I hate to criticise games, even those that receive it from other sources. Some of you may have noticed that I have a hard time criticising anything I have reviewed so far on this site, and you would be right. I try to keep an open mind about all games, and what enjoyment I can get out of them, however small. Alas, all good things must come to an end…
Developed by MoreGames Entertainment and published by Chillingo Ltd, Dracula: Undead Awakening is a top down shooter released on the PS Minis platform for PSP, PS3 and our lovely PS Vitas.
You control a vampire hunter and are tasked on taking out wave after wave of undead monsters and the odd vampire in 1 of 3 different arenas of your choice. Each arena has a theme, but to be honest that is as far as the differences go between arenas. They all feel very samey and none have any specific gimmicks to differentiate themselves from one another, bar the theme. You also have access to 4 different game modes: Survival, Super Survival, Rush and Wave Attack. These modes do a reasonable job of keeping things varied, but overall you are still left with the feeling that all seem very repetitive and too similar too make any real impact away from the original Survival mode.
However, you have a good selection of weapons that are unlocked gradually throughout your playthrough. These weapons range from crossbows and rifles to grenade launchers, flame throwers and more. The destructive power of these weapons improve the further you get into the horde, but you do need to gather ammo for them, which is dropped randomly, as is health from dead foes. This stops the game from becoming too easy as you can not always rely on one weapon to get you through. Also, vampires drop omens once defeated, and these omens are used to build up your overall rank, rather like an xp system found in most games nowadays.
Perks are another useful addition to your arsenal and these are unlocked once you reach certain score targets. Perks again are a varied bunch and can range from more armour and health, to faster movement and more powerful bullets. However, you are always given a choice between 5 perks at any one time and these are all chosen at random, so you can never be sure what you will have to choose from and this can give the game some variety in a small way. These perks however are not kept once you are eventually overrun and neither are your weapons, which means you always start off as your plain vampire hunter self and need to build your perks and arsenal up again from scratch.
Controls are very simple: The Directional pad or left/right sticks can be used to move your hunter around the map and the action buttons are used to direct your fire in the direction you want. No other buttons are needed and at least that keeps things simple enough while you battle through the undead hordes.
Unfortunately that is it. There isn’t much else to hold your attention and nothing to unlock as you level up your character. Your rank almost feels entirely worthless as you do not gain anything for ranking up, nor do you unlock anything for your effort, which seems to defeat the object of there being a levelling system in the first place!
Dracula: Undead awakening can be fun for short bursts, but even with 4 different play modes and 3 arenas the game becomes too repetitive too quickly, and with no real reward for your effort you suddenly wonder why you even bothered at all, which is a shame. The game ultimately feels like it is only part of a full game and in this case a singleplayer campaign with a more varied level design and a narrative of some description could have helped massively, particularly as there are a good variety of enemies to gun down within the 3 environments on offer.
On this occasion I am sorry to report that Dracula: Undead Awakening is not a game that I can recommend easily to anyone unless you really, REALLY enjoy shooters, and that is pushing it. My conclusion… the undead really should have stayed asleep!
At A Glance
- Title: Dracula Undead Awakening
- Publisher: Chillingo
- System: PSP Minis
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- PlayStation TV Compatible: Yes
- Memory Card Space Needed: 11Mb