Rewind to the early noughties, Shaun of the Dead had smashed the box office and everyone’s biggest fear was being eaten alive by their neighbour. Dead Age brings me back to that time when zombies seemed to be the thing on everyone’s minds, and everyone’s screens. This game is a classic turn-based zombie RPG, allowing players to see how they’d fare in the apocalypse. The game focuses heavily on the narrative at the beginning, with the protagonist searching for their younger sister throughout the wasteland. You can rise through the ranks, the more you play, starting with only the option to play as a student, building up to other classes like an engineer and soldier. The classes do not affect the narrative or gameplay, however, the higher classes do give you higher skill sets. The aim of the game is to gather supplies, recruit other NPC’s and to raise your skill sets, all to ensure that you stay alive.
The core of Dead Age is the combat, which is unfortunately where I think the game falls flat. Unlike other turn-based combat RPGs, such as South Park: The Stick of Truth, there are not any interesting or engaging visuals or audio, just characters clunkily moving to attack each other. The combat also becomes extremely repetitive, after the first twenty minutes I didn’t feel like I had to look at the choices or develop a strategy, as unless you manage to kill your entire team in the first few rounds, you have enough people and supplies to survive virtually any encounter. Unlike other games like this, there are also no interactive elements in the game whatsoever. Any interaction you have will be in your notebook, in which you can choose your weapons or craft supplies. This meant that for me, I got bored quite quickly, and didn’t manage to form any emotional attachments to any of the characters, as I had no way of interacting with them. The game also tries to form a cohesive and emotional narrative, however, due to the inability to interact with anyone, I found that I was struggling to even remember my the names of the people on my team, never mind the fact that they just got bitten. There was clearly an attempt to form a story, though it comes across more like a random stream of events that isn’t at all impacted by what you do as the protagonist.
One of the most interesting aspects of Dead Age is the fact that once you die, you stay dead. The tutorial makes this very clear, which made me think that the game would give me challenges that might put my progress in peril. I was disappointed to find that I never had a challenge that put my characters in any danger, as all this did was add to the repetitive nature of the game. I feel that if the game managed to make the player more invested in the characters and the story, the fact that it’s a rouge-like would be more interesting and could make for a more gripping gaming experience.
If you do enjoy turn-based combat games, I think you could potentially find joy in Dead Age. I moved back and forth between thinking this game was good to incredibly boring, but if you have played games like this before and liked them, you’ll probably like Dead Age. For me, the game reminded me too much of old school computer games, and I had too little to do other than reading and waiting for the next event to occur. The graphics and art style also contributed to this, with the clunky movements and stilted audio reminding me of playing House of the Dead at the arcade rather than a PS4 game.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Dead Age Review
Gameplay - 4/10
Graphics - 4/10
Sound - 5/10
Replay Value - 5/10
User Review( votes)
A turn-based combat RPG that unfortunately doesn’t need a zombie bite to turn your brain to mush.
- Easy to pick up and learn.
- The ability to develop skills and unlock characters.
- Boring after the first twenty minutes.
- A stark lack of interactive elements.