Review by Locklan

"Decent follow up title, but...."

Having played the original to death I looked forward to this game with great anticipation. Is it all that I'd hoped for? Well not really.

Gameplay 8/10. The game shows improvement over the original in most areas. They have added many more combos and in depth character upgrades while you play. Small things like automatic reload when you fire your last shot and having the life and magic dots not disappear so fast are a plus. As your character goes up levels their weapon graphic changes some of which look great, though Martyr's pistols look pretty bad in upgraded form. The difficulty is too easy on the default level so jack it up a notch if you are a game veteran. The game has several characters to unlock, a couple of which you might actually use, they also promised alternate outfits which wasn't exactly the truth as they are only available through X-Box live.
Problems: The original game attacked you with swarms of zombies seeking to overwhelm you with numbers while this game attacks with fewer but stronger enemies. The problem is in multiplayer you often run out of enemies to attack and end up in drag races with teammates for the only visible kill. There is also some balancing issues. The first boss is arguably the strongest in the game which seems a bit off kilter and there remain clear differences in character ability {Judge is in a word 'overpowered' in a game with fewer enemies}. The levels are pretty vanilla not bad or great but there is an excellent elevator level late in the game that leaves you wishing for more and the zombies from the first game barely make an appearance, it would have made more sense to alternate zombie mobs and the new stronger characters that populate most levels.

Story 3/10. This is the train wreck segment of the game. What story there is can be hard to find and consists of a whopping three cut scenes, beginning, middle, and end of the game and one of those barely merits mention. The opening scene of the game is the best but after that point they either got lazy or ran out of time because the five remaining minutes of story are terribly written {give a garden variety 8th grader two hours and he could do better} and come off cheesy. The original game had little bits of dialogue for each character so that it was different for each character that you used. Alas that was apparently way too much work because now they have the enemies and allie's speaking, presumably, to your hunters but they don't show the characters or have them say a word. It looks ridiculous. They have excellent voice acting {Excepting Defender who overacts , though her lines are the worst} which they don't use. Did they call these people in to do two lines each or what? If you are going to the trouble of having these people come in you might as well use them. The game also fails to end properly, just when you think your getting to the meat, you get the wait till next year teaser.

Graphics:8/10. I liked the graphics in the first game and they are improved here. The running and attack animations are solid even if Judge looks a bit old. Enemies have better design and weapons look much better. The game does lack some subtle things in the death animations and explosive effects.

Control:7/10. The control is about the same as the last one. With the longer combo's its easy to get off track so they added changing directions in melee with the right analogue stick, it works but not to an overwhelming degree. Your weapon also can auto aim in strange directions and the new grenade launcher weapon is too inaccurate to be useful.

Music:7/10 really isn't remarkable in either a negative or positive manner.

The final verdict:7/10 This game is fun to play and the new combo's and characters make it feel new enough if you played the first one to death. That said the game feels rushed and you wonder how much story was left because they didn't have time to get it in. I don't regret spending fifty on it and would rate it worth a buy if you liked the first game.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 11/25/03

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