Game Review: Dead Block (PSN)
Release: July 2011
Genre: Strategy/3rd Person action
Developer: Candygun Games
Available Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Players: 1-2 (local only)
ESRB Rating: Teen
Dead Block is a zombie game unlike most zombie games out there. Whereas in most titles on the shelves, the goal is to grab a gun and start making with the head shots, Dead Block has you hunkering down in one cubby hole to the next- fortifying windows and setting up traps for the dim, shambling undead to walk into. It’s an interesting concept, but the question is does it work? Well, there’s a little yes, and a whole lot of no.
In Dead Block, you play as a rotating cast of three survivors. There’s Jack Foster, the construction worker. Mike Bacon, the boy scout. And last but not least, Foxy Jones… because every kitchy, retro work of fiction needs a dose of Pam Grier. While Jack, Mike, and Foxy each have their own unique special abilities that help in your defense against the undead, the actions of boarding up windows and setting traps remain consistent between the three.
Each level in Dead Block is a different location within a small town that you’re fighting your way through, and they’re pretty standard horror fare- home’s, abandoned buildings, etc. The ultimate goal in each level is to hold back the undead long enough to discover and assemble a guitar and amp rig- pieces of which are hidden throughout the level. It’s at this point that you enter into a Guitar Hero-esque mini game where you play rock and roll until the heads of all the zombies around you pop. It’s a weird mechanic, but kind of fits within the confines of the game’s narrative.
There’s lots of appeal, and even more potential, contained within Dead Block. It’s a game that you want to like. The look and design of the world is fun, and the core concept of zombie defense obviously has some sticking-power. Running from room to room in an attempt to juggle all the various tasks at it’s best is truly engaging.
All of that being said, the game falls far short of being where it needs to be. While the concept may be solid, presenting it in third person with a claustrophobic camera wasn’t a smart move. When you need to be able to see everything going on around you at all times, and you can’t, that’s a huge road block. In addition, everything you do in the game is repetitive to the point where if you’ve played up to Foxy’s introduction, you’ve seen everything the game has to offer. There’s no variety at all.
Dead Block could have been a solid release had it been thought through a bit more before going into production. Something between Call Of Duty’s zombie mode and Plants vs. Zombies sounds appealing, but as a dish, this game just isn’t done cooking.
-Great art style and presentation.
-Has the makings of a fun title.
-Repetitive and restrictive in all aspects.
-Maybe worth buying if on sale, but not at full price.
5 out of 10