Hands-on: Dead Nation for PS3

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I’m a pathological fan of zombie movies. Night of the Living Dead. Return of the Living Dead. 28 Days Later, [REC], Dawn of the Dead — I count these films among my all-time favorites.

So I was obviously itching to get my mitts on Dead Nation, the upcoming PSN shooter from the creators of Super Stardust HD. Luckily, I got some extensive play time from last week’s NYC PlayStation media day. Here’s what I learned.

Dead Nation for PS3 (PSN) Dead Nation for PS3 (PSN)

You can upgrade your guns…a lot. Dead Nation’s environments are dotted with fenced-in “safe zones” that give you a chance to catch your breath and buy supplies from a nearby gun shop. In addition to buying health and ammo, you can purchase mods that will enhance your various weapons in different ways, depending on the gun. The mods upgrade stats such as damage, ammo capacity, firing rate, reload time, and range. While the most potent weapon upgrades are expensive, you can pop open car trunks and chests found through the environments in order to collect cash and other useful items.

The Shotgun is devastating. The Dead Nation build I played featured three weapons — the Shotgun, SMG, and Rifle — with more to come in the final version. Early on, I decided to pour my money into repeatedly upgrading the Shotgun’s damage and spread capability. The results were impressive: My buckshot blasts became massive cones of death, ripping through the ghoul hordes like a wet sneeze through a store-brand tissue. Sometimes I swapped to the SMG for its rapid firing rate, or the Rifle for its long-range capabilities. But come Dead Nation’s release date later this fall, I know what my go-to gun will be.

Dead Nation for PS3 (PSN)

There are many zombie types. After you shake off the initial shock of battling dozens and dozens of zombies, you’ll quickly learn that not every zombie is created equal. You’ll see fast, gangly zombies that rush up close but fall quickly to melee attacks. You’ll see big, tough zombies that take a licking but move more slowly. I even spotted a few zombie cops that wildly fired their service revolvers while they lunged at me.

Mobility = life. Housemarque’s previous game, twinstick PSN shooter Super Stardust HD, is clearly an influence on Dead Nation’s fast-paced gameplay. For example, rapid kills fill up your combo meter, which in turn sends your score into the stratosphere. As in Super Stardust HD, you’ll also realize the importance of staying mobile to avoid incoming enemies — to get cornered is to die. Luckily, you can throw mines and grenades to clear some temporary space, or use the “rush” move to push your way through a line of hungry flesh eaters.

Dead Nation will be released on PSN later this fall. Have any questions about its core gameplay, or zombies in general? Ask away in the comments!

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33 Author Replies

  • This game looks sweet! How/When can I get my hands on it?

  • I want it NOW!!!

  • What about price is this a $9.99 or a $14.99 title?

  • Looks fun! When will it be out?

    • This fall is the official line for now, but I’m sure the team at Housemarque will set a precise date as we get closer to the timeframe.

  • @1
    Nevermind lol! I probably should have read the whole article!

    What will the price be?

  • I want this game by Halloween :(

    I can’t wait; I just bought Super Stardust HD and it’s a blast to play!!

    • w00t! Be *sure* to the get “Solo” expansion pack so you can get “Endless” mode. It’s the only way to fly!

  • Can’t wait for this game, will it have online co-op?

  • Looking really good.

    Will there be any Playstation MOVE support?

  • What is the approximate gameplay time you get out of this?

    • Hmmm…game isn’t finished up yet, so it’s hard to say. I’m sure there will be more to talk about here a little closer to Dead Nation’s fall launch. Stay tuned!

  • I want to play it now, why till fall :(

  • Will it support co-operative play? Will it be more of a story focus, or a jump in and play specific zones kind of game?

    Looks great, can’t wait for it to come out, I hope it does well and gets support post launch!

    • Yes, the developers at Housemarque have confirmed couch co-op play. There IS storytelling, but no details to share yet — you progress through different levels that ramp up in difficulty.

  • Housemarque = instant buy.

  • Will it support ONLINE Co-op?

  • wow. This is gonna be gangsta. One question SId did they say anythng about co-op options..It dont matter if they didnt.. Hope this has a ton of dlc content..This is gonna be my 1st zombie shooter, i skipped all the others ones this wil be the true king to zombie shooters. Mark my wrd sid


    • It will have couch co-op, but no other details are available yet. My experience was all single-player.

  • I can’t wait to get it, Will it have trophy support?

  • Does it feuture local co-op? It would be cool to play with my buddies

  • Online Co-Op please!

  • I want this But I’m Not gonna pay over £10+ then find out im gonna get it free in a few months with playstation plus .. just like the rest of the playstation store i cant buy anything cause if i do i’l end up gettign it free with playstation store , so here my question non realting to this game ..
    Playstation plus monthly update do you have it ?

  • Any chance of Remote Play?

  • Hey Sid, will there be a public demo? :D

  • I like these previews/impressions things you are doing lately Sid. Keep it up.

  • I think the Top-down, overhead view, or whatever you call it is really going to give A LOT to the game! Way better than first-person.

  • How many players will it support for local co-op?

  • wish it would come out sooner =[

  • Looks very cool. I do have a couple questions Sid:

    1. Zombie Apocalypse was fun, but got repetative quickly. Nation seems to be played in the same run and gun vein so is there a difference that keeps it fresher longer, outside of a ziplock bag?

    2. Is there any charactre customization?

    3. I haven’t seen anyone ask yet, but is there going to be on-line co-op?

    Thanks Sid!

    • 1. Didn’t play more than a few minutes of ZA, so I can’t speak to it. 2. You can upgrade the weapons and explosives, but beyond that I’m not sure. Something I’ll ask about as the game gets closer to launch. 3. Couch co-op is what’s been announced thus far.

  • i really think this game is fun..but id rahter save my doe for DEADRISING 2..the “run around shooters” just dont do it for me anymore :/

  • this game looks awesome, if it has online co op it could sell millions on psn!

  • Love love love Super Stardust (at one point, I was in the top 25 or so on the worldwide leaderboards), so you can bet your bippy I’ll be getting this

  • Will it run at 60fps like stardust??

    • It ran nice and smooth, but it was a pre-release version and I wasn’t exactly counting frames — hard to say just now. I’ll circle back on this question a little closer to launch!

  • Yes, online co-op please!

  • I don’t think the screenshot and video media has been handled well for this.

    The first trailer had screwy image quality, badly scaled or something. The first lot of screenshots were good but unless you knew the trick for pulling source pics from eu.playstation.com, they were small and overcompressed. Since E3 screenshots are captured or compressed badly, largely showing closeups at street level that the textures and models obviously aren’t designed for. The screenshots provided above are a mess of overcompression. You can’t get a sense of the flow of gameplay from the trailers because they cut between shots too frequently.

    It’s really frustrating.

  • I bet you this game does not come out till Winter. They say Fall, but Fall will turn into Winter. I hope I am wrong though, cause this game looks really good, and on my watch list!

  • This is a day 1 for me !.

    [REC] is awesome can’t wait for [REC]2!!!.

  • I can’t wait til fall…im going into video game overdrive. Its so many good ps games coming out and move! I do not know how I am going to balance college and work and GAMES..looking forward to the challenge!

  • Thought I’d add this. You mentioned “other useful items.”

    I’ll mention a few.

    Besides the arsenal of guns you are able to purchase; your able to use
    other items to help you along the way if the swarms are to much for you
    to handle.

    (Or certain swarms are to large……they swarm you quickly, and if to large
    will kill you quickly.)

    Any who I digress. Here are a few items you get, or can buy to help you.

    1. Flares: It might not seem like a useful items until you toss one.
    Any swarm of zombies nearby will go for the flare instead of you.
    (Until it goes out.) Although during the time they’re attacking the
    flare a large group is easy picking for your arsenal of weapons.

    2. Grenades: If you don’t want to waste ammo. Toss one.
    (Tossing a flare followed by the grenade = big splatter.)

    3. ????: Not sure what it was, but it appeared to have the same effect
    as the grenade, but not the long distance throw of the grenade.
    Suffice it to say I only tossed it at a flare attacking group.
    I’m assuming though that it could of been a land mine.

    • Thanks for reminding me — you’re right about the Flares and Grenades, and #3 is indeed Mines. These can also be enhanced via gun shop upgrades.

  • Now only if psn can continue the rollout of good ip’s..I hope we get limbo on day…. but this is a day 1 buy for me.

  • This game totally needs online COOP. Please do it Housemarque !

  • I asked this before, but will Dead Nation run in 1080p like Super Stardust HD?

    • I wasn’t exactly counting pixels, but it looked nice and crisp when I played it. I’ll check in here a little closer to launch, when the game’s final code is firming up.

  • This one has been on my watch list, because it’s strikingly similar to Crimsonland.

  • Oh man, I want some online co-op for this soooo bad! It’s a purchase for me nonetheless, but I’ll be bugging my friends to get it as well if it has online co-op.

  • does the game control like SSHD (second best PSN game behind Flower :P)? Does it used both analog sticks to control and fire your weapons?

    • It does! You aim with the right stick, but tap R1 to fire. This lends a nice, poppy feel to guns such as the Rifle.

  • Yea i would ask a question but i don’t have the details yet, so please wait till closer to launch.

    Why post this if all your “answers” are the same?

    • Well, the game’s not finished and I only know what they’ve showed thus far. Stay tuned, we’ll have more details as Dead Nation gets closer to launch.

  • Cant wait to start playing this. Keep the previews coming, good job. By the way when will Castle Crashers be out? It taking forever.

  • “Does it use both analog sticks to control and fire your weapons?”

    Left analog to move around.

    Right analog to aim.

    Up, Down on the D-pad to alternate between items like in my “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” comment.

    Left, Right on the D-pad to alternate between guns

  • This game is going to be a day one buy for me, *cough*shouldbefreetoPS+members*cough*cough*

  • I was ready for this game back in March when it was originally scheduled (I think) to be released. Super Stardust HD is one of my favorite games all time.

  • damn i want this game. i have burn zombie burn and zombie apocalypse….but dead nation looks like a SERIOUS zombie game for psn. I will for sure dish out whatever the cost is so i can pick this game up. very excited…. ^_^

  • After buy Super Stardust HD, this is definitely a buy first 1 on PSN.

  • Super Stardust HD best PSN game??
    Has to be PJ SHOTTER;) and Zombies rule

  • About time more info!

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