Review: Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition (PS4)

Dead Nation INFO
DN Story
Dead Nation was originally released on the PS3 back in 2010, becoming a household name when it was offered as a free download after the infamous PSN outage in early 2011. The game follows the story of a world who’s population has turned into zombies due to a virus outbreak. The Protagonists Jack McReady and Scarlett Blake are the only ones that able to leave their shelter, and they do so for supplies, as they’re the only ones who are immune to the current strain of the virus.

DN Presentation
Dead Nation was a great looking game on PS3. It’s quite a dark game so it relied upon it’s beautiful lighting effects and the stunning design of zombies. Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition on PS4 is a much more polished game. The textures are instantly more noticeable as they are clearer and  sharper. The smoke and fog are a lot more realistic and the lightning effects are much more pronounced.

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The frame rate is something that was never really an issue on PS3 and it remains this way on the PS4. As expected, The game definitely holds up well on PS4, even when the screen is literally full with completely different kinds of zombies. This is easily the most impressive thing about Dead Nation. You could have 80 regular zombies, 5 runners and 3 bosses on screen all at the same time. It’s utter chaos and visually stunning. I wish I had more time to stop and look at the amazing artwork of this game.

DN Gameplay
Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition is basically the same game as it was on PS3. It is a twin stick zombie shooter in which the core story mode comprises of 10 levels which are broken up into different sections. You’re able to purchase new weapons and explosives as well as upgrade them based on how you see fit.

The controls feel much tighter with the Dual Shock 4. Dead Nation is known for it’s extremely simple controls which you have to rely on in order to get out of extremely tight situations. I felt that the new analog sticks really helped to get the precision needed to nail every last zombie.

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A new quick select has been added and allows you to equip a weapon to each of the face buttons in order to quickly swap to a weapon of your choice. This was an issue that I had with the original game. Swapping between weapons using the D-Pad just wasn’t a viable option in clutch situations as it literally required you to be paying close attention to the bottom left corner of the screen to see what that weapon was. In true Housemarque tradition, the Dual Shock 4’s speaker is taken advantage of in order to let you know which weapon you’ve selected. It’s a gimmick, but still cool nonetheless.

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The Road To Devastation was released last year as added DLC for the original game. It has been included in the Apocalypse Edition and introduces Arcade and Endless modes. Arcade mode allows you to go through a series of 6 different levels which vary based on which road you decide to take. Endless mode allows you to go through the same process, however your game only ends once you’re dead. I’m still sceptical about these game modes. Whilst it’s great that they’re included, they still feel a little more tacked on than the main game modes. They’re fun for a few plays but feel a lot less fun than the original story mode. I can’t help but wish that the developer went back and added a few more missions or even a few new weapons. However, considering it’ll be free for most of the Playstation population, I’d say that it’s still a pretty good deal.

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Broadcast mode is easily the biggest new feature. When playing through the various game modes and streaming your game to Twitch, viewers are able to interact and have a positive or negative impact on your game. They can do things such as remove your agility, add more runners to destroy you or increase your difficulty for a short amount of time. There are apparently over 30 scenarios that your game can be impacted with. We’re finally starting to see this Interact feature being used. I think it works well in this respect in the sense that it adds an unpredictably element in a game that’s quite predictable in it’s set sequences.

Challenge mode is another new addition. In this mode, the game allows you to send a challenge to a friend after completing a certain level. After receiving the challenge, it is then their goal to try and complete your score. The only reason that this is remotely exciting is due to the fact that you can race against their score as you play through the level. Leaderboards and online coop remain as they were in the ps3 version.