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Dead Nation (PS Vita) Review

Just like the zombies themselves, Dead Nation just does not want to die, with an aged PlayStation 3 release and a recent PlayStation 4 update; we now have another version, this time for the Vita.

Straight off the mark I will say this is a port of the PlayStation 3 version, so with the all singing and dancing PS4 version only just being released what we have here is the older version, less any DLC. Not the greatest of starts and sadly, having enjoyed the PS3 version this does not quite get the same thrills, though this is probably more to do with the screen size and controls rather than the actual gameplay.

In Dead Nation you take control of one of two characters, though the differences are only in looks as there is no real benefit from playing as the female or male. The zombie apocalypse has been and gone, with all of your family and friends either dead or turned; you on the other hand have against all odds survived, cursed with invulnerability to the zombie virus, though they can still tear you to shreds. Locking youself away in a tower block, waiting for the inevitable of your supplies beginning to dwindle, so being brave you decide to make a break for it, loaded with a cyanide tablet in case of emergency and a few remaining bullets you take to the streets, searching for a way out. 

The action in Dead Nation is presented as a classic top down arcade shooter, the left control stick to move about the and right control stick to aim and the shoulder buttons fire and that’s all you really need to know. As you wander around the dimly lit streets you will come across all manner of zombies, some stagger around, others run at you, some even have unique traits like a huge blobby one that take a few shots before exploding or zombies that jump from drains, but as long as you have bullets in your gun you can deal with most of them. However it is not just the zombies that effect your progress as for some reason you have decided to make this daring escape at night time, with the darkness covering most of the game, only sporadic street lights, car alarms and your own torch piercing its enveloping darkness, adding a real sense of urgency and terror as you never really know what is behind you until the last moment.

The levels themselves don't offer much other than run and gun with each area being split up by checkpoint safe zones where you can the upgrade your weaponry and armour in peace. The weapons you collect have multiple upgrades to tinker with like faster rate of fire, a larger clip or just replenish your ammo. So even though you starting off with a simple rifle with infinite ammo you quickly unlock sub-machine guns, shotguns, mines and grenades to help you to your goal. This of course does not come free so searching every car and chest is well worth the risk of alerting more zombie hordes.

Though this is essentially the same game played a few years ago, the Vita does not lend itself well to the twitch style quick draw shooting, plus the size of the screen is a also a hindrance, making it hard to see far in front of you. I still gained some enjoyment from this title but with a decent PS3 original and the newer PS4 update, the Vita version is only worth grabbing if you do not own any of the other consoles.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PS Vita)


+ Classic top down shooter action
+ Lots of weapons to unlock and upgrade
+ Online leaderboards, how well is your country doing against the zombie hordes?


- Is a little too dark in places, getting stuck on the environments.
- A bare bones version.

Edited On 16 Apr, 2014

( 1 )
PrometheusFan's avatar
PrometheusFan 3 years ago
Vita version is free if you'd previously gotten the PS3 version, same as with the Sly trilogy this week as well. Would have thought that'd bear mentioning.

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