By Steve Baltimore / July 5th, 2022
|Publisher||XSEED Games, Marvelous Games|
|Release Date||May 19th, 2022|
|Platform||PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, XBOX Series, XBOX One, Steam, Switch|
I’m not usually one for zombie games, but when I saw XSEED Games release Deadcraft I thought I would give it a go. I like games with a good crafting system and the top down Diablo style gameplay is something I usually enjoy as well. Let’s see if the game is a finely crafted zombie slaying adventure or just a pile of rotting flesh!
The gameplay here is a pretty simple affair: you go out into the zombie-infested world and slay the dead for materials needed for survival. You will also gain experience points you can spend on a skills tree that will unlock access to new crafting items and upgrades to your abilities. You will need to craft every item you can in order to survive the crazy humans and zombie hordes that await you.
At your home base you will place all of the facilities for your crafting and your garden. You will use these to craft all of the gear you will need to survive as well and grow your food and other things. Players can rest and recover HP and Stamina. These two things will recover when you sleep and the amount you get back will depend on how much food and water you have consumed.
Combat will seem really simple here at first since you only have a few zombie skills with some light and heavy attacks with your equipped weapon. There is, however, quite a bit of variety here. Each of the different weapons you craft will fight very differently. Crafting a knife, for example, provides quick, low-powered attacks, while using something like a weed whacker will change things very quickly. You can craft some guns as well, but I wasn’t very good with aiming mechanics here I stuck to the melee aspects of combat.
One of the more interesting things they did with the combat here is how you can craft your very own zombies to fight by your side. These are called “Frankies” and you will grow them in your garden along with your fruits and veggies. Now there is something I never thought I’d type in a review, but anyways. These are made as you slay the many wild humans that dare to cross your path. You can harvest their corpse and grow your very own little army. You can also use these to craft other placeables that will attack enemies automatically. Nothing like a turret cannon made with a zombie, right? I felt the team were very creative here, and I hope they look at different ways to incorporate this in future titles.
One more aspect of combat I would like to touch on is the zombie skills. As the game progresses, Reid will gain the ability to use some powerful zombie skills. These can be used to do things such as make a shield or eat random folks to recover some health. Doing these skills will consume some of your zombie power meter. This can easily be regained by eating or drinking food that is contaminated with the virus. There is a face meter at the top of the screen that shows Reid’s human to zombie ratio. If you drift toward the human side you will gain some max health and you will not be able to do any zombie skills. Going full zombie will cause you to stagger around and people will treat you as they would any other zombie found in the world.
While farming the dead is probably the most effective way to get materials, you can also take on missions from the various NPCs you find in the towns. These quests are usually pretty simple things like slay X number enemies or go from point A to B. These quests will pay out not only materials but some coin you can use in the various shops as well. Another means of gathering up items is to simply hustle it from the towns folks. Sometimes they will give up their goods and this will raise your wanted level only a little bit, but if they fight and you start slaughtering them there will be soldiers all over you for a period of time. You can always hang out back at your base until things cool off, and you will need to do this to complete some missions. Overall the gameplay is pretty fun for a while since there are a ton of different facilities, weapons and other items you can craft, but once you’re getting toward the end of the game this all feels a bit tedious. There aren’t a lot of different enemy types here and the game tries to make up for this by giving out some unique missions, but this makes you have to craft more of the same type of items to complete them, leading to a vicious cycle of grinding.
Deadcraft is a classic example of a game that is a good idea but it just needed a bit more fleshing out. Graphically everything looks great. The NPCs and enemy models have a lot of style and detail. The music really isn’t anything to write home about but it gets the job done, and the voice cast gives these characters a lot of personality. The crafting system is pretty fun and the combat is very seamless with a ton of different ways of dispatching your undead foes. The biggest problem here is there just isn’t enough mission and enemy variety and it seems to drag things out longer than it should’ve. The additional DLC content may take care of some of these issues, but I’m looking at the base game here on its own merits. That said, as it stands Deadcraft is a mediocre experience that could’ve been a lot better with just a few tweaks. If you’re a fan of Diablo style games and enjoy a bit of crafting, you’ll get your money’s worth at the $24.99 price tag.
Game was provided by the publisher for review.
action gameDEADCRAFTMarvelous GamesXSEED Gameszombies