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

  • I feel like I’ve been waiting for this for years and now it’s finally coming out. Just in time before the ridiculous holiday rush as well. I held off on buying Zombie Apocalypse in hopes this would be a isometric version of L4D. Release it already and take my money.

  • A PSP version would be awesome

  • Sid, Playstation was following me on twitter, now they are not, what gives?

    • What’s your Twitter handle? We routinely pare down our follow list to keep our timeline in order.

  • I cannot wait until this game comes out. I know that its going to rock!

  • im not sure if any1 has asked this question already but, how many does the game provides? and will there be any chance of “bonus games” like for instance a, “survivor mode” or such?

  • i meant how many levels does the game provides*

    This game need’it

  • How do the levels play? Is it like a sandbox level or different areas that you progress through?

    • Different levels, but there’s a sandbox feel to things — you can set off a car alarm to make the zombies pile around a car, then blow them all away with a grenade or mine.

  • looks ok.

    What turns me off is the camera angle i want a 3rd person view.

    And 2 if this game doesn’t have multiplayer then well….

  • You’ve got my money!

  • This looks really cool. I really liked Super Stardust (but personally preferred Blast Factor even more). The skeletal models must be really detailed; the way the bodies lurch backward when getting shot is very realistic looking. Coupled with the lighting and shadows, it looks like a knockout visually. (It would be cool if the blood droplets also cast realistic shadows as well, right now it looks like a cheap overlay trick.)

    Playing through the regular story as co-op would be great. My husband and I loved X-Men Legends, for instance. Team-up attacks as in Penny Arcade Adventures and X-Men Legends 2 would be a welcome addition!

    I hope to hear more of the same amazing dynamic range explosions afforded by 24-bit HD audio like Blast Factor has.

  • will there be DLC after it comes out?

  • looks fun cant wait to buy it =)

  • yeah this is looking awesome but first I need Castle Crashers! Behemoth told us it’s in Sony’s hands now… so hopefully we get an update on that sometime soon from you guys.

  • This game HAS to have online co op. Come on guys, a game like this begs for it. Don’t disappoint!

  • and we are talking LOTS of zombies with lots of AMMO too ???? love Zombie themes myself but have found alot of games lack one of the two… looking for a good one that will leave me on the edge of my seat Screaming ” Im gonna die !!!! oops… no im not “

  • im not rly into the whole zombie thing, but this game looks good + its a downloadble game; a perfect match for me. rly looking forward to this one and pixeljunk shooter2.

  • @ Sid Shuman,

    My twitter handle is YouTwittface14, please add me and add me on yours too! I had a few question about ModNation Racers Patch (which I am sure I can find out on ModNation Mondays), and I wanted to do ask you in the appropriate place.

  • As has been noted by others in this comment thread, I feel like online co-op is a must for this kind of game. It’s too bad that more PSN titles DON’T have online co-op.

    I hope Housemarque can deliver on that front because the rest of the game looks spectacular.

  • What about us Playstation Plus subscribers, will we be getting anything special related to this title?

  • wow i really impressed with the amount of feedback on the blog. thank you sid. I dont think i see this many comments and/or replies. many thanks.

  • this game looks sweet will it have a co-op or online co-op?? also will this game be short? cus i have deathspank, joe danger and other psn games and there all really short will this be longer or have add-ons??

  • @42 Leave him alone. People are asking the same questions that he doesn’t have the answers to.

    Totally agree with @71. Sid you’re awesome =)

  • And this game looks like it’s going to be awesome too =)

  • Cant wait for this game! get us a release date

  • Thanks for the add Sid, this game is looking sick!!

  • do you have to travel from point A-B or do they drop you in aroom and you gotta kill as many as possible?

  • custom soundtracks ???

  • Man oh man the DLC days are getting better and brighter. Between this and shank coming up as well as a few others already announced I am soooooo glad I got myself a big brand new hard drive. Now to put that space to work!

  • I played this at E3 at Sony’s semi-private media lounge, and was really impressed. Even got a tour by one of the developers, had a great time!

  • please tell the dev this game must have new game +. Let you keep your weapons upgrades after you are done.

  • Kinda seems like Zombie Apocalypse with a flash light

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