With titans of the industry constantly vying to bump up their server numbers, there’s little room for B-tier multiplayer games to come in, looking for a piece of the action. Truth is, games like Dead Alliance are a dying breed and have been for a long time, and we’re not talking about the kind that gets back up after it’s been bitten.
Dead Alliance has a simple premise, taking your run of the mill modern military shooter and dumping a horde of zombies smack bang in the middle. It’s a pretty unimaginative set up, latching onto the popularity of more established games like DayZ and H1Z1. However, without the focus on survival and progression, there’s just not enough substance to Dead Alliance. This is a straight up competitive shooter and a pretty bad one at that.
Your regular clutch of game modes are here including deathmatch, capture the flag, and other familiar objective-based variants. No matter which one you happen to drop into, expect to find yourself barging through an increasing mass of the undead, idly roaming around, taking a little nibble if you come too close.
In fairness, Dead Alliance does have one or two interesting tricks up its sleeve. As a special operative trained to fight in “Zulu” occupied warzones, there are certain weapons which allow you to manipulate zombies. There’s a certain sense of joy gleaned from gassing a pocket of undead shamblers, forcing them to chase down and attack the nearest enemy.
The only other aspect I found remotely interesting was one of the game modes named Attrition, in which the map is split between two lanes and a neutral “Jungle” in between. Clearly inspired by the MOBA genre, there are even zombie minions that rush down both lanes to help their teams push ahead.
It would be interesting if not for the ridiculous, game-breaking bugs I encountered during my time with Dead Alliance. During several games of CTF, one team’s flag simply wouldn’t spawn, meaning a landslide victory for their non-glitched opponents. Similarly, in Attrition, I’d attempt to seize a checkpoint, only to find that the capture bar wasn’t appearing on-screen.
Regardless of whether you enjoy the slick and snappy Call of Duty or something a tad meatier like Battlefield, Dead Alliance is trapped in a janky, inconsistent middle ground. While passable, there’s nothing rewarding or skillful to the gunplay whatsoever, and even less so when gunning down zombies.
Although there’s a solo survival mode on offer, it barely managed to hold my attention. Players simply run between bubble-like safe zones shooting at bigger waves of zombies as they wait for an extraction. It’s by the numbers stuff, providing nothing but a distraction from the rest of the game.
While I liked a couple of the ideas behind Dead Alliance, they’re not capitalised on to create something truly interesting. What we’re left with is a painfully generic, often broken online shooter that’s begging to be put in the ground, preferably under ten feet of quick-set cement.
Version Tested: PlayStation 4 Pro