With a brief synopsis before each mission, a poorly written one at that, I was thrown into the desolation top down world of Dead Horde. Immediately youíll realise you wonít be coming into contact with any help in for foreseeable future. The land is ravaged by reanimated and infected corpses that, sadly like most modern zombie games of today have the one brutal slow shuffling monsters hurtling toward you out of nowhere, in large numbers and at the pace of an Olympic sprinter. Itís hard to tell which landscape would be a better option in the scenario; choke point corridors or the open world laid out in front of you.
Playing as a random soldier guy you start the game and simply move through each stage through checkpoint gates whilst culling the undead charging toward you out of nowhere and on a frequent basis. Armed with a M1611 assault rifle and the odd ability to perform a jittery roll means youíll be doing a whole lot of zombie kiting for a whole lot of time. Controlling your guy with the standard keyboard keys and spinning his aim (and his body) with your mouse youíll quickly see the overall quality of the game. The animations, sounds and visuals are those easily capable of being played in a browser on a flash-game portal for nothing.
The sheer amount of zombies coming in from the screen of an area you just came through and slaughtered will make each level feel a lot longer than it truly is. Most of your time is spent in one area kiting around 3-4 waves of enemies before feeling safe enough to press on. Something youíll have to do about a dozen times before you reach the end of a stage, but the limited environment space of the game world does make keeping up the evasion fairly difficult with not much time to heal between waves.
Other weapons become available through a merchant hut on each stage, but the upgrade process is a little bit of a null feature. We found ourselves capable of buying out each upgrade for our rifle each time we found a hut, meaning tactical choice of upgrades never even crossed our minds. Something which really should in a post-apocalyptic survival scenario to better set the mood Ė something only backed up by the eerie background music. Youíll only even see the need for your default rifle and with itís unlimited ammo, the staple survival aspect of horror games that is limited ammo becomes a null point in this game.
The environment didnít offer up much usefulness to help us survive either. The few houses and shacks littered through the place rarely offered supplies or even shelter. It would have been great to lock the door behind us and pick off undead hordes crawling through the windows around us. And while we could push and shove random objects around like footballs, barrels let us down by showing their non-combustible traits as we shot them around a wave of enemies. In that sense, the barrels got us killed a few times as we tested them to find at least one that would explode; we had no such luck.
On the rare occasion we had the chance to use vehicles to do our dirty work. A brief but consistent encounter with an armoured car let us smash through hordes just for the hell of it until we bounced it off a checkpoint gate and had to get out. And sometimes a forklift truck to throw a barricade out of the way rather than to make one. It defiantly offered up a bit of refreshing imagination after hours of rolling around the place, but they could have been used in a much more imaginative way to help your chances of survival.
In the end Dead Horde is exactly what I poked upon in the start of this review. For the entire length of playing it, that feeling of being back at school and taking the risk of playing games during a boring computer math class. Endless kiting of zombies around the stages of Dead Horde were a constant feeling of rinse-and-repeat. Even the bigger enemies took the same treatment. The evasion methods had a tendency to fail you sometimes leading to a pretty difficult game, but still not one of enough quality to feel like it needed a place on Steam rather than a browser.
If you feel the need to roll your way through zombies you can score Dead Horde for over on GamersGate right now.
Developer: DNS Development
Publisher: DNS Development
Publisher: DNS Development