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Game Info:

Dead Age
Developer: Silent Dreams
Published by: HeadUp Games
Release Date: July 14, 2016
Available on: Windows
Genre: RPG, Strategy
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: unrated
Price: $15.99
(Humble Store Link)

Zombies! Everyone likes to do the zombie; at least the video game industry does. Zombies are one of those things that can make you look at a game and go "ehhh I've probably played millions of games like this already." However, even if zombies are the boring vanilla swirl, the common and cheap white paint of the gaming industry, that doesn't mean you should turn away! Dead Age is one of those games that still has good value despite the common base of the genre. While not a perfect game by any means, it does enough to go beyond the sea of average zombie titles. This is Dead Age.
 
Dead Age starts you off as a protagonist you get to name and it throws you into the zombie apocalypse. When you begin, you only have access to the student class, yet you can unlock other classes later.  Your sister gets killed and after a brief tutorial you're taken to a safe haven to survive the apocalypse. Your job is to keep the camp safe and gather various supplies. As you build your team of survivors, you can assign them to different jobs to craft new items, keep yourself safe from raiders and hunt for food. As the days go on, survivors may give you quests and new quests will appear at random. When you go to travel to search for various forms of loot, you pick locations in the day or night and you try to survive as many areas as you can. Some areas may give you waves of enemies to face or may reward you with new survivors or special missions. The battles are turned based, similar to classic JRPGs. By leveling up various stats you learn new attacks and gain higher damage. Instead of the usual stats, such as strength and agility, you have to focus on the different weapons or medical and engineering skills. You'll also have to choose between combat stats and stats that help with the specific camp jobs. If your main character dies you'll start over from day one. However for every challenge you succeed in game, you'll earn medals which you can use to upgrade different abilities and unlock the other starting classes.
 

Dead Age
Highlights:

Strong Points: The gameplay is nearly flawless, it has an addicting feel to it yet you can walk away and pick it up and anytime. The challenge is constant without it being unfair.
Weak Points: The story's potential is wasted, all the story beats seem to be pulled from the wheel of zombie survival tropes. Visuals and music are nothing to write home about.
Moral Warnings: Despite being an average story, the characters have no moral backbone and you do have some brutality in a world filled with zombies.

So the big pull of Dead Age is the rather addictive gameplay. The story wasn't anything special at all, yet it was fun to use your imagination to fill in the blanks. The game sports multiple endings too, so keep that in mind when you beat the game the first time. With everything being turn based, the challenge will come from knowing when to continue in any given area on a day and when to give up. Party and time management are key here. The turn based combat is fun and will make people reminisce about the old RPG days in a good way. With those upgrades you can get after dying, they do give a noticeable boost yet the game doesn't seem extremely easy with my upgrades. Understand that these upgrades carry over into other play sessions after you lose. The challenge is always there without bending you over and hitting you on the head.
 
While the story's blandness doesn't affect the enjoyment of the game, the dry story still isn't something to look over. Everyone is a stereotypical zombie survival character trope. You'll have drunk soldiers, country hunters, as well as wild and crazy women. The characters were so cut and paste I almost expected to meet a hardcore quirky warrior with an odd weapon like a samurai sword. If you're not the kind of gamer who can get enjoyment out of turn based combat with good strategy and time management you will not enjoy this game. Sure you can name your character, but unless you think up your own story as you play, you won't feel connected to it at all.

Dead Age
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 78%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 80%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 9/10
Sexual Content - 8/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7/10

Other than the challenge and achievements the game doesn't offer much else. The graphics are around early PlayStation quality so nothing is going to really draw your eyes to it as far as art direction. The music is simple loops and has nothing creative about it. The backgrounds in each stage are boring and just thrown together to have a place to battle. Don't expect any location in the game to be the least bit memorable via visuals. If this game didn't blend its gameplay well enough to give that room for imagination as you play, I'd have probably found it a lot more boring than I did even with the challenges within the game.
 
Despite the characters being predictable survival story tropes, those tropes still have plenty of morality issues. None of the characters have a strong moral backbone and will gladly screw you over for survival first unless you provide for them and keep them happy. You'll get the common curse word here and there in the characters speech as well. While the graphics are low quality, you'll still have blood splatter effects and the sight of rotting flesh on most enemies.
 
Dead Age is truly a game built for the gamer all about numbers and strategies. While the game's world has a metric ton of wasted potential this doesn't mean you should pass this game over. If you want to see how long you'll last at the end of the world, give Dead Age a try.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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