Saturday, 1 January 2011

Dead Rising 2 is dead fun

Alright, so I have now done everything there is to do in Dead Rising 2 apart from the co-op playthrough and various minigames that only reward you with small cash prizes.

Dead Rising 2 is quite fun. Using the large amount of objects scattered here and there to kill off zombies never gets old, to me anyway. I never get tired of using the lance to pick up zombies and throwing them over the rail in Palisades Mall or trying to keep zombies at bay just with the bow and arrow. Creating combo weapons is also fun and useful for the majority of the recipes, which I found slightly surprising because generally when video games offer some sort of create-your-own-weapon thing it's just to make the game sound more appealing, and the effort you have to put into scavenging parts and creating the weapon doesn't match the usefulness and/or coolness of the resulting item. In Dead Rising 2, however, the parts for each combo weapon are pretty much always in the same general area, so while you're casually going around punching zombies you might suddenly get the notion of creating a Freedom Bear or a Blitzkrieg just because all the necessary items happen to be there, and it's worth the short sprint between a pitchfork and a drill motor in the Food Court just to stick zombies on the end of the Auger and watch them spin around while limbs fly off in the air, and weapons like the spiked bat or knife gloves are your go to crowd control and psycho beating partners. Hell, I even like the drill bucket that so many others find waste of data space.

Ooh, yeah! I love gore!
Another zombie falls prey to the deadly airborn swordfish
The gore from the zombies looks quite nice. Since there's so many of them on the screen at once you'd think hitting them with weapons would just knock them on the ground with a little blood spurting out, but no, dismemberment and mutilation of zombies is, for the most part, very detailed in the game. If you happen to swing a broadsword at a zombie while it's in a little different position, like getting up from the ground for example, the cut-off point of the loose bits that fly off is according to the swing of the blade unlike in many games where the area is only an estimate on which section of the body out of six sectors was hit closest. I like how zombies react to losing body parts as well. Often they do just go down gurgling the instant you hit them, but sometimes they lose an arm or a leg and bleed profusely everywhere while desperately trying to still get to you before finally going down. Seeing a fat zombie have a large swordfish sticking out of his chest for a second before he actually falls always makes me feel happy. I like the carnage in Dead Rising 2. One might say that obsessing over detailed violence and gore and blood spurting everywhere is something only a troubled individual would do, but if you're telling me I'm troubled I'm gonna ram a splintered table leg through your guts and eat your children! So don't.
I also like freezing zombies just for the hell of seeing them stuck in the middle of funny animations. Well, that's really the only use of freezing them, but it's fun all the same. As a quick note, the screams and moans of the zombies also sound nice. I shot the legs off a zombie with a shotgun once and the death scream was surprisingly appropriate and kind of scary, and that's what made me pay more attention to the sounds in the game.

What I really don't like about Dead Rising 2 is it's fire related animations and how much shit is on the HUD all the time. The fire is really lackluster and using weapons like the molotov or flamethrower isn't nearly as exciting as you'd think, in fact they can be downright boring, and flaming gloves is just... bah. Flaming gloves is my least favourite combo weapon.
Since fire in the game sucks, this is the best
thing you can do with the fire extinguishers
The HUD, well, you can see just how cluttered is in the pictures I took. Only your inventory closes, everything else stays on the screen the entirety of the game. As you can see, missions are always listed on the right hand side of the screen, and there is no way to turn them off if you don't give flying moose bollocks about them. Even if you complete all possible missions as fast as they pop up, the game STILL shows the upcoming case files on the screen despite the fact that it's too early for you to actually begin them. If I can't do anything story related yet, why must my screen be so obscured by pointless info? And that radio icon on the bottom left, it pops up and stays up whenever you have new unchecked missions or you get a call regarding the story. It continues to stay on the screen if you answer a call and skip the dialogue, and the game goes as far as to call you back over and over until you have spent some specifically vague amount of time reading about Katey needing Zombrex at 7 o'clock for the fourth time. I know what she needs and when and I'm in a bit of a hurry now, which is precisely why I skipped the dialogue for the third time in 5 seconds. Stop calling me already! Well, to be honest the HUD isn't that bad looking and the calls aren't at all constant, so... forget what I just wrote. Far less annoying than you'd think.

The story of the game is something I expected to be more of a nuisance, and it can be a bit if you just start a new story to slice zombies since the beginning of the game is two minutes of cutscene starts and loading screens even if you skip them, but I was surprised how well everything came together moodwise when I finally decided to finish all cases and beat all psychopaths and save all survivors, in the fifth runthrough. When I played the role of a guy in the middle of a zombie apocalypse looking for medication for his kid while saving people and trying to uncover the truth instead of a jackass that lets his kid die just to spend three days throwing flower pots and LCD monitors at zombies uninterrupted, the game got a very different but all the same a really good mood. The feeling of it really being a dire situation where people are fighting for their lives and in some cases going insane really did come across to me quite well when I had less time to place servbot masks and stuffed toys on zombies' heads, and psycho battles started to feel more like natural occurences in the world instead of boss fights specifically put in your way. Admittedly, if the game didn't offer the possiblity of freely running around and going nuts with drill buckets and plate launchers while dressed as a cowboy the story alone wouldn't be able to sell 10,000 copies, but it's still more than just a tacked on loose plot thread.
And they let kids play with these, you say?
I must mention that although a large amount of the "mission" of the game is escorting somewhat helpless people around, it never gets nearly as annoying as some other games' escort missions. Biggest trouble is getting a large amount of survivors through a loading all at once, but other than that they usually hold their own against regular zombies just fine, and aren't completely stupid.
I also quite enjoyed the detail, references and humour in the game, but I won't talk about those more. I do still wonder, though, who else provided Jared with Zombrex, since during the 4 days I only gave him two shots... there's a huge plothole there, if you save Jared that is. I let him die four times and killed him myself once.

Oh, that's nasty. It's all mush in there.
The online mode and trophies of Dead Rising 2 are something that made me hurt myself and my controller. Reportedly the game has problems tracking your progress with clothing worn and melee weapons used so when I had trouble getting the collection trophies for those I was almost certain the game fucked me over, and all my frustrations I accumulated over the course of six days and six playthroughs caused me to snap a bit when Randy, one of the psychos, killed me by cheating and sent my progress back another 20 minutes in the final run that I had to start only because one stupid piece of clothing is hidden in the Tape It or Die crew's HQ that's only open for a couple of in-game hours on the third game day IF the game has room to spawn four more survivors, and if and when the place opens up the game doesn't actually inform you of it in any way so you MUST read about it online to even find it exists so it's all just horrible bullshit on the game makers' part! Well, anyway, when Randy killed me I got so mad that I punched my bed, my shelf, my wall and my closet door, everything very hard and very fast. I think the neighbours thought someone was killed, but they have no right to complain after all the racket they've been making over the years. At least I went insane in the afternoon, not at 2 FUCKING AM BLASTING SHITTY POP SONGS AT FULL VOLUME! I'm not really built for hardcore brawling so I naturally hurt my hand pretty bad. Don't think anything broke, though. Well, now that I'm calm I can admit that the game only fucked me over with the firearm trophy, everything else actually worked fine. I just forgot to use the training sword and wear the beachwear from Americana casino. My bad.

I do still think that Zombie Genocide Master trophy is one of the worst ideas for a trophy in a while. To get it you must kill 72,000 zombies in one playthrough, but the mechanics of the game make this a rather crap trophy idea. Trying to get it legitimately, you MUST spend the entire game, from start to finish, just driving around and killing huge mobs of zombies while every 5000 zombies or so using save/loading to replenish your car's health and the mobs of zombies (cheating with a co-op partner, you can either do it faster or remove the time limit). That means several hours of boring grinding WITH the likely possibility of actually FAILING to reach the magical number in time and having to START FROM THE BEGINNING if you don't have a clear strategy from the very beginning. You CAN NOT get the trophy by any other means legitimately, no matter how fast you create tesla balls, so it is definitely not a trophy you'd get from a regular playthrough, and it's not a regular grind trophy because of the possibility that you're sent back to the beginning if you're too slow.
Watch out, this man needs a doctor!
I personally think trophies and achievements are more a way for developers to encourage trying out things in games that people might pass up on otherwise (trophies for playing a match online or completing side tasks in games) and to reward more dedicated fans (trophies for playing a game for a certain, large, amount of time). Spending the entirety of a game to drive up and down the outside area for nothing BUT the trophy? Insane. This is a trophy that once again separates the people suffering from OCD and idiocy from the regular people who know what video games are, or perhaps used to be, all about. And yes, I got the trophy. I am an idiot, although a somewhat more respected idiot among the idiot society now that I have the stupid trophy to brag about.

Playing the online modes lead to another case of a sudden outburst of anger. I like the online mode, though it's not very... group event friendly if you get what I mean. If you don't, well I mean that it's an absolute shit idea if for example somebody set a DR2 online event up at bonersgamesforums. It doesn't work, the mode's so fucking casual that you only play it to get more money for the story mode.
Anyway, I managed to snatch the first two trophies in the very first episode I played very easily, and win in another two game types in the second episode I played. Then problems arrived. I kept getting Ramsterball and Zomboni rounds in every episode, and those are two modes I won in already. Slicecycles is ALWAYS the last round and I already won that in the first episode also, and so I got frustrated. Not only is it annoying to be playing these modes just for the trophies (yes, trophy hunting's the hobby of idiots, I admit) but sad thing is that I happen to like Ramsterball, Zomboni and Slicecycle matches the LEAST, so I didn't even have fun.
I can still fix it. Get me some duct tape and a hammer.
The rare times when I did get to play the other modes I was either disconnected from the other guys before winning or there was someone who just absolutely crushed everyone else, giving me no chance to win. After two hours of this shit I got so mad I sort of, casually, very calmly, in orderly fashion, threw my controller on the floor, breaking it, and now I'm still missing two screws and a triangle button. Not that big of a loss, it was the controller I've hated using because the left stick and R2 and L2 buttons have trouble registering actions, possibly being the largest cause behind my losing streaks because the DR2 online games only use those buttons. I've only used  the controller whenever I've had to charge the better one, as I wasn't even able to perform certain tricks in Skate with the broken one. What was worse than the controller breaking was the fact that I threw it with the same hand I hurt punching stuff earlier, so I damaged the hand even MORE.
But, letting out some steam and changing controllers worked in the end, because even handicapped I then managed to win every single mode I hadn't won in yet first try AND I won almost every episode in a row until I was done. And now I'm not going to go back to the online mode ever again, because it has no staying power.

You see, zombies?! You see what you
get when you mess with the living?!
So there, despite some stupid shit Dead Rising 2 is absolutely one of my favourite games on the PS3, largely because it actually reminds me of my all time favourite video game The Warriors, and it's odd that it was the first game to ever make me so mad as to get me to hurt myself and break an expensive controller. It's never happened to me before, which is surprising looking at all the games I have played and suffered through in the past. Maybe all the repressed negative feelings from 21 years of my life are finally coming out? Who knows, before it's too late to stop the madness.
Still looking for someone I can do the co-op playthrough with, though. From my PSN friends list only tekkenfanaat has the game and I don't know if he actually likes it, he just happens to have every single PS3 game ever made it seems

I were going to write about my first impressions of Fallout: New Vegas, but I think I'll start separating different blogging topics into their own posts, start writing about New Vegas some other day and go watch the fireworks. Oh, and happy new year of 2011, only one more year till the end of the world!
Happy New Year 2011!
All images, except for game cover, taken and edited by me. For once.

1 comment:

  1. Happy new year 2011!
    Yep, one more year for the end of the world!
    I might pick up Dead Rising 2 but I think the 360 controller wont be appropriate after what you've said. If you've used the controller, you'd know that the D-pad is a bit weird, like a circley pad, so you can go diagonal on the D-pad too which is annoying, especially for games like Saints Row where customization of your character plays a big part. Sooo... yeah, probs won't get it for the 360. Now that I don't have a PS3 either, I can't really do co-op with you. If only you had a 360. Nothing would make me happier than play co-op with an individual who is just as angry and psychotic as me!

    Anyway, have a good day or something and get that New Vegas post up soon.

    - Derek