Life or death?

It was late 2010 when Dead Nation first appeared on PlayStation Store. Made by a team very experienced in the shooter genre, the game offered a fresh and interesting take on zombie-based twin analog shooters, putting us in the shoes of two heavily armed survivors determined to eliminate as many undead as possible, on a desperate journey to what could be the last hope for what remained of humanity.

The title was the star of the "Welcome Back" package the following year, offered by Sony to all PlayStation Network users as compensation following the well-known problems due to the violation of the digital platform by a group of hackers. A sort of "dress rehearsal" for the Instant Game Collection, we could say, which contributed to further spreading the Housemarque product among PlayStation 3 owners. Last month it was therefore the turn of Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition, a re-edition for PlayStation 4 with improved graphics and the inclusion of the Road to Devastation DLC, with its extra modes "Arcade" and "Without End", able to further enrich the offer. The circle closes today with the PlayStation Vita version, a reduction of the 2010 original and available both in the standard format (7,99 euros) and bundled with the aforementioned expansion (9,99 euros), the latter also for sale separately (3,99 euros). However, those who already own the game on PlayStation 3 will be able to download it for free thanks to the cross-buy function.

Dead Nation remains a great zombie shooter, but the PlayStation Vita version disappoints

Us against the world

A portable reduction of Dead Nation was not only in the air, but it also seemed desirable, given the potential that twin analog shooters are able to express in a mobile context. However, it is also true that we are talking about a now rather old title, which practically everyone has played, which makes this umpteenth edition more a "due act" than the answer to a real need, which is not simply to increase the playroom. of PlayStation Vita with a shooter that can still have its say and count on a solid foundation.

There have been no variations in the campaign (which can be faced both in single player and in online cooperative multiplayer mode) and in the levels that compose it, full of zombies to be cut down thanks to a less impressive arsenal than the Apocalypse Edition for PlayStation 4 but far from it that skimpy, in which assault rifles, light machine guns, shotguns and various heavier attack tools are on display, all upgradeable through a mechanism that uses the money collected in the scenarios, found in the crates or in the hoods of abandoned cars , and which works in parallel with an armor customization system that can offer us balanced characteristics of strength, agility and endurance. Even though starting from a tested and engaging gameplay, the experience of Dead Nation on PlayStation Vita begins uphill due to a fairly serious problem with the controls. The analog sticks of the Sony portable console are in fact too small and sensitive to allow us to aim with the right stick and open fire by acting on the R dorsal without the pressure not making the device wobble and, therefore, resulting in the loss of the target. The only way to remedy this drawback is to remap the keys (luckily it is possible to do it completely free) and assign fire to the left backbone, a solution that is all in all valid but which inevitably makes gunplay lose charm. The developers could have opted for an autofire operated by the right stick or insert an assisted aiming system to maintain accuracy, but they did not and this clearly affects the enjoyment of the experience.

PSVita Trophies

Dead Nation contains a total of thirty-five Trophies, obtainable by completing the various missions of the campaign, collecting all the pieces of armor, upgrading the weapons to the maximum and dedicating oneself to "numerical" achievements: burn a thousand zombies, kill five hundred with melee attacks, score a certain number of headshots and so on.

Little zombies

The presence of only two backbones on PlayStation Vita inevitably influenced the layout of the controls, forcing a small revolution that in many ways distorts the original Dead Nation setting. If on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 it was in fact possible to play using almost exclusively the various L, L2, R and R2, on the Sony portable console it was necessary to resort to the main buttons for recharging, melee attack and shooting. , which forces you to leave the weapon momentarily and causes you to lose some inspiration in maneuvers, especially evasive ones.

The controls are not the only flaw in this conversion, however. On the one hand we have indeed a rather dancing frame rate, which drops in a more or less conspicuous way depending on the amount of zombies displayed at the same time on the screen, which makes the excited moments rather chaotic and confused, further worsening the shooting accuracy; on the other hand, the problems of poor visibility already reported for the "major" versions do not derive any benefit from a smaller display, indeed it is practically obligatory to increase the brightness from the options to be able to distinguish well figures that are often tiny but no less lethal for our alter ego. Beyond the goodness of the original system, which holds up well despite the almost three and a half years since its debut on PlayStation 3, the picture outlined by this new edition of Dead Nation for PlayStation Vita is therefore largely below expectations due to some questionable choices and a general lack of optimization.


Version tested: PlayStation Vita Digital Delivery: PlayStation Network Price: € 7,99


Readers (8)


Your vote

Dead Nation remains a great shooter and the recent PlayStation 4 edition proved it, however the PlayStation Vita reduction suffers from rather glaring problems, which we wonder how it was possible to ignore in development. The excessive sensitivity of analog sticks required corrective measures that have not been implemented, given that the lack of precision heavily affects the quality of the gameplay, and in the same way it is unacceptable to see so many drops in frame rates compared to graphics. yes detailed and with many moving elements, but certainly within reach of the Sony portable console.


  • The cross-buy makes it free for many people
  • Dead Nation remains a great shooter ...
  • ... but the portable version seems to have been made "just for"
  • Problematic and non-optimized controls
  • Graphics subject to frequent drops in frame rate

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