Zombies in modern media have seen a real resurgence in the past decade or so, and with that in mind, the public wants to not just WATCH the heroes of the story, but to BE the heroes and make the same choices they make. But, since everyone is different, and not all heroes approach the apocalypse the same way, we need variety as to how to save the day and Dead Drop Studios LLC is trying to give that to us with their new game Outbreak Epidemic. Choose a hero of the broken world and try to find out what happened to make the dead come alive and save as many people as you can along the way.
Most zombie games have the fatal flaw of being very narrow in the choices you can make, or where you can go, and who you can use to do it. This is not so for Outbreak Epidemic as it lets you choose from several different characters and classes all with their own backstories, but also with their own strength, weaknesses, and weapon proficiency. You also have the option of single and co-op modes, but even in single player there are several different modes to choose from including campaign and realism mode. Once you have chosen your hero and their class, you can start your journey to survive the epidemic.
You begin your adventure on a badly lit road heading toward the nearest structure you can find. You will find a great amount of weapons and ammo, which sounds great, but you can only use the kind of weapon that your character can, and since this is not made clear right off the bat it comes off as confusing. It would have been better to just have the weapons you can use available. Even when you encounter your first undead, using the weapons is clunky, as you use left and right trigger to use a melee weapon, instead of the traditional X or Y button on a controller. But the worst part is the aiming, it feels like moving a stone to get the laser sight to where you need it, and even then it takes quite a bit to kill the zombies without perfect headshots.
When you are in battle, the animations for blood spurts look neon colored and silly, while everything else is going for a realistic, which makes combat feel weird. The character model is nothing to write home about, but the walking animation is incredibly awkward and looks more at home in a game of QWOP than a horror game. Even the menu and inventory have been ripped right out of any of the resident evil games with limited spaces and a heartbeat monitor. An indie game with lesser graphics is just fine, because there’s usually solid gameplay to back it up, but in this case it just makes it more noticeable and frustrating.
Independent games are an area of video games where plans matter more than execution, since they will never have the resources of an AAA studio, they have to put all their effort into a great idea that stands out from the rest. They can’t just rest on that idea of course, and have to bring it to life in a way that shows off their plan and expresses themselves. In this way, we can forgive lackluster polish and overused assets, but they need to make up for it with gameplay and originality, and that just isn’t the case there. Zombie games are a dime a dozen, and even with some lore and choices in character, it just doesn’t stand out enough.
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