Monday, November 15, 2010

Nothing has changed, nothing stays the same

I think I am paying Dead Rising 2 wrong. There is a great deal of nonsense available to fill time, if time was something that could be wasted in this game, that I am skipping over entirely because simpler, more effective options are available. For example, every time I leave the safe room I can find the materials to create two excellent combo weapons: a bat with nails in it and an axe duct tapped to a sledge hammer. There are something around 48 other combo weapons, not to mention swords and guitars and stuffed animals laying around everywhere, but no reason to use them because two are more than good enough for most purposes. Even when I do come across a better weapon, like filling a leaf blower up with precious gems, the necessary ingredients are few and far between.

Not that you need much more than a spiked bat to deal with the shambling undead. Zombies are diluted to being part of the environment: they are nothing to fear, only an annoyance to be avoided. The only real threats are the psychos, and then the pendulum swings wildly in the opposite direction. Most take far more hits to kill than is reasonable. This creates a very big problem with the games consistency. Chuck is able to take out ten zombies at a time with a single swing of a makeshift weapon, but when confronted with a living opponent shotgun blasts to the torso are simply shrugged off. There are some rednecks hanging out on the roof above a courtyard, taking pot shots at everyone I bring past, and I cannot find a way to get up to them. Instead I found a handgun and started to shoot back. Drawing upon years of ingrained shooter reflexes I drew a bead on the first giant, pale melon and squeezed off a few shots. He barely noticed. Now I know that heavy drinking and do some wondrous things, but making a person bullet proof is not one of them.

There is one more complaint, but it is not one that is specific to Dead Rising 2, or to any other game for that matter. One of the biggest things I was hoping for when new hardware was forced upon us five years ago was consistency in the environments. Specifically, if I break a window in a store front I want it to stay broken. I want to be able to walk by the damage later and think to myself 'Now what hardcore mother fucker did this? Oh yeah, that was me.' Dead Rising 2 doesn't have this and it would be so much better if it did. As it stands every time I walk past a bank of slot machines money is laying on the ground in the same places. If I break into a closed store and trash the place it will be better after a loading screen. The 3000+ corpses that I have bashed to pieces simply vanish when I turn my back. Fuck motion control and body tracking and voice commands and all that bull shit, I what the world I create in a game to be the same when I walk out the door. Right now almost all of gaming is like Groundhogs Day without Bill Murray.

You know what got this right? Doom. How sad is that?

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