In Dead Age, a Zombie outbreak has occurred. Nothing is clear as the undead roam the land, leaving chaos in their wake; where did these terrible creatures come from, is this an isolated outbreak or is the whole world exposed, is the government organising a retaliatory strike, is there even anyone else left alive? The order of the day is survival and luckily, you, controlling one of various classes of survivors, soon come across like-minded allies to ease the burden. From then on, it is a game of constant battles with the undead, scavenging meagre supplies and managing your group of apocalypse survivors, giving individuals jobs and, above all else, keeping them alive.
One of my major criticisms about this game, and I'll get the bad points in first this time, is that there is just no point to it - there is no narrative drive, no goal. The game is themed around lengthy survival during a Zombie apocalypse, asking the time-honoured question "how long can you survive?". Now, the game does allow you to answer this question in a relatively entertaining way without wrapping itself in knots with the complexities of community management. Basically, each survivor - the number and type varying on each playthrough though not being truly random enough to provide infinite possibilities - can be given one of a limited set of jobs every day. You, on the other hand, can - either solo or with a team from your group - go out into the Zombie infested world, completing a series of Final Fantasy style turn-based combat zones, picking supplies off fallen enemies when a battle is over. This brings me onto my next big downer, the game is very repetitive. Day after day, it's the same old routine, culminating in a long line of fights against Zombies. Don't get me wrong, these miniature battles are enjoyable for a while - thanks to the RPG system, you can mix and match the skills of individual party members strategically to create deadly combos. However, pretty quickly, the battles, after battles, after battles setup becomes frustrating - all the game would need is a scavenge job which had a random chance of detection by Zombies at frequent intervals and this repetitious problem would, if not go away entirely, but be significantly lessened. On the plus side though, the game is nice to look at; the hand-drawn graphics of the community-management journal being crisp and clear as well as wonderfully animated Zombies making up the battle-scenes; both the attacking few in the foreground and the idle wanderers in the distance, really bringing the game world to life.