Oh look, another zombie game.
I feel like in the past couple of years, every other game features zombies (and I’ve bought my share, y’all). We all have Walking Dead fever, apparently. Feel free to skip the rest of this if you are so over zombies because Dead State: Reanimated has a lot of freaking zombies.
I think it’s important to stress that this is really two completely different genres of games mashed up into one. Not only is it an exploration game with turn based combat and loot galore, it’s also a base-builder sim where you have to manage the moods and desires of your survivors. If you can’t gather enough resources in the exploration part, you will lose. If you can’t manage to lead the survivors and keep them happy, you will lose. In fact, this game feels like it has a million ways to lose.
In case that doesn’t sound difficult enough for, there are three additional new game options to up the difficulty. Iron man mode limits you to only daily autosaves, PC Infection makes it possible for you character to get the zombie virus, and hardcore makes all the enemies more powerful. I really can’t recommend starting off with any of these. I’ve dropped quite a few hours into this game, and haven’t come anywhere close to getting to the end.
When you’re at the base, the two most important things you have to do are manage supplies and manage the community of survivors. You start out with a handful of people, and as you explore, you have the opportunity to pick up more people around the way. Additional people will give you new skills and more personnel for the jobs that need doing at the base, but they also mean more mouths to feed and more potential for interpersonal conflict. It’s one of the many challenging decisions you’ll face throughout the game.
The combat is fairly straightforward. When you enter combat, you’ll see blue and red squares on the map – red squares are either occupied or otherwise blocked, blue squares indicate where you can move. Your equipped weapon determines not only damage, but whether you melee attack on the diagonal, and how many action points it takes per attack. Human enemies will take more damage from bladed weapons, whereas the undead take extra damage from blunt weapons. If you have a character in your party with both medical skill and a medical bag, you can use some of your action points to heal party members. It’s also important to consider the amount of noise you make in combat – if you’re too loud, zombies will come to investigate the noise, making what might already be a challenging encounter even harder.
For seasoned veterans of turn based combat, killing zombies and looters may start to feel tedious quickly. However, for folks who have more of a background in builders & other sims, the combat may be overwhelming at first. Save often! If an encounter doesn’t go your way (causing party members to even die or get infected), you can reload and try a different tactic.
You do have some control over the skills and stats of your character at the creation screen and while playing, however, other survivors have set stats when you meet them, and will improve based on the jobs you give them. A character in the party who always attacks with a melee weapon will get better at melee. A character left in the base to perform repairs will improve in mechanical.
Dead State: Reanimated surprised me with it’s depth – it’s not just another zombie shoot ’em up. Survival isn’t just about not getting killed. Lack of food or medicine, or poor decision making can also mean the end of your little corner of society.