Review by Denz
The overview picture is a suitably moody shot of the radio tower although an attempt at making it above average has been achieved by the framing of the shot. The text is a vague oneline description of the situation hinting that an event of global significance has begun.
The intro cinematic is quite short simple showing only the objective of your mission - the radio tower on Green Mountain.
The briefing is vague, again hinting at some great calamity that has befallen the area and that contact has been lost with both military and civilian sources. Apart from the task of the primary objective, an attempt has been made with additional documents to connect the player with the personality of Captain Oleg Orel where you get the impression that duty is paramount to the character and the letter to Oleg's wife is particularly poigniant, perhaps preparing you for the stories outcome.
There is only one objective to this mission and it's location isn't very far away - it all seems far too easy! That thought soon vanishes, about halfway to the tower in fact. The haunting music as you enter the woods is a good indication that something is about to happen. The creepy groans that resound from the enclosing trees create a great atmosphere as you attempt to complete the short journey to the broadcast tower.
Armed with a trusty shotgun and pistol but short on ammunition your basic choice is fight or flight. The recycle rate of the shotgun adds yet more tension as the zombies can overwhelm you very quickly - particularly on the harder difficulty settings. The author has included a nifty graphical image to represent the player's health and status; literally three strikes and you are out, with the claw marks counting the number of times one of the zombies has got close enough to swipe you. Your other choice is your route. Should you stick to the path or take your chances within the confines of the woods? In any other ArmA II mission, the dense trees would provide a modicum of security, here they become another sinister element inducing claustrophobia as they swallow you into their dark shadow.
However, considering it's the focal point of the mission, I feel the author has missed something by failing to make more of the actual broadcast; even without voice-acting this part of the story would have benefitted from more emphasis. Likewise the scene with the car breaking down cries out for a cutscene - I can't imagine even the toughest protagonist calmly accepting the fact that his vehicle has stopped working at the bottom of a hill.
The Outro is again on the short side and shows that the player, by fulfilling his civic duty has placed himself in an impossible situation but stops short of showing the actual deed. So yet another question is posed; did he or didn't he?
A great atmosphere has been created from the use of music and sound. The frightening moans of the zombies are particularly effective and the use of the claw marks to register hits and as a status bar is a nice addition.
Dawn of the Apocalypse manages to entertain the player while delivering intrigue and tension during it's very short span. When you consider just how sparse the actual details of the story revealed so far, that in itself is quite an achievement. Just as a good prologue should, Dawn of the Apocalypse provides the player with more questions than answers and I for one am looking forward to seeing just where this series is going.