Dead Age (Review) Xbox One

Dead Age (Review) Xbox One
Review Score:

An unknown virus is turning the citizens of the United States into flesh-eating zombies, and there is no way to control it. The entire country is soon plunged into chaos, as the virus rapidly spreads across the continent. Those who were prepared for such a disaster end up surviving the initial onslaught, but that was only the beginning. The streets are now unsafe, and uncertainty exists around every corner. Survival of the fittest now has a new meaning.

Dead Age by developer Silent Age is a turn-based Survival RPG that claims to be like ‘Final Fantasy’, but with zombies. While this assertion is not completely accurate, there are elements seen throughout that indicate that  Square-Enix’s long-running RPG series was, in fact, the inspiration for this title.

As the game’s protagonist, the player must survive the apocalypse by building a camp; scavenging for resources; and finding survivors who can help navigate the undead-infested streets of America. Like most role-playing games, Dead Age starts with a detailed tutorial that explains the in-game mechanics, including how to equip clothing, weapons, etc. The player is soon introduced to a survivor named ‘Sheriff’, who happens to provide ammo, a medkit and combat assistance. From there, the game is centralized around maintaining a camp, completing missions to level, and scavenging for food and materials.

The bulk of the gameplay is spent reading a lot of dialog. As the game progresses, the player is given choices that can affect the outcome of the story. For example: if an abandoned car is found, the player can choose to either search the vehicle or move on. When a search is conducted, the player must select a party member with enough ‘cunning’ to complete the task. Succeeding usually results in finding the necessary materials needed for survival. Dead Age contains many scenarios like the one mentioned above.

Like the series that inspired it, Dead Age uses a turn-based combat system. From the ‘action’ menu – which is located at the bottom of the screen – the player can select between basic melee attacks, weapons (if they’re equipped) and special skills that use AP (Action Points). Where weapons are concerned – Shotguns and Assault Rifles can produce single-shot attacks (targeting single enemies) and ‘spread’ shots that can target entire groups of enemies. These skills work best on ‘hordes’, which contain multiple groups of zombies. However, it’s important to mention that ammo is a limited commodity in Dead Age, so being trigger happy will only make the game more difficult later. What seems to work best – especially later in the game – are melee attacks on the first half of the zombie horde, and then using firearms to dispatch the rest.

Party members earn XP (experience points) after every combat encounter. When a character finally levels, they earn ‘Skill Points’ that can be used to enhance their skills. These ‘points’ are used in a ‘Combat Skill’ tree that is divided into six categories – Melee, Handgun, Shotgun, Assault Rifle, Engineer and Medic. In addition, there is a ‘Job Skills’ tree where Skill Points can also be spent on enhancing a character’s Survival, Crafting ability, Medical knowledge and overall Cunning in the field. These skills will help party members perform better during combat, and they will make scavenging for resources easier.

Graphically, Dead Age uses still panel drawings (similar to a comic book) to depict its story. The overall presentation feels like a Visual Novel with some interaction thrown in for good measure. The Combat sequences are the only part of Dead Age that contain animation. The 2D sprites that represent the player’s party – and the zombies that are encountered throughout the game – look great overall, and the animation is decent to say the very least. The backgrounds do a great job of  capturing the game’s post-apocalyptic theme. For example: during combat, the backgrounds are littered with abandoned cars, dilapidated buildings and cracked roadways. It’s a chilling depiction of how quick society would collapse during an epidemic of this proportion.

Despite claims of being like Final Fantasy, Dead Age plays (and feels) more like a Visual Novel with turn-based combat thrown in for good measure. This isn’t a bad thing, though. While the main adventure can be slow (and sometimes a bit tedious), the combat sequences are fast-paced and a lot of fun to play. In fact, they end up being Dead Age’s saving grace.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Xbox One
Developer: Silent Age
Publisher: Headup Games
ESRB: M (Mature)
Price: $14.99

Dead Age Official Website:

Review Score
The overall presentation feels like a Visual Novel.
Groans, moans and screams round out the experience.
Combat is fast-paced and a lot of fun to play.
While not perfect, Dead Age is a decent Survival RPG with a good story.
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