Skip to main content

Two Be Frank

Despite the fact that Dark Souls is probably all the game I would ever need, I found myself distracted last week by two things: a nasty tension headache, and Dead Rising 2: Off The Record.
Off The Record is basically a non-canonical spinoff game of the original Dead Rising 2 where the protagonist is replaced by the protagonist of the first game, Frank West, a hard nosed war journalist who is a bit of a likable jerk.  The canonical hero of the second game, Chuck Greene, was a former motocross champion and a more sympathetic single father with a sick kid.  Sorry Chuck, Frank was just more fun, and I guess that sentiment was strong enough for this spinoff to happen.

Of course, the real star of the game is the zombies.  Dead Rising is a series very much about navigating seas of the walking dead.  Perhaps the foremost feature of the series was putting hordes of them on the screen at once.  Tens of them in the foreground, with several times that in effective imitators shambling about in the background.  The interface is perhaps deliberately awkward, hightening the sense of horror in dealing with a situation like this.  The storyline is inspired by some of the most well-known zombie movies of recent years. 

There's also more than a little bit of tongue-in-cheek lunacy.  As you wander abandoned businesses, you can choose to dress up in ridiculous outfits, bike around on a kid's tricycle, and kill zombies bludgeoning them to death with dildos.  You could also choose not to be such a weirdo, but hey: if you're going to go through a zombie apocalypse, you might as well have fun with it.
Oddly enough, a second star attraction of the game seems to be the adult content.  There's no actual sex or visible naughty bits, but the game takes place in a Vegas alternative "adult playground," and consequently has no shortage of sexual paraphernalia and sex workers, many of which have skirted the main outbreak and now require rescue.  

I don't know if it's because there was a collaboration with Playboy, or if it's because there was a little bit of titillation in the first game and they were hoping to recapture its acclaim by upping the ante.  Regardless, there seems to be a remarkably lecherous handling of the ladies, with a cutscene camera that fixates overmuch on boob and butt, and it's rare to find a living woman in the game who is neither in some state of undress nor spouting lines out of a porn script.

Well, I came for the gameplay, not the lechery.  (Honest!)  Slaying undead, rescuing survivors, and unraveling the mystery behind the outbreak is very fun.  Like the first game, Dead Rising 2 keeps the clock running during the whole action adventure, so you are unlikely to be able to be all places at once in your first run through, and this ratchets up the tension.  Meanwhile, you are earning "Prestige Points" which levels up Frank and unlocks new capabilities, giving a strong sense of progression without becoming a full-fledged RPG mechanic.  This was also the first game in the series to add "combo cards," which is basically learning how to make powerful survival equipment by sticking two things together on a work bench.
Admittedly, a large part of the games I have been playing lately are inspired by watching the GameGrumps play something similar.
Overall, the Dead Rising series is a great sandbox.  On a blog about sandboxes, it definitely deserves mentioning.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Resonant Induction Really Grinds My Gears... In A Good Way

From about 2pm yesterday until 8pm today, I've been dabbling with my latest custom mod mix for Minecraft 1.6.4, which is this time very much Universal Electricity focused.
Aside from the usual GUI enhancers and Somnia, the primary contenders in this mix were:
Calclavia Core - Of course: this is the base of the Universal Electricity system.Resonant Induction - This seems to be largely focused on increasingly more advanced methods of refining ores divided across 4 ages of technological progression.  It also includes some really cool things such as assembly lines.  I'll primarily be talking about just a few blocks out of this mod today.Atomic Science - A mod dedicated to generating more of those lovely universal electricity volts via the power of splitting the atom.  Build your own nuclear reactor!  Deal with nuclear meltdowns!  You maniac!ICBM - A mod dedicated to generating more destruction using those lovely universal electricity volts (and more than a little gunpowder), it cer…

Empyrion Vrs Space Engineers: A Different Kind Of Space Race

In my quest for more compelling virtual worlds, I have been watching Empyrion: Galactic Survival a lot this bizarro weekend, mostly via the Angry Joe Show twitch stream.  What I have concluded from my observations is Empyrion is following in Space Engineers' shadow, but it is nevertheless threatening the elder game due to a greater feature set (the modding scene notwithstanding).

Empyrion is made in Unity, whereas Space Engineers is built on a custom engine.  While this does put Empyrion at a disadvantage when it comes to conceptual flexibility, its developers nevertheless have a substantial advantage when it comes to adding features due to a savings of time spent that would have gone into developing their own engine.  Examples include:
Planets.  Empyrion already has planets and space to explore between them, whereas in Space Engineers planets are in the works but still awhile away (so you just have asteroid fields to scavenge).Enemies.  Space Engineers' survival mode boasts onl…

Greasing The Grind: Adding Lasting Appeal To Virtual World Sandboxes

Game design, being about entertainment, is not as much science as art.  We're coming up with interesting things that the human mind likes to chew on that "taste" good to it.  Different people find different things, "Fun," and a game designer is tasked with coming up with fun, appealing things.  As pertains to virtual world sandboxes, I identified three of them.

Challenge Appeal.

Dwarf Fortress and Fortresscraft Evolved have the same end game appeal preservation mechanic: wealth equals threat.  The more money your Dwarf Fortress is worth, the bigger the baddies who will come for you, including a bunch of snobby useless nobles who do nothing but push dwarves around and eat.  The more energy you make in Fortresscraft Evolved, the more and bigger bugs come to shut down your base.  Rimworld does something a little different based off of which AI Storyteller you choose, but it generally adds time to your wealth accumulation when deciding what kind of threats to throw a…