Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop Review

Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop brings the 360 game to the Wii, while making a few changes to improve some aspects of the game, although some are for the worse. How exactly does the game stack up to the original and is it worth your money? Read on to find out.

The first thing to mention is that this is not a new Dead Rising game, in the sense of a sequel. Chop Till You Drop follows the same story as the 360 version as you play Frank West, a freelance photographer looking for a scoop in a zombie-infested mall. Most of the game is set up into cases, with the ability to save survivors scattered throughout the mall in between these main-story sections. While the story is the same, featuring the same cut scenes, the set up is a bit different.

Instead of giving you 72 “hours” to do whatever you want, hopefully following the story and saving survivors as they become available, you are bound to doing missions, with no time restrictions. In this way, you don’t have to worry about going after survivors who only have an “hour” left to live or getting back to the safe room to meet a time restriction to start the next case. This however, does not mean that you can just go around doing whatever you want and having fun. Instead, your gameplay is broken into small little missions, between saving stranded people and progressing in the story. Otis will send you on 2-3 missions before you move on to the next case, and unfortunately, these feel very repetitive and boring.

Each of the survivor-saving missions Otis sends you on are mostly similar. You follow the arrow to the survivor, talk to them until they agree to go with you, and then take them back to the safe room. Sometimes you have to fight a mini-boss before you can get to the person, but typically you just go to them and that’s it. Because you do this again and again, it starts to feel like a chore, which is never good. All of these missions are timed, starting from 0 and counting up, and when you finish, you are given a score depending on your time, damage you’ve taken, and zombies you’ve killed. If you get a high enough score, you can unlock some special items, and are given some money, which you can spend for weapons and other items.

The actual mall has the same layout as in the original, although Capcom had to change a few things to make it more workable for the Wii’s supposed limited capabilities. For instance, they couldn’t fit as many zombies on-screen as the 360 could, so instead of having hundreds, you have a handful, and they filter on-screen as you move forward, GTA-style. To help with the diminished amount of zombies, they added in a few special zombies, like dogs and parrots, and stronger zombies who have weapons and deal out large amounts of damage. Also to account for this lack of zombies, the game forces you to follow a specific path so you can actually run into these zombies, in that many walkways are blocked off and given the fact you can’t jump, you are forced to go a certain direction to progress. This is very unfortunate in that you can’t have any creativity in how you move and you can’t choose your path to an extent. You are being limited in what you can do and because of it you will be taking the same path over and over again, which again, makes the game feel more repetitive. Luckily though, because the game is set up this way, there are still plenty of zombies to kill and maneuver around and do whatever you like with, so don’t worry about there only being 10 zombies in the entire game, as that’s not the case at all. In about 6 hours, I killed around 6,000 zombies without trying, so there are still tons to impale, shoot up, decapitate, etc.

The weapon system has also been changed to a degree, and I would say for the better. You still have a limited inventory like before, however things are different now. Your inventory is comprised of guns, ammo, special weapons and tools, and health items. You can also carry one melee weapon, like a sword or knife, and one other special weapon, like a skateboard, chain saw, or umbrella. If you climb something, aim to shoot your gun, or other such action, then you will drop your big special weapon, like the chain saw, however, you will still have your melee weapon. This allows for the ability to carry a variety of weapons and switch between them very easily. For instance, if you are slashing at someone with a sword, but then want to shoot, you don’t have to scroll through your inventory, but merely press the B aim button and then fire a bullet, and when you release B, you have your sword in hand, ready to take out some more zombies. I really like the way this is implemented, although it definitely changes the game-style up a bit, as there is a greater focus on guns and shooting.

In the original game, you could pick up guns as an item, and I believe they would simply disappear when you ran out of ammo, however, that is not the case in Chop Till You Drop. Here, you keep your guns and pick up large quantities of ammo, very similar to Resident Evil 4, which makes sense as the game uses its engine. In fact, the guns are the same as those in RE4, as is the aiming and a few other control schemes. So yes, the aiming thankfully uses the Wii remote’s IR, which is many times better than the dreadful aiming in the 360 version. However, because guns and ammo are plentiful, this decreases the difficulty of the game. In the original, you only had a small amount of ammo to deal with, and thus had to use random items as weapons and improvise to get through the hordes of zombies and defeat bosses, but now, you can just use your shotgun, pistol, rifle, and others to mow down zombie after zombie and defeat bosses in no time, making the game a bit easier and more trivial.

Also following in the footsteps of RE4 is the use of Wii's motion controls. Luckily, these are hardly ever used actually, and mostly used only to either shake a zombie off of you, or dodge an incoming attack. A prompt will also come up for other special moves that you can perform, although there aren’t that many and they depend on what weapon you have equipped. For instance, the typical move you can perform to a stunned enemy is a tackle, but if you have an axe, you can perform a swinging attack.

Some other changes to note are that the camera element of the game, with taking pictures and gaining extra PP has been completely removed. You still gain PP from killing zombies and saving stranded survivors, and leveling up, but you don’t get to use the camera at all, which is an interesting decision on Capcom’s part. The text has been redone though, so you can actually read what the people are saying and follow along with the story, which is very welcomed. The number of different items has also been decreased, which is very unfortunate, as the 360 version made nearly everything a weapon, but now, not so much. There are still lots of things you can pick up and use, but the amount of such items has definitely been reduced.

To make up for some of these shortcomings, Chop Till You Drop has added in some extra bonuses for players to enjoy. For starters, there are a variety of unlockable clothing options that you can obtain from either getting a high ranking on a mission or beating the game. There are also a few weapons to unlock, like the Chicago Typewriter, a weapon that, if you’ve played RE4 already know, is completely bad-ass. And finally, you can play through a couple of extra modes, which will keep you busy for a bit.

These extra modes include Odd Jobs and Second Amendment. Odd Jobs has you completing short missions that basically have you killing a certain number of zombies a certain way. For instance, you may only have 2 bullets, or a frying pan, etc. Second Amendment only gives you a sniper rifle and pits you in a variety of missions, such as protect humans, shoot some balloons, only shoot a specific target zombie, etc. Each of these missions in both modes typically take a minute or two to complete and once you do, you are graded on how you did, with main relevance on either time or accuracy. These are a fun distraction, but won’t take up too much of your time.

Overall, Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop is a worthy port. The story is still intact, the weapons and guns are easier to use, the number of zombies is still perfectly fine, and there are some unlockables and extra modes to keep you playing. Unfortunately, some of the changes are for the worse. The graphics, of course, have been turned down, sections have been roped off, the camera is gone, the number of weapons have decreased, and the missions are set up in such a way that brings about a feeling of repetition and a loss of freedom. If you have the 360 version, then there is absolutely no reason to get Chop Till You Drop, however, if you haven’t played the original and like destroying zombies, then you’ll probably enjoy the game.

Overall Score: 6.7/10

Posted in cooperation with GamersPlatform

1 comment:

Hampig said...

Eh. I'll pass. The thing that made the first great was the fact that you could literally see the hundreds of zombies just wandering around.