How to Survive: Storm Warning Edition PS4 Review
Publisher: 505 Games Developer: Eko Software Genre: Action Players: 1-2 Age Rating: 18+
Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One
Zombies have overrun videogames a long time ago now, so it takes something unique or something particularly beautifully executed to stand out from the Undead masses. With Dead Rising 3, Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition and now How to Survive: Storm Warning Edition shambling its way to the new generation consoles almost a year after its initial release, the zombie infection has already begun on PS4 and Xbox One.
Along with the expected visual upgrade, Storm Warning Edition brings all of the DLC from the original version, and you might well be pleasantly surprised at the amount of content that the game has to offer. There’s new modes, an additional island to explore, bringing the number up from four to five, and the original three characters are joined by Nina, a veteran soldier with proficient melee combat skills. As for the visuals, they’re functional enough, but just a modest improvement over the previous generation version, sadly.
How to Survive is an isometric Zombie game with a sense of humour (most prevalent in the tutorials you’ll find lying around) and is also undoubtedly Survival Horror through and through, though not exactly in the old fashioned manner. To survive here, you don’t only have to worry about zombies eating your neck for a meal, but you also have to take into consideration your hunger, thirst and fatigue levels, which can further raise the tension. Zombie killing by both melee and ranged means is satisfying, though swinging an axe and such into skulls could have done with more of a sense of impact, whilst shooting can be a bit too imprecise at times, resulting in some needlessly frustrating situations. XP is rewarded with every skill and levelling up will get you a point of which you can use on a skill tree, though sadly not many of the skills you unlock are particularly exciting, which takes away from the satisfaction of attaining new levels.
Much of your equipment meanwhile is assembled with things you find lying throughout the environment through a crafting system. Crafting in How to Survive is a fairly simplistic process, always making it clear to you of which items can be combined with one another to produce new, more effective items. Once you have particular weapons, there does however come a point where crafting can often feel pointless.
In true Survival Horror fashion, inventory space is often severely limited though, so you’ll most likely often have to drop things to make space for others which can be an inconvenience, there’s just too much items to pick up and not enough space to the point that it sometimes just isn’t fun, further compounding the flawed crafting system of the game.
As well as zombies, the game has a day and night cycle and weather conditions to contend with, all of which are terrifying in their own way. Once night falls, things turn more dangerous with nocturnal creatures arriving on the scene. These are sensitive to light so you must hold them off with a torch or fire. Fog meanwhile seriously affects visibility, whilst rain will extinguish fire and storms can see you struck by lightning if you don’t keep moving.
The primary story mode isn’t particularly substantial in length, but the game is granted additional longevity with other modes. One Shot grants you just one life which is really, really tense but obviously only for the most proficient of players. Barricade on the other hand has you gathering supplies by day to protect against the impending zombie attack at night. All modes can be played in two player multiplayer both online and offline, and it’s here where the most fun is to be had.
How to Survive: Storm Warning Edition fails to match the best zombie games, but it’s still a reasonably unique and entertaining game that is drenched in tension and has some nice ideas, leaving it as a flawed but interesting take on the zombie apocalypse.