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Dead Age (Early Access)
Dead Age (Early Access) Dead Age (Early Access) Dead Age (Early Access) Dead Age (Early Access)
This is Dead Age. It's a turn-based zombie game from German developer Silent Dreams. I know you're probably sick of zombie games by now, but this isn't your typical Resident Evil or DeadRising clone. I've packed my green herb and extra shotgun shells, because I'm committed to figuring out what's going on in this Steam Early Access release. Let's crib this.

It's turn-based? Like Final Fantasy Tactics? Yes, it's turn-based, but definitely not like Final Fantasy Tactics. This isn't a strategy game, but rather a straight-up old school Japanese-style role-playing game set during a zombie apocalypse. You band together with other survivors to kill zombies in some pretty straight-forward turn-based action. You choose whether to use melee or weapons, what kind of attack and where it goes. And when everybody in your party has had a shot, the zombies take their turn. It's just like Lunar.

That said, the developer has made a Final Fantasy Tactics-style strategy game. Silent Dreams actually started by making Grotesque Tactics back in 2010. Their follow-up IP was a game called Holy Avatar vs. Maidens of the Dead. This too was a strategy RPG, so I understand why you might expect Dead Age to follow suit. But Silent Dreams appears to be trying something a little different, which is probably a good thing.

Okay, that's cool. But does it have a story? Sure, it's a zombie apocalypse. What more story do you need? Okay, fine, it starts out with a student who wakes up in the middle of an abandoned highway and fears his sister has been captured. He sets out on a quest to find her and eventually meets up with other survivors. The group forms a camp and the game becomes a tense survival experience where you're risking your own safety in order to bring back supplies for the camp.

Along the way you'll meet a bunch of friendly faces, some of which will spawn new missions that will help you bond. There's even a blossoming love story early in the student's game. And from the looks of it, Dead Age will have five playable characters, so perhaps that means we'll see new stories when going through it as the soldier or bodyguard. I'm curious to find out. But it's a role-playing game? Yeah, it has most of the typical RPG tropes. You can grind for experience, level up each member of the party, discover loot and equip new weapons and armor. The one thing it doesn't have is an overworld map where you wander around looking for random battles. There are also no dungeons. In its current form, Dead Age basically just has you jumping from one battle to the next with very little in between. Occasionally you'll search an abandoned bus or old truck, but don't expect the full Final Fantasy experience.

I know the game isn't complete and there's still a lot to be added, so I hope Silent Dreams adds more content between fights. It's a little barebones in its current state, but definitely bursting with possibilities.

Conclusion: You don't see a lot of turn-based zombie games, and this one seems to get a lot right. The graphics are a little rough and this build only has a few zombies to beat up, but it's on the right track. Dead Age is currently lists for $19.99 on Steam, which is a bit steep for what's currently in the package. I would probably hold off until we know more about what the finished game will include.
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