Niche Excellence in Zombie-centric ARPG Zombasite

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It’s commonplace within the game industry for developers to take a bit from their previous titles and incorporate features from them into newer games. We’ve seen it with Dark Souls 3, Grand Theft Auto 5, and Metal Gear Solid 5. However, it is not often that a developers seems to take ALL of their previous recipes and throw them together into a meaty new bowl of stew. That is what you get with Soldak Entertainment’s Zombasite which is great…in the right hands.

Zombasite is a strange breed of game. Now I don’t mean that in the sense that the genre is weird. Diablo style Action RPG’s (ARPGs) are nothing new, however it is the experience the game provides that is most eccentric. The synopsis of the game is simple; you are a tribe trying to expand but there is a zombie plague and several other tribes in your way.

My sword turns the undead into just dead every time.
My sword turns the undead into just dead every time.

From the point at which you create your character and load up your world, you are on your own. You aren’t given much direction at all other than the bounty board that is right next to you when you spawn, and it isn’t all that helpful for directions either. Your job is simple; keep your tribe alive, keep expanding it, and kill everything else. You get to experience the drama of a procedurally generated world full of unique and changing characters.

Zombasite has gone the route many games have begun to with the use of procedurally generated worlds. This makes sure that no two play throughs are perfectly identical no matter how much you try to make them. This results in worlds that are more challenging than others, and some that are much easier.

These tiger people are not zombies. They are just in the way.
These tiger people are not zombies. They are just in the way.

Along with this is the fact that the world itself is alive and changing. When you take a quest from the board that quest is also available to every other clan in your world. What this means is that quests are not simply something you can take and come back to whenever you feel like it. No, they will be completed with or without you. This helps to make the game feel alive. To help this mechanic even more are characters in your tribe who have their own personalities and might or might not get along, which can lead to problems down the road.

Speaking of down the road, we must go back down the road of Soldak’s past games to see what resulted in Zombasite. Soldak has put together all their previous ARPG’s into an enhanced version of Din’s Curse. You have the over world and clan system from Depths of Peril, the classes and the Diablo like dungeon diving from Din’s Curse and the quest system and diplomacy of Drox Operative. Mix that with classic Diablo style ARPG game play and you have a polarizing experience.

Hey, have you guys ever been to Mordheim? Just wondering...
Hey, have you guys ever been to Mordheim? Just wondering…

For people who have loved all Soldak’s previous games, you will love Zombasite. If you are an ARPG fan, you should get a kick out of it too. However, if you aren’t one of those things, this product may very well miss you. While I certainly enjoyed my time with the Zombasite, I wasn’t in love with it either. The gameplay is par for the course and the extra details are nice, but it may not stick with a lot of players.

There is unfortunately one area where this game falls short of the mark, and that is graphically. To be blunt, the graphics are just bad and poorly optimized for higher settings. The game feels very old, almost as if it were made in a vacuum outside the world and waited until now to release, unaware of newer and better graphics. Now I myself am not a huge stickler for graphics, however this game’s graphics seriously date it and that is not a good thing.

This happens everytime I go for a walk in this world.
This happens everytime I go for a walk in this world.

The sound design is simple and generic, nothing you won’t find in Diablo 3. Speaking artistically, and looked at as a whole, Zombasite is, unfortunately, a place where this game falters greatly. Whether or not that bothers you should factor into your decision to play or not. Note however, there is a free demo of the game available on Steam if you want to check it out without any risk.

At the end of the day Zombasite is a game that you may love. Currently sitting at $19.99 on Steam, which feels right, you may get more than your money’s worth if this is your type of genre, and love killing a lot of zombies along with everything else.

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