Spooktober Entry #14 – Previous Entry: Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut // Next Entry: Killing Floor 2
Pffffffffft. Okay, a little backstory first.
Dead Alliance was announced in 2017, developed by Illfonic and Psyop Games. This was a month or so after the release of their other title, the notoriously buggy Friday The 13th. A lot of the community of Friday The 13th called out Illfonic and Psyop on the grounds that they would be leaving behind a game which, while incredibly glitchy, still had a fanbase that adored playing it. Fortunately, Illfonic eventually came out and said that they wouldn’t be abandoning it, and revealed that they were working on Dead Alliance at the same time as Friday The 13th, with no management shifts or roles changing.
It turns out they weren’t bullshitting. Upon further inspection, Dead Alliance was actually called Moving Hazard, and it was gaining some mainstream attraction while it was on Steam Greenlight. Upon watching videos of Moving Hazard online, I must say that it looked… really good! It looked stable, gunplay looked punchy and weighted, and the layout was clean and helpful. With that in mind, only one question remains then: what the actual fuck did you do to your fucking game, Illfonic? What is this neglected trash we got in return for our hype?
Dead Alliance is just Moving Hazard, but it’s Moving Hazard if Illfonic and Psyop broke its fucking kneecaps and forced it to compete in a race against other games coming out at the time. I don’t even know where to begin when dissecting this ugly monstrosity, as the knowledge of Moving Hazard broke me so hard, that I had to rewrite this entire review. Where do I even begin? Well, at the start.
For those who haven’t played Moving Hazard or heard of today’s topic, Dead Alliance styles itself as a MOBA with zombies. That’s a small part of the grand scheme of things, however, as the zombies are implied to have more of a part in gameplay than clogging up the battlefield, with them being easily manipulated in combat. You can turn them friendly, or have them frenzied in a state of unstoppable power, with more than 3 turning the tide in any fight. It’s actually kind of smart, and it allows for more strategic gameplay sometimes. There’s only one problem with that: nobody ever fucking uses it.
Whether you’re with AI or actual human players (which usually play worse than AI, in my experience), they don’t focus on the selling point on the game. This may be due to the fact that the AI is programmed to be on the same thinking level as the zombies, and the human players? They’re too busy trying to figure out why this game runs worse than the console port of 7 Days To Die because holy FUCK, this game is broken.
Name any function, any objective, or any rule that a game should abide by in order for it to succeed, and Dead Alliance defies that rule and sits in the corner, dribbling like the idiots who released it. There is not a single part of the game which works perfectly, with everything culminating into a mess that plays worse than the original early access game it once was. It’s such a mess, that I don’t even know where to start. Well… there’s what I think is the beginning, the loadouts.
It’s a normal routine, here. You get 3 choices of armour: Light, Medium, and Heavy. Bog-standard stuff, but Illfonic have made the incredibly restricted decision to limit each armour set to one weapon class each. Snipers for the Light, Assault Rifles for the Medium, and LMGs for the Heavy, respectively. This might not seem like that much of an issue, but paired with how bare-bones the rest of the loadout options are, it goes a long way.
With this knowledge in mind, now you have to work with some arbitrary bullshit design choices, which Illfonic thought was a good idea. The weapons are mostly customizable, with you being able to have up to 3 attachments, and a wide range of perks and killstreaks. What the game fails to tell you is that these items in particular are usually locked until some level you’ll reach after about 20 hours of gameplay.
Again, that’s all fine and dandy, it’s expected, all I ask for is an indication of some sorts, like a little padlock. Y’know, like all FPS shooters with loadouts use? Anyway, that’d all be forgiven, but now there’s a cash aspect to it as well? Okay, no, Illfonic, you can eat a bag of hammers. The level progression would’ve been fine but now I have to wait to experiment with my loadout? There’s isn’t even a Prestige option of any sort, why do I have to accept this currency stopping my chance to explore and use new items?
Regardless, it doesn’t really matter because the gameplay aspect of this game is so amazingly bloated and broken, it’s a wonder that the game doesn’t install with fucking crutches and a mobility scooter. Gunplay and movement is stiff and hard to control, the ADS doesn’t flow well and just locks into pre-determined spots, your controller explodes with vibration whenever a zombie kills you, the game runs at a consistent 15 FPS, and you get a few good ol’ game crashes for good measure.
What really, really fucking annoys me with all of this is that the map design, and the class setup is actually well thought-out, despite the latter’s ridiculous restriction. Maps like “Presidio”, “Seascape”, “Pier 70” and the MOBA-exclusive “Attrition”, all have really good choke points and design layouts that correspond great with the game modes that are provided. The classes also have a significant role with said game modes, from the Light Armour setup used to great effect in games of “King of The Hill” and “Capture The Flag” obviously. I only wish that Illfonic gave more than a tenth of a shit when it came to developing it.
The AI does well to ignore everything that Dead Alliance sets up. They don’t manipulate the zombies into their control, they don’t capture objectives, they don’t explore the maps looking for vulnerable prey to pick off, they all run to one end of the map to fight out with paths that you could code in 10 minutes without checking for faults. I can honestly say without a doubt, that this is some the worst multiplayer I’ve ever played in my fucking life, and the AI in Rocket League does more to utilize mechanics and tricks.
Dead Alliance Tips and Tricks! Never play online. Why? Because every game is a lagging nightmare that you won’t be able to escape. This might be due to the fact that there aren’t region-specific servers and there’s an average playerbase of 8, lumping said 8 World Warriors into the same game, but that’s not really acceptable. It’s a honest case of “Lowest Ping Wins”, and with my 6 or so hours online, the lowest latency I ever got was 300MS.
Where do you go from there then? Dead Alliance sells itself on this premise, and Illfonic doesn’t care enough for you to use it, leaving you with a multiplayer experience akin to online gaming on the Mars Curiosity Rover. Well, this depends on the edition that you buy, and partly where my unkempt rage originates. You’ve got two choices here: The Multiplayer Edition, or the Full Game Upgrade.
The Multiplayer Edition is literally that, you get to play online with people who hate themselves just as much as you do for buying this, and you have a grand old laggy time for $25. The Full Game Upgrade for $40, however? This gives you the opportunity to play with bots! Oh, and there’s a campaign! By “campaign”, I mean you get to play the same maps again with no differences to their multiplayer counterpart, and there’s only 5 of them. The single player… is literally just the multiplayer… with no bots. I just… fuck you, Illfonic.
I’m not even going to continue to comment on the half arsed attempt at a “campaign”, because it’s bad enough that the game itself doesn’t want to work anyway. BUT. You have the sheer audacity to release with the fucking insulting scam that is paying 15 dollars extra just for the privilege of playing with your pathetic AI? This is some absurd horseshit right here, people, and it deserves to be the worst game of the year for that reason alone. Paying 15 dollars extra just to play with bots. A new low, and I’m dead serious.
Dead Alliance is a failure, in every sense of the word. Illfonic and Maximum Games released this barely working abortion to the public without a care in the world, and I don’t understand why. Was Friday The 13th really that much of a failure that you had to claw a few pennies back with this abomination? What an absolutely miserable title. I got this turd on sale and I still feel sickened by the fact that I paid money for it.
Wait, Illfonic developed Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric? What a fitting final thought.
Fuck you, Illfonic.
An ugly, diseased freak of a title, that doesn't deserve the time of day that is thought about it. Let it be forgotten from now.