It's been a while since Comic Jumper came out for XBLA and it's offensive presence in my mind has remained despite other, more important games, and real life stuff popping up in the meantime. I reviewed it for GamePeople and XBLAFans were kind enough to republish it on their site. I have to admit that it's not my best work by any stretch. When a game infuriates me so much, as Comic Jumper did, it can be very difficult to condense your thoughts into something readable and cohesive. I task I didn't quite live up to.
I know my problems with the game's attempt at parody and portrayal of women is in the minority (this is only a videogame we're talking about right? So those subject don't really matter...) but the core gameplay itself was so unbalanced, uninteresting and dull that I'm baffled as to how it could get such high scores across the board. Anyway, if you want to read a much better dissection of the game's problems then check out Jeffrey Sandlin's review over at Bitmob. It hasn't got anywhere near the attention it deserves - give it a boost and make him happy!
After that nonsense I was pretty much convinced that Dead Rising 2 would be an equally difficult experience. I'd played only a brief part of the first game and as much as I enjoyed Case Zero, I thought the long and winding road of a full Dead Rising game would piss me off something stupid. Well I'll be Betty Ford if it hasn't blown me away with its madcap play and surprisingly meaningful moments. I don't mean in any full on, Nier-like meditation about a father-daughter relationship and the bitterness of the apocalypse. Rather, the blend of sheer fun you can have within DR2's setting is contrasted wonderfully with some of the psychopath encounters.
Dressed up in gore, slapstick comedy and pathos, these moments can contain some bizarrely poignant scenes. Slappy the mascot springs to mind immediately and despite being an absolute bitch to kill unless you're at a high-level, his final few moments were surprisingly melodramatic. Elsewhere this theme is repeated with survivors and psychopaths alike. Others are more overt commentaries on America or the West in general and although laced with irony and humour, still have a subtle power to them (well, to me at least).
This is what I love most about Dead Rising 2. You can be hacking down zombies with an augmented chainsaw motorbike one moment and then taking on a load of anti-socialist Southern Hicks the next - all the time searching for the next dose of Zombrex that your daughter needs to stay alive.
My review is over at GamePeople and it will be the last frequent contribution I make for that website. I'm moving on in order to widen my experience at other sites and I wish the editors over there all the best for the future. I'll still be maintaining a presence, probably once a month at the most, so I won't be gone completely but my days of providing large amounts of content are over.
My new gig is with Strategy Informer and you can check out my review for History: Great Battles Medieval over there. It's strange to be giving a score to a game after years of writing for a site that doesn't deal with them but I'm enjoying the challenge of writing mainstream copy instead of more niche and focused material. Hopefully it will help me improve my writing and put a stop to the bad habits I'm sure I've fallen into (just count how many times I write 'certainly')
So what happens here? Well, I'll still be farting out more navel-gazing guff when I can and I'll be putting some thoughts together about Vanquish pretty soon. This won't be a usual review (cos that'll go up on Strategy Informer) but more likely concentrating on the Voltaire elements that the game does its best to hide. Yes, I can even try to find some soulful stuff in Vanquish - what madness. If I get round to it I may even try to spruce up this plain old blog to look something like a proper site. I hear animated gifs are all the rage these days...
Jeffrey Sandlin on Comic Jumper: