Yet Another Zombie Game
Royal Ark’s Dawn of Zombies: Survival After The Last War tries to weave a personal story into one of the most crowded genres of all time. Predictably, this is easier said than done.
Developing a game that’s innovative and set in a post-apocalyptic zombie world is no easy feat. The Zombie Armageddon has been exploited time and time again, in the shape of comic books, movies, shows and video games. If you’re still playing a zombie game in 2019 and feeling a sense of excitement, you’re either playing The Last of Us, waiting for the sequel, or are one of those people who still tunes in to The Walking Dead. For some reason, zombies really resonate with our generation. Still, a lot of time has passed and too many of these kinds of stories have already been told.
Good Designs Can’t Make up for Story
DoZ begins as many other games have done in the past. You play a man who has no memories, thus becoming the perfect vehicle to embody you. As your character learns about the world they inhabit from scratch, meeting new characters, foes, and learning how to do things, so do you. The game’s basic plot is this: there was a great fire in the world that eradicated everything. Now there’s only radiation, hunger, mutants and, of course, zombies. People are now vicious, with everyone out for survival.
DoZ’s gameplay mechanics are simple and effective. Instead of having you tap at different spots on the map, thus moving your character, the game has a joystick at the bottom left of the screen. There’s also a couple of action buttons on the far right. These functions allow you to punch things, speak to people, acquire loot and interact with your environment. As you progress you’ll be able to access new clothes, weapons, and more, but there’s not a lot of variety with what you can do with these items, merely being cosmetic.
There’s also a big menu of crafting devices and customization options. While more tends to be better, at least in video games, this isn’t the case with DoZ. The game’s menu is cluttered and it has few instructions, quickly becoming a hassle to navigate. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the opening minutes of the game, especially when first interacting with it and while trudging through a slow progression of tedious tutorials.
There’s Enough Tutorials to Drive You crazy
Another hurdle that quickly rears its head is the use of in-game energy. This feature allows you to move from location to location, completing the game’s main story. Once you run out of energy, you have to wait an indeterminate amount of time to advance to new territories or pay extra to advance the story.
A couple of aspects that work smoothly are the game’s graphics and music. The game’s design takes a realistic approach, granting you with a wide variety of friends and foes. There’s animals, zombies, mutants, and people, all having distinct and memorable looks. When it comes to the score, the music is sparse and suspenseful. You can hear the obvious influence of Gustavo Santaolalla’s incredible The Last of Us soundtrack. It’s an accomplishment that DoZ’s music emulates those cues, creating an instant mood of loneliness and desolation.
While DoZ is not without redeeming qualities, the gameplay is clunky and the story doesn’t give you much to hold on to. While the characters look great, their dialogue is trite. The function of the joystick and the buttons are perfect for an RPG, but the battle mechanics are repetitive and without complexity. The game’s clunky mechanics end up eclipsing some of its best attributes.
DoZ: Survival After Last War’s is an RPG with decent music and graphics that do little to make up for the title’s lack of story or structure. It’s a game that’s only acceptable for the biggest of zombie lovers.