Released: Jul 15, 2019
For an Early Access title such as Dead Frontier II, I was widely impressed by the game’s eerie atmosphere and simple gameplay mechanics that can most certainly come a long way when it comes to facing the undead in this open-world RPG that pits you and other players against the undead.
First things first, this is a sequel to the top-down perspective MMORPG Dead Frontier, a free-to-play title that can be obtained through your browser. I personally haven’t played it, but I’ve seen footage from multiple gameplay videos. Least to say, the sequel is nearly nothing like the original.
The game is a ton of fun to play, especially when you’re roaming the rainy streets all on your own as you search for loot, quest items, and essential weapons that will be utilized to blast the wicked brains of zombies away. Melee plays a big part in your survival, as you start off with a 2 x 4 by the entryway of a small town occupied by new players. Talking to NPCs is imperative to your experience: A couple sentences will be shared with you by the character to commence a quest that will be stored in your Mission Log. It’s here where you’ll obtain EXP and cash for the in-game economy that seems to be run by the players themselves. I got quite the kick out of selling and putting a price tag on a few melee weapons, where they were bought by unknown players in my Mailbox at the police station. The police station also houses the trader and trainer NPCS, who are usually crowded by other players trying to find the best items while attempting to sell some of their own. And of course, the blood and gore will satisfy just about every horror fanatic itching for that sweet red goodness. Just watch out with the boss fights; they’re particularly (evidently) a bit more difficult aside from your normal undead critter.
The gameplay is rather more simplistic than one might imagine. While the melee and shooting mechanics are minimalistic in your path to survival, your character eventually acquires perks through leveling up that hugely impact the game for you. Some of these are physical boosters, from dodging to sprinting, and others rely on increasing your stats, including how much weight you can carry, health regeneration, sprinting speed, etc. You receive one perk per level-up, so it’s best to get out there and start slashing away. Sneaking by zombies can be useful in sticky situations, but they always seem to know where you’re at, which can be annoying sometimes when you’re low on ammo and health and far into a building to go back now. Still, I feel as if that’s just part of the dangerous experience from a free-to-play survival game. I recommend running past them and hoping that the next room has a gun stashed by a corpse or a dresser. Or having a roadside buddy coming for your aide, stranger or not. It’s crucial to acknowledge the stats of your character, which play a huge role in your survival. Throughout the game, you’ll encounter a number food and drink items that are obligatory to your health. You need to stay hydrated and fed while also watching out for your health, so it’s best to use your backpack to your greatest advantage when it comes to your stats and current quest(s).
Dead Frontier II’s graphics and sound still need a little bit more work, though, especially the repetitive sound tracks that play in the background (most notably a screaming woman, as aforesaid). Not that the screaming is an issue, merely the lack of variety of back sounds is. While the graphics aren’t that huge of an issue, I did get slightly annoyed by some of the copy-and-paste rooms that would reside within a singular structure, but the overall graphic quality, on-and-off streaming, was effective for my gameplay experience. It’s smoother than one might think of it to be. It’s definitely one of the reasons why I return to the game. And the consistent rain from the outside adds more of daunting vibe as you run past hungry zombies while trying to loot the nearby trashcan in hopes of getting water.
If you like a more unsettling vibe when you play a horror game, I recommend giving this one a go. It’s free-to-play on Steam and it’s still in Early Access, so there’s more to come, indubitably. I can absolutely say that I will be looking forward to seeing what the developers do with this intriguing yet haunting horror RPG game. It’s unnerving, bloody, and it’s not even close to the final product, which makes it all the more captivating for a free video game.