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Dead Nation: Road of Devastation (PSN) Review

October 6, 2011 | Posted by Mark Salmela

Title: Dead Nation: Road of Devastation
Publisher: Sony
Developer: Housemarque
Genre: Twin-stick shooter
Players: 1 – 2
Rated: M for Mature

Dead Nation is one of my favorite downloadable titles on the PSN. From the developers that brought you Super Star Dust HD, Dead Nation is a top-down shooter that puts you in the midst of the zombie apocalypse. Dead Nation actually attempted to tell a story, with cut scenes and a somewhat interesting conclusion. Dead Nation’s first DLC pack called Road of Devastation allegedly picks up after the game ends, although the DLC doesn’t have any story and doesn’t make any references to the main game.

Road of Devastation puts you in control of either one of the main characters from Dead Nation, and your goal is to fight through increasingly difficult waves of zombies. Yep, it’s yet another version of horde mode. The difference in Road of Devastation is that you’re in a giant arena, and there are multiple pathways which give you different upgrades/perks. One path will give you additional weapons, one path will give you extra money, and the final path will give you additional armor. Each path has a different layout along with different zombies, and each time you reach the end of the level you go back to the beginning to do it again with harder zombies.

There’s a certain amount of strategy involved with Road of Devastation. Do you want to get the best guns right at the start, do you want to go down the path which will give you the biggest multiplier, or do you want to get cash which will allow you to buy more ammo or upgrades for your weapons? There are no checkpoints or save points in Road of Devastation, so if you want to make a serious run and get as far as possible be prepared to give the game a serious time commitment. Just like the zombie mode in Call of Duty games you can burn hours of even entire afternoons making runs at the Road of Devastation.

Going down the health route will set you in a forest area where you’ll encounter the expansion pack’s new type of zombie, a plant/human zombie hybrid. The zombies will spawn out of the foliage and will be tinted green. Besides that they charge at you just like any other zombie would. There’s also one new gun, a sentry gun, which is pretty fun to use. You start out with only the pistol and the machine gun, and you can unlock one new weapon of your choice every time you go down the weapons path. You can’t go down the same path two times in a row, so you have to at least alternate between two of the three possible routes. Each of the three routes also has one addition fork in the road, meaning there are a total of 6 unique paths through the Road of Devastation.

Pros

- Shooting zombies is still fun.
- Co-op is still a blast to play with a friend.
- The 3 different paths mechanic is a unique and interesting idea.

Cons

- No story
- Only 1 level with 6 possible paths through the level.
- Not the best execution of a horde mode.
- There doesn’t seem to be any real pacing to the game. Eventually the screen just fills up with zombies.
- Your guns, armor, and upgrades from the main game don’t carry over.
- Dead Nation felt like a well-designed game with attention and care, Road of Devastation feels dull and uninspired.
- The plant pathway is just horrible. It’s not fun to constantly melee/shoot plants to clear a path.

The 411


Not as much fun as it should have been.

Road of Devastation is a big let down. Dead Nation was an extremely well thought out game that was well-paced, had interesting design, had progression, and an interesting story. Road of Devastation doesn’t really have any of this. The forest area is overwhelmed with the same green plant, and the other two areas feel like they were ripped from the story mode but slightly altered. After the first few waves it seems like the game just throws whatever it can think of at you until you eventually get overwhelmed and die. I wasn’t expecting new cut scenes. I don’t even care about the story that much, but give us some new levels to run through, not your version of horde mode. Road of Devastation completely misses what made Dead Nation so much fun.

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Mark Salmela

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