By Video_Game_King 87 Comments
Dead Rising( You know, it really surprises me how many awful games begin with the letter D.) Just look at the evidence: Devil Survivor...uh...Demon Sword wasn't that good...Dig Digs: Dover Da Doad Dacing. OK, that joke didn't turn out as well as I thought it would, but you know what sucks more than that joke? Dead Rising. I realize the shit I'll get for posting this, but Dead Rising really does suck. It's probably the most unintuitive and most frus...still, the game's pretty damn frustrating.
And ugly. Normally, I'd dive right into the story, but this game is probably one of the ugliest and most unsettling looking games I've ever played. Keep in mind that I've played games like Pac Man and Half-Life. I realize that this was an early Xbox 360 game, so the fact that the technical side of the graphics play only a small part in the ugly on display just makes my point that much stronger. It's hard to capture in words, so let me show you a picture. Just look at it. The beady, lifeless eyes; the head with more fat than a cow's body; the mouth...the fucking mouth. All of it gets worse when you realize that such a dirty, scummy, sleazy look applies to the one guy you're controlling the entire time. Add motion to it, and things suddenly go from unbearable to "I honestly hate how Dead Rising looks". That's also hard to capture in words, so here's a video, along with a phrase: KYLE GASS HAS BREAST PHYSICS. KYLE GASS HAS BREAST PHYSICS. KYLE GASS HAS FUCKING BREAST PHYSICS. So if the regular characters are that fucking ugly, then the zombies have to be terrifying monstrosities that would convince somebody that there is no god, right? Eh, not really. You see them so often and from such a distance that they invoke less terror and more....apathy? Does English have a word for "I don't give a shit"? I was honestly more horrified when I dressed up Frank in kiddie clothes than I was of any of the zombies lurking around the mall.
Careful readers will note that my last sentence made Dead Rising sound like a cheap Dawn of the Dead rip-off. Rest assured that Capcom thought of this problem and directly addressed it by placing a box on the cover stating "this isn't Dawn of the Dead, just a cheap knock-off." Don't believe me? Let me set things up: not-so-local journalist Frank "I swear I've heard your voice somewhere" West flies into Colorado for the story of his life. Then zombies happen. He has to survive at least three days before he can get away from zombies happening. But it won't be easy. In those three days, he must endure as many bad movie clichés as Capcom could stuff into this game. He must face such gems as "angry black guy in a business suit", "government cover-ups", "bald military guy with face scar of ultimate evil", "stupid plot holes", and "being completely useless to the actual plot." Yea, this isn't exactly the most well constructed plot, and it becomes painfully obvious when you find out what's causing the zombie outbreak: a bee virus thing. I know that that's stupid and makes no sense, but you know what's more of that? The justification: apparently, the government was developing this so they could turn people into zombie cows (odd, because death is never required to become a Dead Rising zombie) and sell them as meat. I think. It's explained once and very poorly, but I can't imagine it ever being not stupid. Between this and Dino Crisis' "let's rip open a hole in time because OPEC sucks", I'd say that Capcom doesn't know how to justify scary things. I would, but then I'd remember Resident Evil, which is kind of the root of the issue. Look, guys, I know that you don't want to play the "biotech company develops zombie virus" too much, but it just makes the most sense, especially when you look at the alternatives.
Speaking of Resident Evil, I'm pretty sure that this is a retooled version of one of those abandoned Resident Evil 4 builds. After all, how else can you explain the crap controls? For example, being a photojournalist, you can take pictures of things throughout the game. It doesn't do much, and it's easier to forget than my last blog, but none of that is very important (probably because of the forgetting point). What I wish to illustrate is this: to use the camera, you hold down the left trigger and move the right analog stick; try moving that left one, and Frank will move about, forgetting that Dead Rising isn't a first person shooter. If anything, it's closer to a (bad) third person shooter, at times. Care to guess how you aim? Hold down the right trigger and move the left stick. Do you have any idea how confusing this is in the beginning of the game? It's all exactly the opposite of anything you'd ever expect, and for no reason. It's not like I can lop off a zombie's head and simultaneously take a picture of it. Although that would be cool, it would probably result in tons of zombie bites...maybe. I added the "maybe" because you can shake off zombies by making frantic, plastic clicking noises with the left analog stick. This may sound completely average, but remember that this is the Xbox 360. See that huge button to the right of the left analog stick? Prepare to hit that A LOT during your zombie make-out sessions, and prepare for the game to come to a grinding halt every single time this happens.
I'd say that this game lives on its momentum, but that would be a blatant misuse of language. It would be more accurate to say that this game frustrates you with its momentum. About every few seconds, Otis will chime in about the latest survivor he spotted. Normally, I'd ignore this point, but for some reason, Dead Rising absolutely hates multi-tasking. It's either "kill zombies" or "listen to Otis"; you can't have both. Try having both, and Otis will call you a rude asshole for interrupting me. Oh, excuse me for the most grievous faux pas of having my face gnawed off by a FUCKING ZOMBIE. However, once you learn some manners and listen to Otis, you realize that in addition to completing the tightly packed story missions, you have to rescue a shitload of survivors. You know what this means: zigzagging across the mall like it's Heavy Rain. There's just one problem: you're escorting survivors the whole way. It's pretty hard to call them survivors, because they'll do everything in their power to make sure that they die. They'll jump right into a zombie horde and expect you to rescue them, only for you to forget that friendly fire is a thing. Want to escort them by hand? OK, you can only do that for a few survivors, but whatever. There are greater problems, like how you can't form a human chain of them, or how they slip away so much you'd swear that they just had a lard snowball fight, or the objective arrow. It's in conspiracy with the survivors, because it will plunge you into the least safe route ever: the Leisure Park route. In addition to zombies, you also have to evade some escaped convicts. I guess the government is competent enough to enforce a military lockdown, but not very good at quelling an oddly well-timed prison riot, or protecting their own damn military vehicles. That last part will be the source of much frustration as they kill you and your survivors again and again and again. Want some revenge? Too bad. Not only is it really hard to kill them, but when I looked up possible ways of killing them, I found out that they regenerate anyway, possibly as one last fuck you from the fine people at Capcom. So why rescue the survivors anyway? Besides experience...uh...an annoyingly chatty safe room, I guess?
Normally, this would just be a random piece of crap gameplay feature, but then the save system enters and fucks things up worse than the graphical artist. Or the writer. Or the guy in charge of localization ( congratulations for doing exactly the opposite of what Devil Survivor did!). Or the guy in charge of the save system. Yes, the save system fucks up worse than the guy who made the save system; that's how hard it sucks. I imagine some of you are wondering what makes it suck so hard, so allow me to explain: first, only one save is allowed at any time. You want to experiment or try multiple playthroughs? Go buy another game, you asshat. You'd think that having one save would actually make the saving process streamlined, but Dead Rising just excels at failure, so you still have to select where your save is and then tell the game that you want to overwrite it. I know that it doesn't sound very tedious, but jumping through these hoops for the billionth time in a row gets pretty frustrating after a while. Speaking of frustration, there's no checkpointing or auto-saving of any kind. Combine that with limited save points, survivor stupidity, and an apparent stigma for saving (something about leaderboards and rankings and some other odd not-multiplayer shit), and it's easy to see how I called this game a frustrating pile of crap no less than six times already.
But now it's time for a change of pace. I've spent the last 1700ish words bitching about how much this game sucks, so how about I talk about the positives? Well, the game does a very good job of putting you on edge, but I'm not sure that Capcom intended that, so fuck it. That's not good. What's something genuinely enjoyable about Dead Rising? Oh, I know: the weapons. I know that earlier, I gave the game shit for how you use weapons (why is the watch the only thing that's analog?), but the actual weapons are pretty cool for one reason: everything is a weapon. It's amazing how many ways Frank West can kill a zombie with nothing but soda cans (why not just drink them to restore health?), CDs, and a human hand. Add on top of this myriad of ways you can use each item to kill zombies, and it's easy to see why there are so many of the damn things in the first place: target practice. I'd say that it's the best 3D beat-em-up I've ever played, but there are several things wrong with that statement. First, I don't think I've played any 3D beat-em-ups outside this game. Second, Dead Rising sucks. Imagine if you threw Dawn of the Dead, Majora's Mask, and The Problem Solverz into a giant blender. Top it off with a bit of Navi and all the streamlined ease of any Windows operating system, and you have Dead Rising.
- It's essentially a really bad action movie populated by unholy demonic monsters. And zombies.
- You know what would be awesome? If somebody combined the charm of Navi with the fun of Knuckles Chaotix. No? Exactly! I don't know why Capcom thought that.
- But at leas the weapon system is good, right?...Right?
What, the huge wall of text wasn't enough? Fine, here's a video explaining my opinion on that piece of crap.
Spriggan Powered ( Your guess is as good as mine.) I looked up what a Spriggan was, and according to Wikipedia, it's a Cornish wood fairy. I guess the robots are powered by burning gay Englishmen? Then again, it could also be based on a manga about the Cold War, but I don't remember flying mechas in the Cold War. Trust me, I remember a lot of weird stuff from that time. OK, I've been bullshitting you guys; the game isn't as confusing as the name is, but do you have any way to make this game sound interesting?
Don't misunderstand me and think that I don't like the game. I like it, but I realize that it's hard to get you guys enthused about the word "spriggan". Hell, there's not even any interesting story bits to find in this game. Here's all the story you get: you're a robot, there are robot-ish things flying around. These other robot-ish things must die, preferably in some type of explosion. Also, there's a rival robot who refuses to die until the end, and only after a lengthy monologue in Japanese. Why did I say "in Japanese?" Oddly enough, because the rest of the game is in English. Granted, there isn't much text outside the ending, but it's all in perfect English. Since when have SNES games been this import friendly? And since when has an SNES game looked this good? It looks less like something you'd see on the SNES and more like the Saturn. How did they stuff that much detail into the game? Don't believe me? Again, I direct you to a screenshot. Now imagine that in motion. Hell, why imagine it? Just watch that shit. Unfortunately, the video doesn't capture one of the cooler parts of the game: the Sonic 3-esque continuity between levels. I know that it's a minor touch, but it adds quite a bit to the game...for the three levels where it's used. For some reason, it just tapers off halfway through the game, probably because the developers couldn't figure out how to transition from the sky to space. The hell, Spriggan Inc.? Still pretty awesome, though.
I'd say that the game's fairly unique, but it isn't. So why would I say that? Two words: dodging bonus. Every time you dodge a bullet by a couple of pixels, the game gives you a little tech bonus. It's a cool twist, since it transforms the game from "EVERYTHING MUST DIE, FOR I AM THE ROBOT HITLER" to "weave in and out of bullets like you're playing a bullet hell shooter." Too bad it isn't a bullet hell shooter. I'd call it a bullet heaven shooter, but I think Cho Aniki covered that fairly well, so I guess this makes this game a bullet Purgatory shooter? Bullet limbo? If it was truly bullet heaven, the entire game would just be about three bullets on screen at a time, and that's only true for the first half of the game. The rest of the time, it's actually a fairly standard shooter, full of bullets and power-ups and stuff. In this mode, you can even get hit by bullets! What happens then? Assuming you didn't activate your "I suck at a core gameplay mechanic/boss battles only" shield button, you just get thrown back into the fray with one level lost on your tier of power-ups. Actually, that's the perfect way for a shooter to handle death, even if you won't see it a lot. You have humbled me, Spriggan Powered. Time to get my revenge on you and your weird name.
Quick question: what's a shooter without decent weapons? Simply put, Spriggan Powered. I don't even have to get into the weapons themselves to know that they're not that good. Just look at the controls: no automatic turbo. Why do shooters do this? What's that I'm hearing about charging? That's just less time I spend shooting things. The only time you can pull shit like that is on the Turbografx-16, and that's only because five people have ever heard of the damn thing. And then you get into the weapons, and things get mildly disappointing. You have two that shoot like crazy, and two that spread out a bit. OK, there's more to them than that, especially when you charge (is that supposed to be the reason?), but it's amazing how similarly they all behave. Hell, they all have the same problem, too: everything is too damn small. It's really amazing that I'm able to kill anything with a gun that takes up less space than a pixel, but amazingly, it's possible. I know that I've complained about shots that are way too huge in the past, but there is a middle ground. It's called Spriggan Powered. Wait, I think I lost my point in that last series of sentences. Was it that this game is really pretty, but aside from one cool twist, it's just a regular-ass shooter? Actually, I think it was that the weapon system isn't really fleshed out, but let's pretend that it was that other thing, because I don't have much more to say about Spriggan Powered.
- This game looks as amazing as Dead Rising is ugly.
- Dodging bullets is good, even if there aren't a lot to dodge.
- Oh, there's a weapon system. It's not that good.