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In: Uncategorized17 Oct 2010
I loved Dead Rising. Like, really loved it. So when Dead Rising 2 came out, and I saw that you could combine weapons, I decided to replace my broken Xbox with a new one just to play it.
Having had a couple days to play it, I feel compelled to review it: I hate it.
There’s lots and lots to love about it. But people play video games to have fun, not to perform laborious tasks and juggle conflicting priorities. That’s real life, and part of the reason people play video games is to get away from it for a while.
In the game, my daughter’s been bitten by a zombie, so she needs to be given Zombrex every 24 hours or she’ll turn into a zombie. (It sounds terrible, but since it’s a video game, I’ll add that just letting her die is apparently not an option.) But you can’t just walk to the convenience store and get Zombrex. It’s extremely hard to find and is usually given to you for completing a really tough mission that you’d just as soon have not done. You can only give her her daily dose between 7am and 8am, which means that if you find some and get back at 6am, you might as well put down the controller and go make yourself a sandwich (IRL), because you don’t have enough time to do anything meaningful before 7am, and God help you if you’re not back by 8.
But finding Zombrex is hard. It’s especially hard when you have other time-sensitive missions, and a crazy lady constantly texting you missions. Your quest for Zombrex means that you can’t complete a mission, but whoops, that mission was required and now you’ve lost. So you try again and focus on the mission, but whoops, now you missed giving the Zombrex and lost, too.
Right now some evil villain is looting the city, specifically the casino vaults. Why it’s my job to stop him, I’m not quite sure. I want to slay the zombies, not stop looters. The casinos, for some reason, are always packed with zombies, which makes merely walking through one a chore. But now, on top of that, I’m being shot at by an army of mercenaries hired by the evil looting villain. I eventually clobbered one of the mercenaries to death with my crowbar — no easy task when I’m also being mauled by zombies and being shot at by four other mercenaries who suddenly got grenades too. I died at least a half-dozen times first.
Once he was dead, I got his gun. But it requires manual aiming to be any good, and standing still in a swarm of zombies is pretty hard, because they’ll start to attack you too. Or, right as you’ve got your shot lined up, one of the other mercenaries will shoot you, and you’ll have to start aiming all over. Killing a mercenary requires most of the 30 rounds in the gun, which means that if you miss more than a couple shots — perhaps because you’re being shot at, or perhaps because a zombie is gnawing on your neck — you’ll have to drop the gun and somehow bludgeon him with an axe or something, which is no easy task when he and his compatriots have automatic weapons.
I finally defeated my second set of mercenaries, concluding that the game was really just not fun with crap like this. And then, an “URGENT” text message came in: there were more! This time, there’s probably more like a dozen. I’ve tried this one over and over. There are so many zombies that my health is usually seriously depleted by the time I get there. So I pack a bunch of juice and whiskey and cake (all of which are used to restore health) in place of weapons, which helps for a while, but then I don’t have enough weapons. (Oh, and speaking of health, the beer, wine, and whiskey restore health, but if you have too much, you begin vomiting uncontrollably. But all that you’ll find in the casinos is alcohol, which means that if you try to restore too much health at once, you’ll be in the middle of fighting off another mercenary when you suddenly bend over and vomit, dropping your weapon in the process.)
So Rockstar, I have no idea how you’ve done it, but you’ve managed to make a game where you get to combine weapons — like a boat paddle and chainsaws — and kill zombies with them into something tedious and irritating. I’ve stopped playing and am going to go pack up my summer clothes and move my air conditioner into storage, because that seriously sounds like more fun right now.