Review by Mechsaurian
"So awesome, so cheesy, so Capcom!"
I downloaded the demo for this game due to a tipoff from a friend. The GTA-style open endedness and just overall COOL factor made me frothing at the mouth to buy it. It's a great game and really, the cheesy dialogue and stereotyped characters are just so... Capcom. I've come to expect these things from them, and they actually add a little B-side atmosphere to the game. But is it a good game in general?
Staggering. Humans and environments look real enough to touch, and although Zombies are a little less "next-gen" looking, so many are on the screen at a time that they form a sort of ocean of moaning, rotten corpses. Blood effects and attack animations look just awesome, too. Frank himself really stole the show in some parts; from his hilariously proportioned nose and the individual hairs on his head to the picture-perfect loafers he wears, Frank seems like a living, breathing being.
Zombies? Awesome. Weapon effects? Awesome. Cinematic Voiceovers? Awesome (if unintentionally funny in some parts). Even Frank's roars and cries of agony are awesome.
But then there's the matter of voiceovers for the characters in-game. Most NPC's have 2 or 3 lines they constantly repeat. All in-game dialogue is delivered not through voice-overs, but through agonizingly small-print speech boxes (really, they take you back to PS1 days. But somehow I'm not feeling the nostalgia). These NPC's got to be extremely grating after awhile, but most of the game you will not have to listen to them. If the game had in-game voiceovers, this could easily have been a 10.
This is, I believe, the most perfect "mission-oriented sandbox game" ever made. You can literally do whatever the hell you want. If you'd prefer to save every survivor in the mall, go for it. If you want to complete the missions, that's even better. There are six different endings to earn, but they are more of an afterthought than a real incentive to play a certain way.
And Capcom's boasting about being able to use ANYTHING you want in a fight? Well, it's not true, but it comes very close. Antique weapon stores, gardening centers, and rifle dealerships can be visited to get your meaty mitts on all kinds of great stuff to kill with. Many enemies will also drop weapons when killed. And finally, even random things lying around (like 2x4's, trash cans, and even benches) can be used in a destructive way. And Capcom even forces you to use a little ingenuity in difficult situations by making weapons break easily. Few games let you experience slicing up a horde of zombies with a sickle, only to throw it into a zombies head and start whaling away with a lead pipe a few moments later.
And the actual missions are difficult and engaging. Escorting random survivors and killing screwed up bosses make up the bulk of the game's missions, and many interesting rewards can be found for completing these odd little quests.
A blatant rip off of Dawn of the Dead, and worse, it's made by Capcom. Get prepared for cringe-worthy one liners and cardboard cutout characters with a mission to complete. Still, the game's blatant cheesiness has some charm, and the voice overs are pretty good for a Capcom game (almost as good as RE4's)
Plus, there's the fact that Frank is essentially a badass with a camera. That definately adds interest.
It is impossible to complete everything in the three days the game gives you. The end. And since so many new things can be seen and done the second time through, you'll want to play through multiple times to give every boss a licking, and every survivor a hand in actually surviving. Overtime mode (essentially an extension of the story) and Infinite mode (a neverending mode where you must survive and keep Frank from starving as well) add a lot of interest. The only thing Capcom could possibly do to make this game longer-lasting is add multiplayer, but seriously, how would that work?
Fans of action games or even RPG's will want to give this one a go. Frank becomes more powerful as the game drags on, and the game is so addicting that you will want to play it over many times to get all the things you missed. A few flaws hurt this gem, but it's otherwise a real treat.
RENT OR BUY?
That, reader, is up to you. If you want to beat this game once, rent it. You will love it, and when you return it you probably couldn't be happier that you spent 5 dollars on it instead of 60. Buying it is almost akin to buying a new hobby; I have had many days where I just feel like killing a ton of zombies. This game has something for everyone; serious gamers will love turning Frank into a powerhouse and completing the myriad missions that occupy the game, while casual players will just love slicing and dicing hordes of zombies with every conceivable object.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/25/06
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