Deadman’s Cross Review

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Title: Deadman’s Cross
Developer: Square Enix
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 190 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Currently Unavailable
PSTV Support: No

Free to Play games are a breed that we have covered before, but not in depth.  We’ve done one or two free-to-play game reviews across the PlayStation Vita as well as PlayStation Mobile.  The one thing to note about FTP games is something that I’m sure any of my readers will immediately think of.  When a game is labeled as free, we expect no less than a grindy game packed with Micro-Transactions so we will be pressured into paying real money to play the game as it was intended to be played.

Mobile is the primary platform these games spawn on.  Every so often, though, some of the more popular Mobile games will cross over to the PlayStation Vita as well.  These games then have button controls and trophies, but still have those Micro-Transactions for you to purchase as you play through the game.  We have done some reviews on these, having gotten far without spending a dime on the games at all.

Today’s review is another example of this, though more well-known than our past reviews.  Last week, Square Enix released a game on the PlayStation Vita.  It’s not every day the Vita gets a game from S-E, but we ended up getting one of their Mobile games, and a free one at that.  Packed with all the same content as its Mobile counterpart, here is our official review of Deadman’s Cross!

Story

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The plot of Deadman’s Cross has you taking the role of a man whom has been locked up in his apartment for 3 months.  Before the game takes place, the government declared a state of martial law, ordering all citizens to stay locked up in their homes indefinitely.  You were given no reason for this, but followed anyways.  3 months later, however, you got tired of being locked up in your apartment and ventured outside to find a zombie apocalypse waiting for you.

In the apocalypse, the government is gone and everyone fights for themselves against zombies, which are called Deadmen.  A virus had spread through the world turning everything it infected into these Deadmen monsters including people, animals, and plants.  The twist is that when a Deadman is shot down, it isn’t killed, but rather tamed.  With this twist in progress, people began hunting and capturing Deadmen to use to protect themselves as well as have battles with one another with their own teams of Deadmen.

The plot of Deadman’s Cross isn’t the greatest zombie apocalypse tale there is.  Don’t expect any deep story characterization like in The Walking Dead, but it’s enough to be interesting and set up how the world works.  The story will also progress as you do jobs so you can learn how this happened in the first place.

Gameplay

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Deadman’s Cross is a card collecting/battling game with shooting, RPG, and adventure game elements thrown into the mix.  The biggest point of the game will be collecting cards and organizing them into decks for battling it out.  Collecting these cards, however, will be varied.  You will be collecting and buffing through a lot of tasks from shooting down enemies to crawling through dungeons and taking part in jobs and events.

The first thing you should know is that Deadman’s Cross is a game that must be connected to the PlayStation Network at all times.  The moment you disconnect from an internet connection, the game will give you and error and will not run.  This is a normal situation for Mobile games, but unless you have a 3G Vita, you’ll have to be tethered to a Wi-Fi Access Point to keep playing the game, regardless of whether you use Multiplayer/Social features or not.  Another point to note is that you can import your Mobile save data into the Vita version.

When you play the game, you will have a World Map of the island you’re on with a few different areas you can visit.  The different sections are Hunt, Boneyard, Jobs, Deadmen, Clans, and Zom-B.  There are also sections on the side and top for your Coins, Stamina, Mail, and Gifts.  There are various things you can do in each of these sections, and you’ll likely be using all of them each time you boot up the game.

Hunt and Boneyard are likely to be the areas you will use the most.  Hunt is where you can collect new Deadmen to use in your deck.  When you go into a Hunt, you can choose a Hunting Ground to go, depending on your player level.  When you go into this area, you will enter a mode that looks like a first-person shooter.  You will be armed with a rifle that has unlimited ammo and you will be shooting down Deadmen with your rifle scope for 60 seconds, more if you shoot down Deadmen that allow you to increase the time limit.

From each hunt, you will be awarded cards for every Deadman you take down during that Hunt, of various strengths, levels, and rarity.  You can keep all of these and add them to your Horde, which is your deck of cards.  You can also sell them for the Hardware currency or use them to buff and upgrade your other cards.

The Boneyard is where you can go to participate in tournaments in the game.  Tournaments are where you go in and can fight against AI or other players, depending on what your level is.  There are various tournament levels and the higher you go up, the stronger your opponents will be.  Once you sign up for a tournament, you will have a certain number of opponents you can fight until you get your score at the end as well as points to use to redeem various prizes from the Boneyard Staff.

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The Deadmen section is where you can cycle through all of your cards and create a Horde/Deck out of your cards.  Not only can you organize these, but you can also upgrade them by feeding other cards to them or enhancing them.  Doing this will cost you the Hardware currency you can get from jobs or selling cards and it will give the cards you feed and enhance experience.  Feed them enough cards and they will level up and all of their stats will increase.

The Job and Clan sections are where you can do quests and missions in order to advance the story and participate in events.  These quests and missions are pretty much limited to hunting and searching.  You’ll either need to hunt a specific amount of Deadmen (sometimes anything and other times certain types like flying, virus strains, etc), or trekking through a dungeon to find key items for an NPC.

Hunting Missions require you to just go into the Hunting Grounds over and over (using your Hunting Permits in the process) until you have all of the kills you need for the mission.  Searching Missions, however, unlock dungeons you can trek through in a point-and-click first-person fashion to search it for items.  Dungeons also have random battles that spawn for your horde to fight through (which leads to you gaining experience and character levels).  Many missions can be repeated as well, if you’d like to return to dungeons for some more items and experience.

Clans are the same, but they don’t progress the game’s main story and they are event-based.  Events change all the time, so the Clan Missions must be signed up for and completed within a certain amount of time to succeed and get the rewards for the event.  Finally, the Zom-B mode is where you can access the game’s settings, modify your online profile, accept gifts from login bonuses and quests, etc.

Actual battles are what you may think to be an exciting part of the game.  Each time you go into the Boneyard or find random fights in dungeons, you’ll go into a card battle with your Horde versus an enemy horde.  This is all automatic, showing your cards fighting off one another until one deck is depleted and you either win or lose.  Then all of the cards restore their health in the next battle.

The biggest thing about the Hunts, Tournaments, and Dungeons is that you need Permits and Passes to access these areas as well as Energy Drinks to recover Stamina for dungeons.  While you get a free daily hunt as a login bonus each day as well as being able to get them for rewards during events, you will need to have permits and Boneyard Passes in order to participate in these past the daily allotted amount.  Getting more of these is either done by finding them during jobs/quests or by buying them with Deadman Coins.

Deadman Coins are the biggest pressure point for you to spend real money on the game.  These coins are required if you want to buy energy drinks, hunting permits, or Boneyard Passes, and they are very hard to come by.  You can achieve Deadman Coins by participating in events and winning them.  Or, you can tap the Purchase button and spend real money on them as DLC for the game.

What you will want to do is not spend any money on the game, which can be done.  However, since Deadman Coins are so hard to come by, you’ll need to rely on doing and re-doing jobs to be able to revisit dungeons to be able to fight off enemies and find the passes and permits in those dungeons.  Elite Passes for the hunts, however, are much less common, even in dungeons.  For those, you’ll need to rely on the event rewards and daily login bonuses.

That brings up another good aspect to the game.  While the game is simple, it also has constantly-new content.  Deadman’s Cross has events that go through, week to week, and each time a new event comes, there is new content in the form of gifts as well as new types of rare Deadmen to hunt and collect.  It is also worth noting that later this week, there will be a special event, featuring cross-game content with Resident Evil Revelations 2.

All in all, Deadman’s Cross does have a lot of content, in terms of different cards to collect as well as constantly-increasing content.  As far as longevity is concerned, you could spend a few hours in the game or endless hours, if you really get into the game’s systems and the new events.  With how the game goes with the Deadman Coins, though, it’s better to play this in small sessions as opposed to large ones.

Controls

Controlling the game won’t be a whole lot different than controlling the Mobile version of the game.  All of the touch controls for the game are in this version, along with button alternatives as well.  So, you can play the game however you’d like, whether you want to tap options on the screen or use the physical buttons on your PS Vita.  One thing to note is that this game is not compatible with the PlayStation TV.

The Left Analog Stick can be used to explore the World Map and the D-Pad can be used to cycle through menus to choose options to go into.  The triggers are used in some menus to change the types of hunting courses you can go through, and the face buttons can be used for the menu options.

The biggest plus to button controls are the hunting/FPS sections.  For this, you can move the scope with the Left Analog Stick and fire off shots with the R trigger or X button, which gives it a much more comfortable feel with its FPS roots than just using the touch screen for these sequences.

Presentation

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The presentation of the game is where things begin to go downhill.  On the bright side of the presentation, the visuals look just as sharp, if not moreso on the Vita as they do on Mobile.  There are some jagged edges on the Deadman shadow models in Hunts and Dungeons, but everything else looks sharp and crisp.

How the game plays is where things get a little different.  First of all, the load times are a lot longer in this version than the Mobile version.  When you’re playing on Mobile, it may take you 1-2 seconds to get to the Hunting Course screen.  On the Vita, it’ll take anywhere between 5 and 10 seconds.  It’s still not an incredible wait, but it’s substantial compared to its Mobile counterpart.

There is also lag to be considered.  When you’re cycling through menus, downloading a game update, or moving between screens, the game gets a little jumpy and will lag a bit.  Thankfully, it never does this in the interactive gameplay in dungeons, hunts, or battles, but it is pretty noticeable, especially when you have to download a new game update when you first boot up the game.

Summary

Deadman’s Cross is: Decent
Deadman’s Cross was implemented onto the PlayStation Vita with all content intact as well as offering the option to import your Mobile save data into this version of the game.  On the downside, there are a few technical issues with how the game loads and transitions along with the grindy alternative to the pressure to spend money on Deadman Coins.  It’s a decent game if you play it in small sessions and like card battle games, but isn’t something that will keep you busy for a long gaming session.

6/10

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