I’ve been looking for some more zombie video games this weekend and I stumbled across the free-to-play MMO Dead Frontier. It’s a 3rd-person shooter with an overhead view where you scavenge a city. Beyond that, I’m not quite sure what the plot is. The only quests, or missions as they’re referred to in Dead Frontier, are available by entering the Holdouts. There are 4 holdouts, so there are 4 missions per day. These missions are the same for free and premium users, but premium users get better rewards. Today I had to find a little girl’s doll… I felt like Darryl!
The combat is pretty straightforward. These zombies are slow and stupid, so kiting them is a snap. There are guns and there are melee weapons. You have to keep your guns stocked with ammo, which has been quite the challenge for me. I’m loaded down with ammo I don’t need and can’t find the ammo I do need. I would sell the ammo I don’t need, but I’m so far away from home base now that I just don’t care anymore. The good news is that once you die, you respawn at a holdout.
You begin the game at a holdout where you can access the Marketplace (Auction House), Arena (PvP), storage, a gambling den, and a few other amenities. The Marketplace was disparagingly
lacking in anything I really need, like guns buggy (don’t search in the All category, find a more precise category and search there). I suppose that’s where the free-to-play element comes in. You can purchase items such as guns with real-world money to make your play experience more fun. I’d be more inclined to do so were there more to the game.
I haven’t found much to do besides wander aimlessly about, killing zombies and looking for question marks. Loot is marked by corpses and vehicles that have a white question mark floating above them. You can find food, ammo, weapons, bandages, and “Tattered Papers” that I haven’t gotten to read yet. It seems you can only read the papers if you’re in a holdout. They were the notes from someone who witnessed the outbreak, unfortunately, it didn’t lead to a side-mission.
You’ll run into other players while you’re scavenging the city. You can chat with them so you can gain information. I saw lots of people asking where the doll was for the daily quest. I got lucky and found it as I was randomly wandering about. You’ll often get help from them if you’re up to your waist in zombies and, of course, you should help your neighbors as often as possible. Help when you can, but it’s also very easy to ninja loot from those question marks I mentioned.
Just now, I was running beside some other random stranger and saw some loot. We were both headed towards it, but I had a zombie to my right. I aggroed that zombie and led him over to the other guy who it then aggroed instead of me. The other guy was searching the loot, as one must do in the game, and had to stop to defend himself. I was able to sneak in and take $40 off the ? while dude was fighting off the zombie I put on him! Some may have a problem with this.
There are other holdouts in the game besides the one you start in. I have yet to make it to another one yet. The distance between them is quite long and there is no way to get there any faster. I kind of wish there were motorcycle or even bicycle mounts in the game. I know that once I get to another stronghold there won’t be any fast travel method so that’s a bit annoying.
Every so often, a holdout will find itself under attack. When this happens, get out to the entrance and slay the hordes of zombies that are coming in. Be careful if all you’ve got is a melee weapon. It’s pretty easy to get overrun during one of these raids. They can last anywhere between 15 minutes to over an hour and offer a reward based on how many zombies you kill. This will be a sneak peek at some of the game’s bestiary, which is actually fairly impressive. Some are weak and go down fast, some just don’t seem to die.
There does seem to be a rudimentary crafting system, in that you can improve items. The top-tier improvements do require cash tokens but you can make improvements with only the money you make in-game. It looks like certain classes, or professions, are given extra crafting abilities. The Scientist class, for instance, is able to create bigger, better medical treatments, which is nice. However, I’m not sure how it works. The Scientist class says it can CREATE more complex medical treatments where the Doctor class says it can ADMINISTER complex medical treatments. If the Scientist can create them but not administer them, I’d call that a real pain in the ass.
Dead Frontier takes a bit of an odd stance in terms of its classes. Some classes boost stats, some come with professions, some are purely role-playing. To me, this creates an environment where certain classes won’t be used because they have no purpose. Truthfully, I’m not sure how important the boosts from classes that offer them are. It seems that you can play this game alone, never interacting with anyone else, and be fine.
The game does have weather, which can limit visibility and adds ‘atmosphere’ to the game. You’ll find daytime, night time, rain, and fog environments in your travels. The foggy environment is by far my favorite. The fog combined with the creepy soundtrack make for a pretty eerie zombie killing experience. The different weather conditions also come with a variety of preset soundtracks, which can be altered even further by aggro on zombies.
Overall, the game’s got some things going for it. Its depth isn’t immediately apparent in-game, but if you do a little digging on their wiki, you’ll find that there is more to the game than just wandering aimlessly about.