Quick disclaimer, I don’t normally do online card games, and I never do single player card games. Yet this survival-based card game had me… confused, then quickly hooked. Give it a chance, trust me you’ll either grow to love and understand it, or throw your controller on the floor in confusion mixed with frustration at ‘What the hell is going on?’ I guarantee you’ll have that moment of why I am playing this? but after sticking it out I grew to like the game. If you like games like UNO, this game is similar in the sense that it’s a card game… that’s it. The game has a sort of new style on traditional card games. Dead Exit requires quick thinking and perceptiveness to succeed but when you do, oh its satisfying. If anything, I would say that the idea of the game set up is like Gwent, the only other card game I like, from The Witcher. Except Dead Exit is more challenging and has a wider variation of card types and consequences of playing a card.
The single player is great once you get the hang of it, consisting of three game modes, these being, ‘City Escape’, where you control one or more bases and gather these resources to win. The resources you need to win throughout this game are simply food, fuel, a vehicle, and a survivor. Once you get all of these in your deck of cards you can win if you stack them in your resources pile. It’s simple really. You play against a computer-controlled raider who has the same objective as you. A good idea implemented into the game is the City Deck, where there is a selection of ‘dead’ cards which have either an event, a survivor, a plan, or a resource on the opposite side. You can pick these up but on the condition of bringing a dead (aka a zombie) back to your base. Get overrun by dead and you lose by default, simple! The game allows you to have a training mode, which I greatly suggest playing a couple of times to get the hang of it (this is the case for all game modes) then progress upwards, meaning you can control more bases and must manage your recourses better.
Another game mode is ‘Survival’, this game mode allows you to control one base under siege by raiders, the easiest option allows you to survive a minimum of three weeks, making sure you survive and at the end of the week you have complied the resources. Which once again is: Food, fuel, a survivor and a vehicle. The game mode allocates a maximum of five cards on the easiest difficulty which gives you plenty of room to gather what you need and to win. This is the mode that can be the hardest, as it involves managing your cards carefully and making your choices matter especially on the harder difficulty.
Finally, we have ‘War’, in which you control one or more bases working together to get more sets than the enemy. This game mode for me is arguably the worst one of the three, as it can be confusing with the multiple hands of cards you have to manage, it also gets repetitive very quickly, so I recommend starting with ‘City Escape’ as it is the best game mode in my opinion and can be straight forward.
You can play a local online game which essentially means you can play together with friends in the same room, this can be problematic though since they can see your cards, some of the card types can maybe allow them to destroy cards from your deck, which can be a bad thing for someone who has a strong hand that round. The online multiplayer seems to be a two-player game of ‘City Escape’, so instead of the computer versing you, it’s another player. It is fun as it takes the best game mode and allows you to challenge your friends in a battle of smarts, which is extremely satisfying if you win.
In the game there are a huge variety of cards, and an even bigger variety of how they can be used. There are events cards, which trigger an event to you or your opponents, sometimes good sometimes bad, these cards can greatly help you or mess up your day. Plan cards, these initiate a plan which can have different impacts depending on if you place the card inside or outside your base, it is up to the player what effect they wish to trigger when they use one of their three turns to play these cards. Like events cards these can greatly benefit your game and ruin your opponents. The resource cards are the most essential in the game, they allow you to win easy. Yet in my opinion the best card is fuel, as it helps you win but can also clear your base quick of the dead when put in your ‘sacrifice’ pile. Then there are the Survivor cards, there are so many of them, ranging from a Redneck to a Seductress, all with three different impacts on your game which you choose. All the different outcomes in this game make you think before placing any cards and make the in that much more glorifying. In my opinion the cards themselves make the game a great card game, the different impacts bring the game to life and put a sort of urgency on each move you make as a survivor yourself. However, at first the overwhelming amount of detail and variation can deter interest as it all seems so complicated for absolutely no reason at all. Yet give this game a chance and you’ll grow to love the amount of variety, proving for great replay ability as there is always a different hand of cards and always a different way to play them.
As I said a thing that doesn’t work well is the game mode ‘War’ and how confusing that can get, but this shouldn’t stop anyone from picking up this game and giving it a go. The local multiplayer doesn’t really make much sense as anyone playing with friends therefore reveals their cards and ruins the element of surprise that helps make the game interesting. The soundtrack can get occasionally annoying… but then again when I came to realise this I had just lost a set so me being a sore loser probably had something to do with my sudden irritability. The thing that makes the game great can also be one of the biggest downfalls, the cards. There are so many cards. sometimes too many? To a beginner like me it can be intimidating, especially when you put it into your head that ‘I don’t need the easiest option, I’m not stupid!’, we’ve all been there, we know you’re not stupid but you’ll sure as hell feel stupid when you’re losing over and over, so don’t skip the damn tutorial ok? And the number of cards won’t be a bad thing. One thing that is genuinely an issue however is that the loading times can be very slow, especially finding a game for online, this could be due to it being on console though.
Overall, I really enjoyed Dead Exit the variety and replay ability has me caught on the game, the characters even though they have no lines whatsoever have a sort of quirkiness that I have grown to love. Granted I need a break every now and then because it can be frustrating, but this game is worth a buy and an obsessive play. I do recommend this game, even if you don’t like card games, its more than a card game.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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