When someone plays games their entire life, they develop some automated responses. For example, after games like Super Mario Bros, a gamer may tend to hold down a button before jumping, ensuring that they move faster and clear the jump. Another automated response comes after killing another player in multiplayer. I always reload no matter how many bullets we have used. One of my automated responses occurs when I see a zombie in a video game. No matter the situation, I always try and take out the zombie! With this in mind, I was very intrigued by the idea of Dead Alliance. What if you could use the zombies as a tactical advantage? The idea is very intriguing, but unfortunately, Dead Alliance fails at the execution.
Dead Alliance is set in, you guessed it, a post-apocalyptic world. The world is overrun by zombies, with only military bases remaining. The story is pretty weak, which is to be expected from a game that focuses on multiplayer. We don’t have more information about the world or how zombies overran everything, but we have enough to give us a reason to shoot each other. We do have a fairly entertaining DJ/Play by Play announcer who keeps things mildly entertaining throughout the match.
The game itself looks like a traditional shooter. The maps are small and compact, which fits very well with the 4×4 matchups. You will find typical game modes, like Team Deathmatch, Free for All, Capture and Hold, and King of the Hill. I believe the best mode is the Attrition mode, which resembles a MOBA map with zombies. Attrition is chaotic but in a good way. There is another version of the game with single player modes, but those are basically against AI opponents and resemble a Horde mode with objectives. The big factor that sets Dead Alliance apart is the inclusion of Z-Mods.
Z-Mods are used to control zombies for a short period of time in both an offensive and defensive capacity. Each of the 10 mods has a different effect that can turn the tables on your opponents. My favorite mod, the P.A.M, will drive all zombies in its radius to hunt the nearest opponent. This can be a great tactical advantage, especially if you catch an enemy spending too much time looking through their scope and not looking at their surroundings. Truth be told, the offensive mods work better than the defensive. It’s much easier running away from zombies instead of setting up defensive mods.
In theory, using zombies as weapons should create a unique experience. However, the technical side of things is a mess. I really wish this game was polished! There were a number of problems that I noticed while playing. The default aim sensitivity is horrible, and changing it doesn’t help much. It is a slow and sluggish process when you whip around and hit someone in the opposite direction. It takes almost an entire clip to take out an enemy, which shouldn’t happen if you have access to powerful weapons. There are a ton of customizable options, but it is an absolute chore to unlock them. I also think the zombies need to be addressed. They should be more powerful and dangerous. Currently, they are just an inconvenience that you can outrun.
The gameplay is not the only thing that needs tweaking. Compared to other FPS games this decade, Dead Alliance is graphically weaker. The colors look muddled and the details are not sharp. I can get over the color scheme because it is supposed to be a bleak, post-apocalyptic world. But I need more details on the zombies! There are different types of zombies in Dead Alliance, but they don’t look terrifying. The sound quality is ok with some stereotypical zombie noises.
I really wanted to like Dead Alliance. I loved the concept and had a good time with it at E3. But the glaring technical issues take away from the enjoyability of the game. I love that the developers took a chance to change up stereotypical FPS and zombie gameplay. I hope that the teams will continue to work on future updates to bring Dead Alliance to a standard that we have grown accustomed to with games like Battlefield and Call of Duty. I can see an audience for this type of FPS. At this point, it is up to the developers to bring Dead Alliance back from the dead.
Note: GameOctane Editor Ryan Welch received a digital code for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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Attrition Mode is fun and chaotic
Aim sensitivity needs work
Zombies are not powerful enough
Graphically inferior compared to other FPS's on the market