After spending some good time in Dead Ahead: Zombie Warfare, I quickly came to see how easy and almost rudimentary it was. I mean no disrespect by that, but it was how the game came across. Dead Ahead: Zombie Warfare is a zombie smashing bit game forged by Mobirate studios, this pack includes: Starter Pack, Circus Pack and SWAT Bundle. The premise of the game is quite simple, recruit a team of zombie slayers ranging from a shovel guy, brooding lumber jack, a lady cop and all the way up to Glenn from The Walking Dead. While there is no character customization or any real story, you do oversee the set players who you choose to your squad of six. As you move throughout the flat and streamlined stages, your ruthless zombie slayers jump from your rag-tag battle bus and fend off zombies in hopes to blow through a barricade and move to the next level. There isn’t much to Dead Ahead: Zombie Warfare, but it does provide simple, yet strategic challenges as you progress through the game.
Something odd, yet intriguing at first was the basic set up of the game. There is no intro, cut scene or anything, you are tossed into hordes of zombies to kick butt. As I drove into the first level, I expected to be button mashing as I fought through the zombies, but I did the opposite. I scrolled over to my starting fighter, shovel guy, clicked the ‘x’ button and away he went. I did nothing but watch as the shirtless fighter went to town on these zombies, smashed the barricade and it was over. Getting deeper into the game I realized the traveling system was set up a bit like a strategy card game. The level maps were like boards, divided into sectors and some of the sectors had battles you chose. After looking over your ‘Battle Deck’ or squad, you jump into action and let your fighters fight. Once done, you can begin upgrading your fighters with skill points effectively boosting their health, attack and luck. Along with upgrading your fighters, you may also upgrade the bus you travel on, giving it more resistance to the attacking hordes.
Dead Ahead: Zombie Warfare regretfully missed the mark when it came to player responsibility and engagement. Each fighter costs ‘points’ ranging from 15 to 35 and above. On the HUD in the game, there is a meter which displays your points (which resets per match) and a meter below which covers ‘rage’. As you spend points to send out your troops, the bar depletes and begins replenishing slowly. However, there isn’t anything you can do to speed up the process, besides bash in zombie brains and hope a cache full of points drops which opens your options of who you send to fight. After sending out my fighters you watch almost helplessly as they begin to get overrun and send out one reinforcement just before the zombies reach the bus. As a player you expect to interact more, have more control and say so in how you proceed through the game, but that isn’t the case. You just watch and see what happens.
Yet another issue with the game was the lack of story and motivation to keep playing. The levels themselves varied yes, being a ruined city, a wasteland and more, still, they all were strangely similar in size and shape. It was almost ironic; the name of the game was a perfect example of its own game play. Make a crew. Drive the bus. Get off the bus. Zombies literally dead ahead. Fight. Repeat. The levels and the play style became droll quickly and it becomes easy to lose interest over time. While you can unlock new characters, continue to upgrade and even discover random caches on the map, there is not much for you to do in the long run.
Adding to the dismal experience, is the ever-infuriating presence of micro-transactions, which is the only way to acquire larger upgrades and outfits. While there is a currency in the game, coins, it is used primarily for the small upgrades and in-game purchases like health and strength.
There are very few things Dead Ahead: Zombie Warfare does well, one being its necessity to use tactical strategy to win. Learning who to start, how to use perks like ‘fury’ and ‘energy drink’ and timing your attacks was the most enjoyable part of the game. Also, the repetitive yet spooky soundtrack gave the game a nice haunting aura, which helped submerge me in the bloody hordes. Overall, Dead Ahead: Zombie Warfare, simply failed to impress and bit off more than it could chew.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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