There are so many games releasing each and every month that it’s only expected that some are going to call out to player’s interests more than others. For me, Dead Alliance was one of those games.
As a big fan of all things zombie, and an avid fan of the first-person shooter genre, Dead Alliance looked to have it all. What made things even more exciting was the idea of a game that looked to infuse both of those things into one to create a unique FPS experience. I’m also a big fan of Resident Evil, and last year saw the utter flop that was Umbrella Corps hit the Resident Evil universe – a game that looked to try and implement the same thing. Could Dead Alliance get right what Umbrella Corps got wrong? Or are we facing another miserable flop that would further tarnish the zombie genre?
Before release, the only thing I knew of Dead Alliance was of that shown in the rather exciting looking trailer. After that came the description of what we could expect, something which had me even more excited. Dead Alliance is a mostly multiplayer game, one that is highly similar to games like Call of Duty, in which players go head to head in small arena style maps through a number of different game modes including Team Deathmatch, King of Hill, Capture and Hold, Capture the Flag, Attrition and Free For All.
The difference with Dead Alliance from other shooters is that players are joined by zombies which roam the maps, all of which can be utilised as moving weapons. This is done by utilising a selection of grenades.
First up is the P.A.M. grenade. This affects any zombie within its blast radius, with those taking a hit turning into allies that look to hunt down the nearest enemy and tear them to shreds. Another grenade, the Enrager, is very similar to this, however it only affects one of the undead at a time. Nevertheless that one zombie will run at enemies with increased health and strength, proving a valuable weapon out in the field. Other grenades, or zMods as they are known in-game, include the Hunter grenade and the Chaos grenade. The former increases the affected zombies’ ability to hunt down the enemy, whilst the latter can affect both zombies and military personnel with an Electro-Magnetic shock.
Other gadgets available to players include the Distractor. This is something you will want to shoot out in order to lure zombies to the destination you set. The L.R.A.D. meanwhile does pretty much the same thing, turning zombies within its radius into allies.
There are six game modes for players to test each of these out on, with six different maps in which they are played. Unfortunately, finding a game in any of these already proves to be a near impossible task. Even after spending an extended period with the game, I was often left searching for twenty minutes or more to even find a game with limited players. And it’s not hard to see why players are already ditching the game.
Dead Alliance is another perfect example of a great concept that’s been utterly destroyed with the release of an unfinished product. From the few games of multiplayer I was able to engage in, the gameplay was quite simply shocking to say the least. With glitches and bugs prevalent throughout, terrible hit detection, constant blurring of the screen when moving, severe lag issues when aiming, and a general all-round lack of polish found throughout the entire game – all of which were present in the multiplayer beta just a few weeks prior to the launch – it makes no sense as to why the game was released at all in its current state.
The version I was able to go hands on with also came with the single player offering, but once more this was a major disappointment.
Whilst this allowed me to get a good feel for each of the different modes included, as well of each of the maps, the gameplay is full of the same bugs and glitches found in the multiplayer side of things. What makes things even more unbelievable is the fact that the solo play is pretty much a basic rip-off of the multiplayer side of things.
My expectations of a story to play through were quickly flattened by nothing more than an Offline with Bots mode and the Solo Survival option.
Offline with Bots is, as you would expect, nothing different to the multiplayer offering, except of course it comes with the added A.I. to play against on either Normal or Hard difficulty. Luckily the ability to earn XP is present within this mode, but with such unplayable gameplay it doesn’t take long to feel like you’re playing through a pre-alpha of an upcoming game rather than a full retail release.
Solo Survival brings an air of difference over proceedings, with players set in to a wave-based survival match, in which the air is contaminated and survival is met by staying within safe areas as well as holding off the zombie onslaught. Unfortunately, once more the basic gameplay issues found in Dead Alliance are in full effect and make for nothing more than a disappointing experience.
I have to admit that the initial idea of mixing a fast-paced first-person multiplayer shooter with a ravenous zombie A.I. sounds like something that would be an incredible success, but at the end of the day Dead Alliance offers an experience that fails to bring out the true potential of the idea. With the right development team and a fully polished end product, the idea certainly poses an interesting and potential game changer for future FPS games, but in its current state we are instead left with nothing but disappointment.
I was hoping to be blown away by Dead Alliance, but a dwindling player base, poor gameplay, terrible bugs and a lack of content make this just another disappointment within a once great genre. Even with a severe price drop, this is one game fans of all things undead don’t need clogging up their library.