STAFF REVIEW of Dead Age (Xbox One)


Sunday, October 21, 2018.
by Kirsten Naughton

Dead Age Box art I think the very first zombie game I ever played was Left for Dead 2 on XBOX 360. I don't generally gravitate toward shooting games, whether they be zombies or humans. But in recent months I have been attempting to come outside of my comfort zone. As a reviewer, I have to review all sorts of games and I am constantly being taken out of familiar territory. One week I do a hidden object game, the next a tennis game, and this week, I'm doing Dead Age, a strategy based role-playing rogue-like zombie game. The idea of a zombie game really enticed me to try it. I'm not a die hard Walking Dead fan, but I do appreciate the idea of zombies.

The main story of Dead Age is that you're one of the last survivors of a huge zombie outbreak. Your job is to set up camp, befriend some other folks, with the aim to make sure the camp stays afloat and create a little community-like atmosphere among you and your fellow survivors. Among all of this, you are trying to find your lost sister. Throughout playing Dead Age, I feel like I missed quite a bit of the story because it was difficult to follow. You control the words on the screen in the cut-scenes but I find these go too fast. When you're trying to read caption after caption, I feel that most of the story gets lost as you try to process all the information given through the cut-scene. It was a bit disappointing because I love a good story in a video game.


Most of the gameplay is scavenging any vacant camps or cars, managing your inventory and by fighting off enemies that wander anywhere near your camp. One of the things that I feel is most important when scavenging is understanding that you may, or may not, get what you need while searching. This can impact your health, food, ammo, guns and medical supplies, which may impact the overall health of the camp, yourself and the other survivors. Another way you can be impacted is if you don't have enough supplies in a fight with a horde of enemies. You could potentially lose the fight or the survivors with you could be seriously injured. Dead Age is, in my opinion, more of a strategy game, because of the need to manage your inventory, fight smart and ensure your camp and your survivors are safe. I personally did not really enjoy Dead Age for a couple reasons, let me fill you in.

The overall character development in Dead Age didn't feel like much of a focus. It isn't a deal breaker for me, and I acknowledge that the developers may have made that choice. However, when I play any game, I look for either a decent story or good characters to follow along with. When I discovered that both were missing from Dead Age, as you can imagine, it was pretty upsetting. Most of the characters have very little dialogue and not much expression. Zombies are hunched over and make the typical zombie noise and there didn't seem to be much thought put into the battles, which is what you're going to be spending 95% of the time in.


Fighting hordes of enemies, such as zombies and wolves, is 95% of what you'll be doing during most of the gameplay. If I could compare Dead Age's gameplay to another game, it would be like playing the fight scenes in South Park: The Stick of Truth. You'll have one to four enemies to battle on one side, and you and a couple of your survivors on the other. There will be actions on the bottom below on your character's side (usually the left hand side), and you basically choose between using your gun and melee attack. Remember when mentioned conserving your supplies for fights? This applies for your guns especially. Ammo is difficult to come by, not impossible to find, but it's one of those things that you won't want to go on a shooting spree because you'll be out of ammo until your next scavenge. Melee attacks are generally with a knife and are something you're going to need to rely on far more than your gun. You won't always have a gun. But you will always (98%) have access to a knife of some form. Always remember, manage your inventory!


Another part of Dead Age that I wasn't a huge fan of was the layout of the main game menu. The layout was like most games, you can see your current quests, inventory and anything you may need to continue gameplay. I find that the layout is cluttered. While I said that anything you may need is on the main game menu, it was simply not easy to use. I feel that when I would be prompted to complete a task or a quest, I had several moments where I had no clue where to go.

Overall, Dead Age isn't my cup of tea. The only part of the game I found was decent was the fight scenes, as that had the most action. I feel like gamers who like strategy games will enjoy its premise though. The concept of Dead Age is fantastic, I just feel it fell a little flat. What I was expecting and what Dead Age provided was a large enough difference where I feel I won't play it again. That being said, I'd like to move on from this camp and see if I can find something else down the road.




Overall: 5.5 / 10
Gameplay: 5.0 / 10
Visuals: 5.0 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10

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