Dead Horde – Preview

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Dead Horde is a title that’s coming not so much shuffling as sprinting towards us.  Moving away from the classic rigor mortis zombie and back to the modern fascination with ‘infected.’  On the face of it my initial impression was that Dead Horde is a blend of Left 4 Dead and Alien Swarm, i.e., a top down shooter where you need to reach a checkpoint while killing fast zombies trying to claw and bite you up good.

I do have the ability to shoot! Not necessarily to hit but they are considerate and get real close, unlike that guy at the coconut shy...

My general perception on the game was relatively accurate and while it should be stated clearly that we played a beta version of the game, the overall experience was underwhelming in its current state.  It also weighs heavily on hardware. My system isn’t top of the range by any means anymore, but it is respectable enough for the current generation (I’ll provide a brief spec at the end).  Despite that though the graphics are very good, and the shadows looked very nice, at least until I turned them down to a lower setting!

The combat system is solid.  You have a gun, an aiming reticule and (presumably) the ability to press your mouse button to fire.  Dead Horde is the same of many other similar combat systems, and doesn’t look to attempt anything drastically out of the ordinary.

One selling-point is that if you’re a fan of a massive challenge then you’ll be met with it.  Whilst attempting normal difficulty I found I was getting torn up fairly often, and with no melee function the standard tactic is to jog backwards whilst shooting, then turn away to reload, rinse and repeat.  At various junctions in each stage you’ll also be met with a giant mutated zombie, such as the charging and occasionally vomiting juggernaut, as I call it. It’s actually tricky enough to just survive that I found myself wishing I could store those medkits and use them when I really needed them.

The big one is an angry soul! And hurty...

Gaming is often a social experience, and multiplayer has always been something to be valued in a game, in my own opinion.  And Dead Horde offers us just that, a co-op mode!  Does the challenge get easier to face with a friend?  Well it’s easier, but still not easy.  It could just be a question of practice, but it does undeniably help that when you die you don’t lose your progress, for as long as one of you can reach the next checkpoint the other will be revived.  However, the peer-to-peer stability caused a few hiccups here and there in our gameplay, and we noticed some slow response which did cause a couple of sizable chunks of life to melt away.  Oh, how I wish I could’ve had that medkit!  Not my accomplice though. He’s there specifically to draw their attention and ultimately sacrifice himself for me!

And he did it well.

One niggle was the camera obstruction, where say, a crane or scaffold will blot out your vision.  I did accidentally back into a zombie or two on those points.  Although this could be to add another piece of strategy to the puzzle so that you think in greater depth about your movement.  Although for a quick revision to this point, the developers are aware of the frustration and are looking into ways to rectify it!

Ultimately, the biggest frustration facing the free enjoyment of the game is the looming sense of aimlessness.  And no, that’s not a jibe on my ability to hit a target, although it isn’t perfect by any means!  It’s more the fact that, at least currently, there’s no sense of story or attachment to your generic mohawk-bearing soldier, what he’s doing, where he’s going or why.  At this point I should state there were only 3 of the total 9 available levels in the beta version, so a story and general motive to continue might still emerge beyond the accrual of money!

Despite that, if you liked Alien Swarm (or Shadowgrounds), still hunger to kill the living dead and have a good computer, feel free to play it as the chances are decent you’ll enjoy it.  The developer team is clearly dedicated into making it a cherishable gaming experience!  If it helps, and you enjoy seeing montagey goodness, here’s the trailer:

The game is set to be released within the next few months.

 

As promised here is what I ran the game on, which seemed sufficient to run the game, bar the occasional crash.  But again, it’s a beta and will go through a continuous phase of fixing bugs.

Windows 7 64-bit, AMD Phenom II X4 945 Processor, NVIDIA GeForce 9800GT, 4GB RAM

FURIOUSFANBOYS Writer
FURIOUSFANBOYS Writer