Let me start this review off by saying that zombie games are totally my thing. Racing against the clock, gathering supplies, and battling the UNDEAD SWARM all trigger that inner adrenaline that keeps bringing me back. Dead Drop Studios’ Outbreak is a top down survival-shooter that does the first two well, but falls a little short of the latter.

Story

Outbreak doesn’t do much to reinvent the mold here—desperate survivors are trapped in a hospital after a zombie outbreak, and they’re left with a myriad of unanswered questions. The game allows players to choose from one of four characters, one of which is a police officer with attributes that are the most ‘noob friendly.’ This leads me to believe Mason will be an identifiable police protagonist for this post-apocalyptic world (cough, Rick Grimes). Still, players are given access to text-based cut-scenes that set the stage for each campaign scenario, all of which can be replayed at any time. Drop Dead Studios get straight to the point with this one—survive the outbreak and escape.

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Level Design

One of the things that Outbreak does well, and I mean very well, is map design. Seriously, whoever designed that parking garage deserves a gold star because it was flat-out-next-level cool. Outbreak maps are for one thing, large enough to keep players guessing around every corner. I cannot stress how important it is to provide a landscape large enough for players to explore, battle, and of course, escape. These developers make no jokes when they spawn players in an abandoned hospital with virtually no direction. It is up to the player to roam at his own risk under low-light circumstances that create an ambiance necessary for player immersion. Flickering lights, stormy weather audio cues, and dark hallways will draw you deeper. Just be sure to crank those headphones up to maximum volume for the complete experience.

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Difficulty

Outbreak offers three difficulty settings, but newer players will not come close to escaping while playing on hard and biohazard. The title really is out to get you; forget about escaping from the underground tunnels and focus more on simply surviving. Zombies take no breaks while players casually read through menus and tutorial tips; they will find you and they will kill you. Players have a plethora of weapons at their disposal to use against their predators, including but not limited to 9mm pistols, grenade launchers, assault rifles, knives, and axes. Too bad that the ammunition for the big-boy guns are very few and far in between, and you’re left with nothing more than handgun rounds to deal with an endless respawn of walkers. Literally, they just keep coming until you’re fresh out of ammo, not to mention all hopes and dreams (and this was on normal, FYI).

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Gameplay

This is where the title really falls short, and it’s arguably the most important feature of any survival-shooter. Sure, Outbreak establishes a decent story early on that’s coupled with cool visuals and audio. Yes, the game has map design down to a tee, and I’d even go so far to say that the scenarios are the best feature Outbreak has to offer. Puzzles in the form of combination locks are there, a crafting system allows for item flexibility, and a small inventory keeps players on their toes. The heart of the game, though, is fighting back against the invading biters, and Outbreak fails to provide a stimulating experience. Shooting three rounds into a zombie is nothing more than clicking the right mouse button three times. While zombies can grapple players, the standard-zombie attack consists of undead growls when getting too close. Sprinting away from zombies didn’t come close to providing the thrill of escaping the clutches of death as it does in other survival shooters. The system lacks impact; combat isn’t poignant.

Outbreak 11_19_2016 12_16_15 PM

 

Outbreak Review: Survive the Night
Pros
  • Level Design
  • Compelling Audio
  • Puzzle Systems
Cons
  • Boring Combat
  • Difficulty Barrier
6Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
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About The Author

Anthony G
Review/Editorial Writer

From posting videos on YouTube to livestreaming on Twitch, Anthony enjoys immersing himself in all things video games. Starting with a NES, his love for gaming expanded into handhelds and eventually everything first-person shooter. When he's not shooting ALL THE THINGS, you'll find Anthony reporting on Ghost Recon as a Ubisoft Star Player.