The Last Known Survivor Stalks His Prey In The Night
Procrastination time is over. Time to write my review for the first annual Royal Review Rumble. (For those of you Sploder denizens who do not know what the Royal Review Rumble is, it is a competition to be held annually to to determine the best reviewers out there. This year it is being hosted by yours truly so I must not disappoint.) I did a lot of soul searching and brain racking in my pursuit of a game to review. I am much more picky than your average reviewer in this aspect. However, at that last moment when all seemed lost I literally happened upon this little beauty by the shooter genius known only as guess. Going in I wasn't very familiar with his work, which actually benefited me some because I was able to delve into the game without any prior expectations. No preconceived notions equals an unbiased review. I hope. Anyone, enough of my blathering. Time to get to what is most important.
"Take a look at this Photograph"
No. I refuse to do a segment about the thumbnail. I refuse to acknowledge thumbnails as having any significance at all to their corresponding game. They don't affect the game therefor talking about them in a review is meaningless. MOVING ON!
Dead or Survivor is your basic, simple shooter game. Guess chose to feature a more action oriented style of gameplay rather than the puzzle motif that is becoming more popular today. Being an action-oriented game the gist of the experience is this: Shoot through the enemies, blow up the keys, collect the crystals, bring the flags back to the base, blow up more enemies, collect more crystals. You know, your basic simplistic action game.
Ultimately, the deciding factor of an action game is the challenge. Enemy and item placement both majorly factor into this. An action game fails with poor enemy placement. That being said, the upcoming section on enemies shall be something interesting to read. I have many thoughts on the subject. (I can hardly wait to write it!) The other important facet of a good action game is precise use and placement of curative items, surplus ammo and ammo upgrades, as well as anything else that falls under the header "Helpers and Power-Ups". Much like with enemies, poor use of these items in an action game can really take away from the overall experience. Too many power-ups and the game becomes way too easy. To few and the game could become impossible, and we all know that game that can not be beaten is simply no fun.
If Dead or Survivor can not find that delicate balance of enemies and power-ups it will be in a heap of trouble. Did it rise to the challenge? Will it be dead or a survivor? Let's find out together, shall we?
"Do You Know Your Enemy?"
As I said before, enemy placement in an action game is immensely important. Too many and the game is simply impossible. (Having too many can also cause the game to lag, which is very frowned upon.) Place too few enemies and the game becomes way too easy. It may even cease to be an action game. Another danger is in placing enemies so they can be easily destroyed without even needing to directly engage them. To put it simply, placing enemies so your players can easily destroy them = very bad. (Unless, of course, you have a very reasonable reason for doing so.) Now, the first thing I have to say about this game is that guess did an adequate job at placing his enemies. There was only a couple of instances where I could cheat my way to destroying an enemy, which is always something that I take note of when playing through a game. Most enemies aside from the two disruptors you can see in the thumbnail must be taken out using more legitimate means. (When I say "legitimate means" I am referring to the means that the creator of the game intended you to use. A sign of a good game is that you can only do what the creator intended you to do.) The only other suspect enemies were a pair of reversers that you could successfully attack with your machine gun or laser without putting yourself in danger simply by shooting at the correct angle. Aside from that guess did a very satisfactory job. He had just the right amount of enemies to avoid any trace of lag while simultaneously having enough enemies to keep the game challenging. (Or at least the game would have been challenging if it had not been for the... You know what? Never mind. Just keep reading. You'll find out later.) So to get to the point he gets a pass as far as enemy placement is concerned. The dude does in fact know his enemies.
"1, 21 Guns"
I will just say now that this game would have been much more suited to having just one gun, rather than twenty-one. What I mean to say is that this game's fatal flaw was that guess went way overboard with his power-ups. (The guns in my analogy.) I finished this game with an overflowing health meter. I was never in danger of losing in this game and thus all challenge was ruined. Guess did, however, attempt to discourage his players from going after all the power-ups by letting stronger enemies guard the larger supply caches, which is commendable. It doesn't help much, though, because experienced players can defeat those enemies whilst losing only a minimal amount of HP, if any at all. Instead of letting just one large cruiser guard each cache he should have used two on each. This would then justify the obscene amount health he included in these caches. Ultimately, though, he gets a fail in the department of item placement. In fact, he failed this category so badly he also failed in maintaining the overall challenge factor. He just included way too many health boosts for this game to be at all challenging. When a game is not even challenging enough for me, it is probably not challenging enough for anybody.
I will basically be reiterating myself here as I try to sum up my thoughts on this game and wrap this thing up. From the onset of this review I said since this game was designed to be an action-type game that I was going to be focusing on the challenge of the game, as that is the most import aspect in my opinion of action types. The two most important contributing factors to an action game's challenge factor are enemy and item placement so I chose to delve into both of those. The enemy placement had one or two flaws but I deemed it satisfactory enough. The fatal flaw of this game was the excess of health boosts placed throughout the game. They make the game almost impossible to lose. I mentioned before how being impossible to beat a game is bad. Not being able to lose a game can be just as bad, if not worse. It was this that made Dead or Survivor a failure in my eyes.
"High School Never Ends"
Yup. Still gotta do grades so bear with me a little longer please.
Final Score: 11/25
(Btw, if you didn't figure it out I was using song titles and lyrics as section titles.)