We recently got our hands on a preview build of Dead Nation. I am sure if you are following us on twitter, you have seen me yap about this game for a while. I even dropped you guys some exclusive video before I put it on the site. So instead of doing a boring article about how the game is so awesome it is almost too awesome… Ben, Eric, and I decided to do a roundtable discussion, King Arthur style. If you have any questions be sure to ask them in the comments as we will all be around to answer them
Clowns + zombies = nightmares
Chris: So I guess I will start it with this question: When you guys first started playing, what stood out the most?
Ben: Well, I suppose that would be the atmosphere. The game really felt threatening. I’ve been playing the game single player, and the fact that I was the only human running around a zombie infested world was extremely cool.
Eric: I didn’t skip the opening credits or cinematic. It definitely pulls you in as soon as you start it up. So yeah, atmospheric to the max.
Chris: The previous beta didn’t have any of that intro stuff, it really caught me off guard. Top quality stuff right there.
Ben: Yeah, the cut scenes were really well done here.
Chris: Another thing that caught me by surprise was how scary the game can be at times. I have pretty much just been playing at night, so I am on edge at times.
Eric: Yeah, I’ve been playing with the lights out, too, something I haven’t done in a bit.
Ben: It is ludicrously tense.
Eric: I found some comparison to Doom 3 in the way that it creates tension and strikes fear into the gamer. Both games also use a flashlight as the main means of illuminating the world. It’s not a new trick as far as the horror genre goes: what you can’t see/hear is scarier than what you can see. It more like what you don’t know can kill you.
Ben: Indeed. The game certainly succeeds in making you nervous going around every corner.
Eric: It’s crazy because you’ll hear one of the fat zombies waddling towards you but it’ll take you a minute to find where he’s coming from. In that sense the game is really sharp. The cues that set the zombies in motion are spot on.
Chris: I like those one type of zombie that cling to the walls and won’t attack until you are right by them. If you don’t like a jump scare, beware of those.
Eric: Yeah, they’re creepy. I remember playing Serious Sam and getting nervous every time I walked into a new room. Simply because I knew that a barrage of enemies was going to come at me as soon as I triggered them. In Dead Nation, there aren’t really rooms… which means you’re on edge all the fucking time.
Ben: Well, the difference between Dead Nation and Serious Sam was that you always knew that you had the tools to do the job in Serious Sam, but in Dead Nation, you can never be completely sure of what the game is going to throw at you.
Eric: Which brings us to the Weapon Shops. The game is difficult for sure, but the checkpoint system breaks it up into manageable parts.
Ben: Agreed, the check-pointing made the game feel challenging, but I was always secure in the knowledge that the next checkpoint was always around the corner.
Chris: How did you guys go about upgrading weapons. Did you fully max out the rifle and then the others?
Ben: Well, I upgraded the first gun entirely and then, moved on to the others.
Eric: Yeah, I maxed the rifle.
Ben: But I sort of wish that I hadn’t.
Eric: It’s got infinite ammo and the power shot shoots through multiple zombies in a line. I really like the power shot, by the way.
Chris: Yea the first time playing i didn’t know about the power shot. That really helps you out when taking on bigger zombies.
Ben: The power shot was great, but the rate of fire threw me off at times.
Eric: I think it’s done pretty well. There’s a sharp ‘powerup’ sound effect that chimes as soon as the shot is ready to go off.
Chris: The way the game adds a new weapon to the mix each level is nice. When I got to the 4th level I didn’t have enough for the blade weapon, so I risked it and just went right into the level without upgrading anything. Luckily but the time I got to the next checkpoint I had enough for it.
Eric: I found the flare to be the most useful item.
Ben: Yeah, the projectiles were incredibly useful.
Eric: Grenades are good, too, of course, but I didn’t even bother with mines.
Ben: I didn’t either, they seemed unnecessary.
Chris: Molotov cocktails are a good way to buy some time.
Eric: Oh yeah?
Chris: Since it makes a line of fine in front of you, you can throw one and run back. All the zombies then catch on fire as they run at you.
Eric: It’s cool that you can dash through firewalls. I found the flame weapons very dangerous.
Ben: Now that you’ve mentioned it, what do you think about the dash?
Eric: The dash is similar to the boost in Stardust, but I didn’t find myself using it as often. The cool-down seems a bit long.
Ben: Agreed, the cool-down was a bit lengthy. At first, I found myself using it a lot, but it ended up not being as useful as I’d hoped.
Chris: I really only use it to go through fire.
Eric: I’d imagine so, but I didn’t really care enough about it to experiment. So the game adds new weapons and new zombies to the mix each level… Are there any bosses?
Chris: Having only played to level 5, I sure hope there are, but we will have to wait and see.
Eric: And are there any more survivors? These are legitimate questions, as I haven’t gotten past level 5 yet.
Chris: Well if you beat level 4, you are contacted by a guy. That is why you trek to the hospital in level 5.
Eric: Ah, there you go. At first I didn’t think much of the game. You and Torgo were pretty hyped about it, Chris. I just saw it as a much slower Burn, Zombie, Burn or Zombie Apocalypse. But when I started playing it the other day, I ended up playing until 5AM, with nothing but a candle to light the room.
Ben: Wow, very impressive.
Eric: It’s certainly a different game than what we’ve seen on the PSN thus far. There’s a multiplier, sure, and that may make it look arcadey, but upkeeping that multiplier is a lot different than any other game I’ve played. You’re not so much pushing to boost the number as you are trying to stay alive and untouched in order to maintain it.
Ben: Right, it does things differently in a cool way.
Chris: Did you guy blow through the levels or spend time searching every corner. I noticed I was like 15min over the par times most of the time.
Ben: I really took my time. I spend upwards of an hour on level 2, If I remember correctly.
Chris: Wow. /takfujii
Eric: Oh wow. I explored to a point.
Ben: I loved exploring every little corner of the game. I just felt that there was so much to discover. This game is not going to be quick if you’re even a little bit OCD.
Chris: I was OCD with hitting car trunks.
Ben: Yeah, those car trunks… I even blew up every car.
Eric: Do the trunks count toward your loot percentage at the end of each level?
Ben: They do give you money.
Chris: Yea I believe so.
Chris: Out of the first 5 levels which is your favorite?
Ben: That’s really tricky…
Eric: I like the park.
Ben: I spent the most time running around level 2 (and that in fact stopped me from finishing level 3, as I didn’t have enough time in the evening to keep going). So, I suppose Level 2!
Chris: Yea level 3 stands out for me, the whole carnival thing is creepy as hell. If you hate clowns, you will not like that part.
Eric: There were so many different parts to the park that it was fresh going throughout the whole level.
Ben: From what I played of Level 3, that level seemed like a real stand out.
Eric: The part where you’re walking around an actual park, with trees and shit, looked gorgeous.
Chris: Yea the shadows that the flashlight makes are awesome.
Eric: Which is another thing I was hesitant about. The camera is pretty far away from your character.
Ben: It really needs to be, with the sheer amount of zombies that come at you.
Eric: Yeah, and it moves accordingly if you’re being blocked by some obstruction. All in all it’s a top notch game.
Ben: Agreed, the game really is excellent from what I’ve played so far.
Eric: There are a bunch of little things that I like. For example, when you reload your gun, you have to point it towards the ground, making the flashlight point at the ground as well. Making the darkness surrounding your character grow ever closer to consuming you.
Ben: Makes you afraid to reload.
Chris: Well I am going to play some more. Eric, let’s venture into the hospital.
As I said above, if you have any questions about the game leave them in the comments. And just to answer this one now, No there is no release date yet. I hope you enjoyed this!