Raising the dead has never really become a popular craft that has captured the hearts of everyday society, instead always frowned upon and regarded as the work of mad scientists and unfavourable seedy characters. In Undead Horde you play as a necromancer in his crusade to raise all manner of undead creatures, bringing death and destruction across the land. Now, while this may sound like a lot of misery and despair, in the hands of reliable developer – 10tons – it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Undead chickens, anyone?
The clever thing about Undead Horde is that it mixes a lot of different game genres to come up with something which is completely original. Yet at the heart of it, we have an RPG action game that mixes real-time strategy and a good old fashioned hack and slash, playing as this necromancer who is trying reclaim the land for the dead, battling the living in the process. The story is silly yet good, running much like a Horrible Histories in its style with a ton of good jokes and colourful horror.
You play the game walking through numerous levels with a particular set of commands. You can just get into your own stride, piling into a group of enemies swinging your weapon and using your magic ability, if so required. But I’m afraid you won’t last very long. See, the clever bit of Undead Horde, and the selling point I feel, is the ability to raise the dead of your fallen enemies who will, in turn, start fighting for you. Say you’re walking into a fight with a couple of undead fighters and they kill a couple more… you can raise and re-animate the fallen, thus building your army and conquering the land on the hoof. In fact, you can raise anything that attacks you and that soon spreads through soldiers, archers and knights, to creatures like the bear and the wolf. The more enemies you kill, the more you can raise up and build your army in battle. And as you progress through to the latter stages, you gain heroes which see the cap of how many walking dead you can have in your army increasing. This allows for some absolute mayhem, and so picking how to balance your undead army, along with a decent strategy, is hugely important.
You will generally get a range of main and sub-quests given to you by speaking to skeletons found hanging around in cages. The quests are all good fun, but fairly simple and mostly involve going to a location and killing the army of good. There are epic boss battles and a whole host of creatures to fight – all of which can be raised from the dead as your army.
A good few RPG elements drop into play here as well, where you level up your character and gather up fate cards letting you choose which elements to utilise in order to update your stats as you progress forward. You can also gain some sweet, sweet loot – basically magical items and weapons – and with the provision of an underground home hub which you frequent when you die, you can use the gold you find to buy weapons, charms, bracelets and magic abilities. It’s simple to create the perfect undead horde.
I’ve really enjoyed my time with Undead Horde and the original concept is a good one; I challenge you to get bored with the idea of raising the dead and commanding them into battle for you. The game does get quite tricky at times though, but Buffs are key here – whether it’s in the form of magical shields or fire weapons for all. It could be said that some sections do get a bit repetitive as well, but there is always something around the corner to put the smile back on your face.
Undead Horde on Xbox One provides a cartoon colourful world that is playful and doesn’t take itself too seriously. The characters, creatures, and enemies are all designed with that visual template in mind and it’s so easy to buy into it. Seeing chickens and bears fighting along knights is one of my personal highlights of the year.
Everything in Undead Horde combines to bring a pretty damn great experience that is a whole lot of fun to play through. It’s a big old game for the price asked too, and so if you buy into the whole experience you’re going to find a lot bang for your buck; the addictive element of wanting to unlock all the heroes, allies and creatures as your undead army grows is too hard to ignore. I have at times had to repeat sections a few too many times due to my undead army struggling carry out orders, running off for no good reason, but never has this been enough to ruin the experience.
In fact, I would highly recommend Undead Horde if you want some seriously fun gameplay – or just want to raise undead chickens to do all evil.