Dead No Head – Review
Follow Genre: Shooter
Developer: BT Studios
Publisher: BT Studios
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Dead No Head – Review

Site Score
2.0
Good: Nice voice acting
Bad: Unlikeable graphics, Various bugs, Bland gameplay, Detached story
User Score
1.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 1.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Developing games is an intensive and time-consuming job, especially when you are a solo developer who has to do everything on their own. Sometimes these games come out wonderfully, like Billion Beat, but other times the end product is utterly disappointing. Take for example Dead No Head, on paper the idea sounds great, but in reality, it ends up as an unpolished mess.

Story

The game begins with our protagonist waking up, or potentially being resurrected, by an unnamed shaman. He only says that Devon is looking for you and you must meet him. Upon questioning him, he just tells you to go look for Devon. The quest to find this mysterious Devon starts, but there isn’t anything guiding you forward. You need to find your own way through the empty lands and from time to time you’ll meet other characters, who are also headless. They won’t provide you with any useful information either, as they seem to have their own worries to deal with. Later you meet Devon’s tribe, but you get kidnapped by a rivaling faction, only for Devon’s tribe to come to the rescue. After this, you simply go look for Devon again, making the prior event feel somewhat pointless.

Story-wise you won’t get your money’s worth out of this game. The game’s narrative feels disconnected and there isn’t much incentive to keep you going. It feels as if the developer is still using a placeholder to eventually add an actual story to the mix.

Graphics

At first glance, the graphics don’t seem that bad, but this changes once you are in control of your character. The playing field is stretched wide and far, yet looks empty and riddled with items from the asset store. Soon after you learn how to walk, it is clear that the animations were not handled properly. All the characters move pretty woodenly, while environmental objects break apart like foam set pieces. During your adventures, you’ll notice that most items and enemy models are reused over and over again.

Sound

The sound design in Dead No Head is a bit of a hit-and-miss; on one hand, the voice acting has been done nicely. Your character spews out cool one-liners, very reminiscent of old-school action heroes. On the other hand, the music is pretty repetitive and instantly loops when you pause the game. Overall the sound quality of the music and effects are mediocre at best. The sound effects are mainly serviceable for the task at hand.

Gameplay

Dead No Head is a third-person shooter with RPG elements. You play as a headless protagonist who was resurrected by a shaman that tells us to meet a person named Devon. Left with many questions and no answers, you grab your trusty revolver and make your way through the empty open map. You will need to find your way with barely any indication of where to go. This can lead to some frustration, as some puzzles are not clear when they are completed, while others force you to backtrack a lot.

Even though the locations look empty, they are filled with hostile creatures. Luckily you still have your magic revolver that never runs out of ammo. Once you have killed a few inhabitants of this realm, you have amassed enough experience to level up. In Dead No Head you have the option to invest these points into new skills or to make your stats better. Certain stats can be leveled up multiple times, but they will reach their limit quite quickly. This caused us to reach our max quite quickly, also dulling down the fun of leveling.

At the start of the game, you need to select a difficulty, and this mainly influences how many items there are to be found in the containers all around the world. Sadly most of these are useless, as around 85% are stamina potions, and your stamina regenerates quite quickly without them anyway. Health, on the other hand, is a rare resource, and most of the time, you will be using your level up to heal yourself by increasing your health skill.

Not only is the dull gameplay hurting the experience, but the many bugs that are thrown in the mix don’t work in the game’s favor either. For an adventure game where you will be running and gunning all the time, there are some serious issues with bad collision detection, and upon being hit, you’d sometimes be propelled over the map, only to land in a deep hole. Trigger happy players will notice that trying to shoot your gun faster than intended will result in receiving ‘ghost recoil’. The latter means that your gun pulls up while there isn’t any shot fired. This can lead to frustrating moments when you are in firefights or trying to link up long-distance shots.

Controlling your character is pretty easy. The game plays like any other third-person shooter and doesn’t require too many buttons to make the experience enjoyable. However, navigating through the various platforming puzzles can be met with some frustration. Most of the time your character won’t react properly when trying to climb a ledge, making you think that you were going the wrong way. Sadly, more than often that specific ledge was the way to go, but the game simply would not register us trying to climb it.

Conclusion

Dead No Head had the potential to be an interesting game, but it feels like a rushed job without much afterthought. There isn’t a real story to keep you occupied, and the few characters you meet don’t really add any value to the experience. On top of that, there are still a lot of bugs present and the game needs some serious polish, especially for its current price tag on Steam. Even though the game had a fun concept, the graphical quality is also offputting, as it feels like a lot of cheap assets were used from an asset store. Nonetheless, credit should be given where it’s due, and we did very much enjoy the voice acting, which was the highlight of the otherwise forgettable sound design.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 1.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Dead No Head – Review, 1.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
MC_JP


Never give up on a dream. It might be a long nightmare, but one day it will change into a beautiful reality - MC_JP 2014

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