Review by y2mckay
"Does D stand for"
I remember playing (or trying to play) the first D on PS1. It was so incredibly slow in processing graphics and moving gameplay along, and so mind-numbingly boring, that I gave up quickly. After playing Myst, 7th guest, and Phantasmagoria on the PC, D1 was an absolute clunker.
Then I saw D2 in the dreamcast section and decided to give it a try. I figured, ''Hey, this is the dreamcast, this game will probably be much better than the original''. Better? yes. Much? no.
Where do I begin in my rants about this game? First of all, when you choose ''View opening movie'' from the start menu, it promptly asks you to put Disk 4 in. Whose brilliant idea was it to put the opening movie on the LAST disk? Anyway, I was then treated to a mindless 20 minute video that did little to establish any kind of interesting characters or story. Then I was asked to insert Disk 1 to begin playing. I did so, with a slight grumble in my voice. Then the game launched into another ten minutes of pointless FMV exposition. There were so many damn cutscenes in this game I was starting to wonder if I was ever actually going to PLAY. Then I was allowed to go outside and shoot some rabbits with the hunting rifle. This didn't seem too difficult at first, but that changed quickly.
Now let's discuss the ''exploration'' mode of this game. This is the most ridiculous, hare-brained system I have ever seen. You step into a room, switch to first person view, and have to use the direction pad to look from section to section of the room, then move forward and inspect whatever is there. Then, to look to the next section, you have to BACK UP, hit the < or > button, and move forward again. This is a carry over from the first D game which should have been done away with completely, and sadly wasn't. The entire game would have been much better if it had stuck with 3rd person, like Resident Evil and all its clones. I know everyone complains about being bored with the Resident Evil style of navigation, but after playing this game, believe me, there are much worse alternatives.
So the indoor/exploratory mode is a washout. Let's discuss Outdoor mode now. This is slightly better. The snowy terrain looks pretty good, and has some animated effects like trees and other objects that sway in the wind that make it look fairly realistic. However, it quickly gets monotonous, and it also seems ridiculous that the character can run around in snow wearing high heels, nylons, and a skirt, without suffering any ill effects from the cold. That's like putting Lara Croft in antarctica while still in her bikini. At least in Tomb Raider the character dressed appropriately for the environment.
The big problems with being outdoors are
1)Control of Laura is not all that great. It will take a bit of concentration to merely make her run in a straight line and not weave all over like a drunken sailor.
2)you are supposed to hunt for meat, which replenishes health. This seems simple enough when you are given a few sacrificial hares to shoot at the beginning. However, Every single animal I tried to draw a bead on after that had a lovely habit of standing still until I pulled out the rifle. Then they would miraculously sense the presence of the great white hunter and go scampering off out of sight before you could even adjust your scope. Let me add that the controls for the sniper rifle are extremely cumbersome (making Syphon Filter's seem smooth as silk by comparison) and the scope view shakes even worse than Solid Snake's did in Metal Gear. Hunting game becomes a dubious and frustrating process. Luckily, there are first aid cannisters scattered all about.
3)In your travels thorugh the snow, you are forced into combat mode every 20 seconds. I'm not exaggerating. If you thought the sudden forced combat in Parasite Eve got kinda old, wait until you try this. Here is where we discover the game's other huge first-person flaw. Combat shifts to first person view and you are forced to stand in place while surrounded by 1 to 3 monsters (the same 1 to 3 monsters, apparently, because they look identical in every battle). You use the joystick to control the crosshairs for your weapon, and the face buttons to switch between targets. Since you can't move and you have no peripheral vision, you will often be smacked by one monster form the side while shooting at another, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it. You also have to reload frequently, and each monster takes several rounds to drop. Luckily for you, there seems to be infinite ammo, but then, there would have to be since you are exposed to combat mode for what seems and infinite ammount of times whenever traveling from point A to B. I thought that the constantly respawning monsters in Evil Dead were annoying at first. I was wrong. The battles in that game are at least fun, once you know how to use the weapon combos and dodge attacks. But this just seems like an exercise in tedium, and every battle looks and feels like the same one over and over.
My other HUGE gripe about this game is the characters, such as they are. Every character in the game seems to drone on excessively, often spouting nonsense. Meanwhile, Laura, who is supposed to be our strong protagonist, says Nary a word. Instead, she merely giggles or makes little ''ooooh'' sounds, as she looks at everything in the game with a perplexed look on her face, like a chimp contemplating a shiny object. Whose idea was it to make her a mute? Just because she was in the first game (because everyone was, because it was a crappy game without the means to include character voices) doesn't mean she had to be in this one. It's just as well, though, considering everyone else in the game talks enough for themselves and her.
Bottom line, this is a sad attempt at continuing the D franchise, or making any interesting new entry into a survival horror genre that is already overrun with many mediocre games copying a few good ones. The game tries unsuccesfully to mesh different playing styles, creating a frustrating and tedious mix. Also, the heroine is bland and uninspiring, especially after enjoying the likes of Jill Valentine or Claire Redfield. I guess I'm going to have to go back to playing Code Veronica, or even Evil Dead some more, because even the fifth replay of those games is more exciting and less irritating than the first run through of D2.
Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 01/18/01, Updated 01/18/01
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