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August 2022


Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: XSEED Games
Developer: Marvelous First Studio
Release Date: May 19, 2022


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Xbox Series X Review - 'DeadCraft'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on July 13, 2022 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

DeadCraft is a simulation/action RPG where players must craft to survive in a treacherous world ravaged by zombies.

Deadcraft tells of a postapocalyptic world where meteors rained down from the sky and caused untold devastation. Of course, the meteors also carried a zombie plague. The one-two punch of doomsdays quickly destroyed civilization, and anything that did survive ekes out a living in Mad Max-style lands. Players follow the story of Reid, a man born with a unique half-zombie condition. He narrowly escapes the clutches of a man named Nebron, who had sinister intentions for the poor halfling. Upon waking up, Reid begins to plot his revenge … and a farm.

Farming is important.

At its heart, Deadcraft is a by-the-numbers survival sim. You awaken in a small dilapidated hut and need to build a functioning life. While the game has a main story, you spend a lot of time puttering around the environments and your farm to make sure you're well stocked with supplies. You need to monitor your heath, hunger, stamina and thirst. Allow any to drop too far, and you could very well die. It's all pretty standard in the genre.

While you might be wielding an ax in a postapocalyptic zombie hellscape, you're going to spend quite a bit of time doing other things. It's not quite on the level of a Stardew Valley, but you have your own little patch of land to farm. You can plant various crops and harvest them to either sell or use in crafting recipes. You can get zombie minions to take care of your farm without your input! You can even cross-breed plants or infect them with the zombie virus to create new and strange edibles.

Combat is also by the book. You can equip various weapons and attack enemies with them. There are the usual dodge/block/attack moves, so combat is fun enough in a hack-and-slash sort of way, but a lot of it boils down to getting better weapons and gear. In fact, you'll spend a lot more time farming to power up your character than you will killing things. (There are still a lot of things to kill, mind you.)

Reid's biggest advantage is arguably his biggest weakness. Due to a convoluted series of events, Reid was born half-zombie. Mercifully, this means that part of his body is creepy and zombielike, but the rest of him is just fine. In-game, this means that you have a "zombie meter" that measures your human and zombie sides. Being half-zombie isn't a big issue. Get to close to either side, however, and you'll start to get some negative effects.

Your zombie powers give you improved health and the ability to transform your body into various weapons or shields. The zombie weapons are extremely powerful and often the best way to turn the tide in a difficult battle. The more zombie you are, the more damage you do (but you also take on more damage). The downside is that if you pass a certain threshold of zombiehood, you'll begin to suffer, including shambling movement and the average person thinking you are a zombie instead of a person, so they'll try to kill you.

You can deplete your zombiehood by using powers. This drains your zombie power and in exchange makes you more human. That's a good thing, right? Well, sort of. Your zombie power is also what gives you enhanced health and attack power. The lower it gets, the more like a regular human you are, and regular humans don't usually survive zombie apocalypses. You can replenish this by eating and drinking food made from zombie parts, and a key part of being effective is balancing when you pump your power versus when too much is too much.

Deadcraft is fine. The crafting is fine, the combat is fine, the quests are fine, and everything is perfectly competent. It never really rises above that, though. There are no real major flaws or glowing successes. If you want a zombie postapocalyptic game that is more lighthearted in tone, then Deadcraft offers everything it promises, but it feels almost painfully unambitious for a game with a lot of neat ideas. It isn't bad, but it doesn't do much to stand out besides the half-man/half-zombie concept.

Graphically, it's nothing too special. The entire game has a shaded Borderlands-like comic book style that fits well with the lighthearted game's tone. The environments are rather dull, and the character models don't stand out much. Unfortunately, the same can be said about the music and voice work. There isn't a ton of it, and what it has feels workmanlike. It's not terrible, but it's a budget game, and it shows.

Deadcraft is a standard survival game with zombies and a budget price tag. If the idea interests you, then you'll probably get a good amount of fun out of the game, but if you're on the fence, it doesn't do anything to reel you in. If you really want a new survival game to sink your teeth into, Deadcraft might scratch that itch until a bigger title comes along, but if you're new to the genre, there are plenty of alternatives.

Score: 7.0/10

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