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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Deadzone Review

Surviving a zombie apocalypse is difficult, especially with other people hunting you down for your hard earned loot. The world becomes a hostile place after society has left it, with everyone scattering to arm themselves and nobody trusting others. You have to have careful aim to pick off those pesky undead, you need to be resourceful and be able to scavenge out of god-forsaken places, and you will need stealth to eliminate potential threats and steal their supplies.

Deadzone, by ZackZak, is a game which will put you into tense standoffs with other players, looting runs, and zombie killing sprees. Whether you like stealthy assassinating other players or gunning down massive zombie hordes with your friends, there is something in Deadzone which will entertain you for hours on end.

Improving on other big zombie survival games, mostly Apocalypse Rising, Deadzone actually contains a legit weapons system. That's right, not more recoil-less guns that feel like BB-guns. Deadzone's weapons all feature an "aim down sights" system and have significant recoil to them. The guns in the game make you feel powerful, even the simplest pistols in the game have a significant punch to them and feel really nice.

Another feature which the game boasts about is the global inventory system. This system allows you to transfer your goods which you have looted to what is essentially a bank. When you inevitably die, your regular inventory is lost, however, your items stored in the global inventory are still safe, allowing you to get a head start on your next adventure. The system adds more of a progression curve to the game; death should not restart your whole game.

The map design is great! The game features an open world map with many towns, cities, and roads. Differing from the map design of Apocalypse Rising, the map in Deadzone ACTUALLY HAS ELEVATION. Surprising right? ZackZak's map looks nice, plays nicely, and most of all, lags less!

Although I must say, even though the animation system is pretty good, ZackZak makes some pretty terrible models. Guns consist of around 10 parts with some improper ratios and generally look terrible. The buildings are also lack luster, often just a rectangle and a triangle put together hastily.

The polish of the progression system is not quite where I want it to be. the safe-zone and global inventory can be accessed from anywhere, and only require a short wait of 10 seconds. In an intense standoff? Warp to safe-zone. Attacked by hordes of zombies? Get in building, warp to safe-zone. The warping non-sense has to go, instead, it needs to be restricted to an area of the map, making cheating by warping impossible.

Other areas also need a little bit of polishing. The camera currently allows you to zoom out really far, allowing you to peek around corners and see really far away. This makes stealth gameplay hard as other players will spot you easily. The walking sounds also need some work. Walking on metal sounds like my feet were turned into jackhammers and the ground is splitting underneath me.

The core gameplay compensates for the lack of polish though. Because, at the end of the day, killing someone with a powerful gun feels good, too good. And I'm sure ZackZak will continue to polish the game more and more, after all, his updates did have to make me change parts of this review (map and camera) to reflect the current features.


The Bottom Line: 
Great zombie survival game with good gun-play. But it does need more polish to reach maximum potential.