Dead or School was released for PC in 2018 and for Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch in 2019 in Japan. After all this time, the title is finally coming out in the West in physical and digital form. The game takes place in an apocalyptic setting where zombies invaded the city of Tokyo and, for that reason, humans were forced to live underground. After a few generations, the grandmother of the main character tells her granddaughter stories about her childhood and what life was like before they were forced to flee from the enemy. Hisako, the main character, receives the school uniform from her grandmother’s hands and decides to eliminate the zombie threat so she can get back to school…
The game takes place in the Tokyo metropolitan system and the famous stations of Shinjuku, Asakusa, Akihabara and Roppongi are present. Okay, it’s not an official presence, but it gives a little more veracity to the theme of the game. There are some outdoors scenarios but most are indoors. This is a 2.5D sidescroller title, with some RPG elements, where we face huge hordes of zombies and mutants. To help us fight, we have several types of swords and weapons available, including snipers, machine guns, rocket launchers, among other choices. Each of these weapons can be upgraded and applied certain features such as more ammunition, more durability, etc.. Speaking of durability, all weapons suffer wear and tear, but to fix them, we just need to find a saving area. At that point, the weapons are automatically restored, as well as all our life bar and ammunition.
Loot for everyone
Most enemies drop loot when they die, which ends up originating huge amounts of items to pick up but, fortunately, some of them are automatically collected. This huge amount of items to apply to the weaponry, ends up offering an important diversity when it comes to customizing the way we fight. Obviously the sword is for short range encounters and all other weapons are for long distance confrontations. We can have three types equipped, where one of them is the sword and the other two are for light and heavy weapons. There is also a skill tree, where we can improve a lot of situations: stamina and health; increase the durability of weapons; improve the effectiveness when attacking the enemy from behind; increasing the attack speed, among many other possibilities.
When it comes to enemies, I found that there is a rather reduced offer. In just a few hours, I saw practically everything, although the bosses can always be a little different. Yes, in certain areas, there’s a boss that might give you some work. If you have any difficulty, whether in these or other battles, you can always change the difficulty of the game at any time.
Throughout the adventure, we find NPC’s, which usually have a secondary mission to offer us. Others join our party and end up having a bigger presence in history, although nothing of great importance. Each station offers some exploration and some locations are initially inaccessible. There is a map available and that shows points of interest, both main and secondary objectives, as well as saving areas. The map helps a lot in knowing where we have to go, or which places we have already visited.
Visuals and Audio
As for the graphic aspect, Dead or School is far from being an incredible product or visually easy to enjoy. In fact, we’re looking at something quite average and with textures that leave a lot to be desired. Overall, I found all the scenarios very similar, where even the small differences couldn’t give the area a special touch. Cut-scenes, some are in pure anime form and, of course, there’s quite a bit of sexual prominence in female characters. Outside the videos, most of the dialogues are all with static images and lots of lines to read. For those who prefer English dub, you’ll be disappointed because the only one that exists is Japanese, with the obvious English subtitles. When it comes to the soundtrack, it fits perfectly with the rhythm of the game.
Dead or School is a game with a good offer of gameplay, both in terms of weapons and their customization. The skill tree also gives it some more depth and the huge amount of zombies everywhere, makes this a full time action game. However, the visuals have disappointed me, both in terms of quality and variety, and the same applies to enemies. In short, Dead or School has a fun gameplay, with lots of weapons and customization, but the poor graphics and short enemy variety, stops it from being something special.
Action non stop
Skill tree offers good customization
Good variety of weapons and attachments
Nice soundtrack to kill zombies
Short variety of enemies
Average visuals and somewhat repetitive scenarios
Release Date: 13 March 2020
Developer: Studio Nanafushi
Publisher: Marvelous Games
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Marvelous Games. (Nintendo Switch)