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Forums > Submission Feedback > SamildanachEmrys's Dead Nation [PSN] review

This thread is in response to a review for Dead Nation on the PlayStation 3. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: August 15, 2011 (08:25 AM)
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Nice work. And you're right: the L4D comparison is dead-on. I was about to review this, and you beat me to it. But since your piece takes such a unique approach, so I won't feel bad releasing mine. Someday.


I don't have to prove I'm refined - that's what makes me refined!


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Author: SamildanachEmrys
Posted: August 15, 2011 (08:29 AM)
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Thanks!

There's a lot I didn't cover in my review. There's nothing at all about how it plays, how long it lasts, different characters - basically anything mechanical. I decided to focus on the impression it left on me, and hopefully that leaves plenty of room for other reviews to cover the plentiful ground that I completely ignored.


'There would be tears and there would be strange laughter. Fierce births and deaths beneath umbrageous ceilings. And dreams, and violence, and disenchantment.'


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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: August 15, 2011 (09:27 AM)
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As you say, there are plenty of reviews that break down the fundamentals where you have opted not to. But I like the impression-based approach for smaller games like this.


I don't have to prove I'm refined - that's what makes me refined!


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Author: fleinn
Posted: August 17, 2011 (05:40 AM)
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I kind of like the approach in the review too. And if it was a film, say, like Land of the Dead comes to mind, you really would have to review it that way. Or.. you /could/ review it that way, because it'd be designed deliberately to cause that experience. And, well, the funny thing about Dead Nation is that it actually achieves that baseline of the horror-film.. somehow. Instead of being "this mechanic happens, then the set piece takes place".

So.. it's just a top-down shooter. And it has a gunshop, and checkpoints, etc.

But the scenes in between (not the cutscenes, which are pretty freaking bad), thanks to the lighting treatment and real-time shadows - are going to freak you out.

Example. There are several times in the game where you can walk up an alley, and then see the shadows on the wall, etc (this is obviously set up). And then it reacts to something you do, and you see the character's shadow as well, right - and the muzzle-flare and the flash-light creates this macabre shadow-theater on the wall.. And this is well done. It's a small part of the game, and most of it really is a glorified (if awesome) shooter. Like Housemarque's Super Stardust HD.

But just wanted to point out that - that they've really managed to... cross over into cheezy zombie-film territory, and actually made something that can pass as a professional horror-flick.. at times, at least.

That it's not like, say, Resident Evil 4, where you have the house that keeps being invaded - and it's a great setup, because you know that scene from great zombie movies. But the mechanics are just terrible, and they don't actually show you or immerse you in the experience on their own.

So Dead Nation does that because of the level-design and the use of scene-dependent shadow and lighting effects. And that's an achievement :D You know... interactive action scene from a zombie movie.

Technology and artistic merit combined to make something unique, etc. Doesn't a review like this prove they've succeeded at that?


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Author: SamildanachEmrys
Posted: August 17, 2011 (06:15 AM)
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Thanks, that's kind of what I was trying to get across, though I don't think I did it very well. There's an artistry to the way Dead Nation uses its tools. Though there are many times when hordes of zombies will run at you, there's more to it than that.


'There would be tears and there would be strange laughter. Fierce births and deaths beneath umbrageous ceilings. And dreams, and violence, and disenchantment.'


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Author: fleinn
Posted: August 17, 2011 (07:34 AM)
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*nods* No.. it did come across.. I mean, the style maybe could sound a bit pretentious for video-games -- in general. You know, like people reviewing Peggle and droning on about the mathematical perfection of systematic object-placement. Before drawing a parallel between love and the colours on the knobs in the right directions, and so on.

So choosing that approach.. really neat in this case, because it's genuine. That the review doesn't come from dreamt up features. And the thing is, like you say, that there's another bunch of approaches to the review.

And they don't mix well either -- if you write a review for Land of the Dead, you can't suddenly start to talk about ketchup effects, and how cool the splats are. And then suddenly switch to talk about scary and emotional.

So.. yeah. Really neat review. I'm not the best guy to give you feedback on structuring the text and phrasing, and so on :D but concept is awesome.


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