of people do. Enough for a gaming streaming service to exist, at least.
Streaming games is a concept that both next-gen consoles readily embraced. And the PS Companion App even updated to feature a browser for PS4 games being streamed right at any moment.

But Dead Nation: AE pushes that concept a bit further. If you stream your gameplay live on Twitch, playing the "Broadcast +" game mode, your viewers, via twitch chat, can actively alter your game. There are over 30 different "votable" effects on your gameplay, and viewers get a choice of two at a time, one positive, one negative.

Of course, with all the jerks you inevitably encounter on the world-wide-web, getting something positive is rather... rare, I would say. Then again, the viewers that voted for horrible things to happen to you will make a named appearance as a zombie in the game soon thereafter, and if there ever was a perfect opportunity for a flamethrower Zom-B-Q... Oh, didn't I mention that? Yes. There`s a flamethrower :)

Now, if all that still didn't get you hot and bothered, that's cool. But since it's free with PS+, and as PS4 owners pretty much all have PS+ to play online, well, what would be the harm in downloading and trying it? Look, I even made a video of the first mission, just for you:

For all your PS4 or Xbox One needs, especially the European needs, head over to Amazon UK - best deals in Europe (mostly). For TV or Movie Streaming needs, as well. Yes, I do buy there myself. Exclusively. Unless I find a better deal, elsewhere...

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