March 15, 2021

Dead Age 2 Review - Bitch Slapping the Horde Back to Hell

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TL;DR: The sequel to Dead Age is back to bitch slap the zombie horde back to hell.

Zombies, Goblins, Mutants. Oh my!

After countless missteps by countless developers, I can finally say that I've played one of the best turn-based RPGs in a long time. Don't get me wrong, Dead Age 2 isn't perfect as it has its own significant missteps, but so much is done right that you quickly forget about its shortcoming.

While Dead Age 2 carries on where the first one left off, you don't have to play the original to get into the story since the basics are pretty much the same. You put together and command a squad of characters, each with different abilities, and fight against a horde of zombies in a post-apocalyptic world.

dead age 2
It actually looks pretty nice.

Only a face a mother could love

The missions take place in a variety of environments, but one thing is constant; you're going to have tough brutal fights that demand tactical acumen, smart unit movements, and more than a bit of timely, ass-saving luck. While the scripted missions are uniformly well developed, the random missions and side quest are less so, but they're crucial for gameplay since it allows you to develop your characters the further into the game you go.

You're going to have tough brutal fights that demand tactical acumen, smart unit movements, and more than a bit of timely, ass-saving luck.

While some of the missions and dialogue can get long-winded, it's the action that pulses throughout the game that saves it. Every mission offers new challenges to experience from being pinned down by a horde of zombie goons to desperately trying to claw your way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Whether you're clearing a post-apocalyptic town or blasting your way into a heavily fortified position, Dead Age 2 is filled with the sort of gaming moments you don't forget.

And a lot of those memorable involvements are due to the way the developers have utilized the Unity Engine. At its highest settings, the game looks utterly gorgeous and well-detailed. The game world immediately begins to reflect the conflict that's all around you. Every rubble, every explosion, every bloodstain, is meticulously designed to make you feel like you're a part of this living but horrific world.

Every rubble, every explosion, every bloodstain, is meticulously designed to make you feel like you're a part of this living but horrific world.

dead age 2
Ahh, the safety of a wooden house against an undead horde.

You're not a zombie, right??

As if the flanking, feinting, and fighting wasn't enough, the RPG development adds another rich layer of strategy to deal with. You can arm your squad with skill sets that accrue experience over time.

Additionally, each class has a sprawling set of perks, one of which you can select each time you level up. There are real choices to be made here, which allows you to almost custom design your own class within a class. Add to that the large assortment of weapons at your disposal and you'll have plenty to manage your squad with before, during, and after the fighting is over.

With so much done so well, it's a real shame that Dead Age 2 suffers from the traditional problems plaguing most turn-based games. For one, the tutorial is long and overly done. I understand that games like this are complex, but hey, many of us have been playing since the days of XCOM so we know what we're doing.

With so much done so well, it's a real shame that Dead Age 2 suffers from the traditional problems plaguing most turn-based games.

Second, the performance issues are a hit and miss. We've played the game on two machines: one on a 1080 GTX rig and one with a 3090 RTX and got choppy performance on the latter. Go figure.

Overall, Dead Age 2 is a solid sequel to the original game, looks fantastic, and adds party-based elements that up the replayability considerably. Anyone that loves RPGs, solid storylines, and challenges, should definitely add Dead Age 2 to their collection.

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