Zombies Need Some Meat On Those Bones
Zombie games seem to be the go-to game to make nowadays, or at-least what everyone and their mother tries to develop, but sadly most of these games are really bland, and don’t give anything new to the genre. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some zombie action, and zombies sell well but I think before setting out to make a game featuring our favorite brain-eating, undead friends we should sit down for a moment, and actually think of ways to change up the game, and make it different before getting started.
Recently, we’ve seen a few titles that could be labeled worthy, and that push the envelope. We have ZombiU which utilizes the WiiU’s gamepad in ways that actually makes it fun to use (Read about our very own Sean Halliday talk about it here). Or, the Steam release of the free game, No More Room In Hell, which launched yesterday (but released in 2011) and features a co-op, objective dynamic, with the risk of being turned upon the death. The thing that sets NMRIH apart is that it has user-made level support, more melee weapons than over-powered firearms, scarce ammunition, and it’s actually tense, and terrifying. Then there’s the new Techland game, Dying Light which seems to be mixing free-running (parkour) and survival-horror into the same mix, and it sounds promising. However, I’m remaining skeptical as it does look extremely similar to Techland’s previous Dead Island games, which were kinda…crap.
Then there was the whole fiasco with the War Z (now renamed to Infestation: Survivor Stories) which I’d rather avoid talking about as most of you reading this probably know all about that shit-storm. Controversy isn’t fun, and that game is packed full of it.
I just think we need more zombie games to push the envelope a little more, and make them scary again. Zombie games don’t feel scary anymore, and they feel more like action than horror titles. Let’s go back to the days of the classic Resident Evil titles and start from scratch, make every interaction with the undead feel like a risk and that you might not make it out alive. In games nowadays I always feel comfortable, and know I’ll most likely find a way out. Dead Island never scared me, and I usually had a high-level melee weapon that would decimate any zombie that came after me. Add in the co-op with friends and the game would feel like a cake-walk at times, but instead of making the zombies a “risk” they threw in some over-powered, and boring special infected that didn’t do much for me at all.
I wanted to tread carefully, not risk alerting any zombies, but instead I’d run around beheading them, and just avoiding the special zombies because in most instances you could. Now, I did enjoy some of Dead Island but was mostly let down by the game, and the only redeeming part was dicking around with my buddies. Zombie games can be fun, but atleast try and make them scary, and have a sense of risk/dread to them.
That’s why I’m telling everyone to go check out No More Room In Hell. It’s free on Steam, has co-op, has zombies and it’s actually a blast to play and at times can be scary. The game requires thinking, and strategy. If you try and be “Rambo” like in most zombie games you probably won’t last too long. Working together is how you survive. The game is not easy, and it adds to the experience as a whole. Getting cornered with no ammunition, and only a hammer for defense can be truly terrifying.
Here’s the Steam trailer for anyone curious: