Author Topic: Days 2 Die  (Read 1883 times)

Offline Fanghawk

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Days 2 Die
« on: October 09, 2009, 12:22:08 AM »
It's not hard these days to find zombie content. Pop culture seems fixated with them at the moment, creating games, movies, comics, and encouraging us all to make zombie plans. It's not surprising that this carries onto the Flash gaming scene with a couple of games in a series called "Days 2 Die" that add some interesting gameplay elements to the zombie shooter concept.

Days 2 Die is a 2d side-scroller in which your character must survive waves of zombie hordes. Unlike the single-location approach of defense games like Last Stand, D2D places you in a cartoon-like-yet-still-threatening zombie apocalypse environment in which you must face waves of zombies while making your way to safety. Each level playthrough consists of a preparation, battle, and purchase phase, altogether taking up one day of game time. In preparation mode you can freely wander your location to get a feel for it, make note of zombie entrance points, set up barricades, and anxiously click the start button the summon the horde. In the battle phase, zombies will pour in through the entrance points for a minute and a half. Once the timer has completed and all zombies are cleared, you move to a purchase screen where you can restock on ammo or buy new weapons. After spending four "days" in one place, a new location will be opened for you, each becoming progressively more complex in layout and floor design and more difficult in the strength of zombie mutations. You'll begin in a simple suburban home, and must fight through a supermarket, apartment building, police station, and an abandoned military checkpoint before finally arriving at a harbor for the ending cutscene.

The purchase phase adds another interesting layer of gameplay by allowing you to hire mercenaries to join you in battle. The mercs are inspired by characters from other video games, zombie shooters in particular (Bill, Louis, and Francis are three of your choices in D2D, Zoey is added in the sequel). In the preparation phase, you can order mercs to stay in one location for the battle or follow you, adding another layer of strategy. Having NPCs fighting with you does help relieve some of the monotony of the levels. Unfortunately most of the mercs have very high initial purchase costs and all of them have daily salaries that must be paid if they're to stay with you beyond a single day. The amount of money you earn each round will not be enough to have every NPC with you for the final level, especially if you want to afford a selection of weapons for yourself.

D2D has some interesting gameplay, creepy atmospheric sounds, and nice level visuals, but some flaws hold it back from replayable perfection. I get the feeling that the designer wanted the player to run and gun zombies back and forth across each location, adrenalin pumping through your veins while you simultaneously cut loose on your enemies and enjoy the scenery. Perhaps it's just me, but I found this approach IMPOSSIBLY DIFFICULT. Any time I tried braved beyond my barricades, or the horde managed to break through, no amount of running and gunning were quick enough to save me. My strategy for most of the game was to find a dead-end room, barricade myself in, and shoot the incoming zombies until the time ran out. This action would restrict me to an obscure corner of the level, and kept me from enjoying the work the designer put into his larger locations. In the grand scheme of things, I'm not sure how much I'm missing, because other then their visual aesthetic the levels themselves have little gameplay value; they consist primarily of new layouts for zombie entrances and stairs/ladder locations. There are very few level-specific barricades available. Also, items like tables that you want to jump on to get away are firmly set in the background, leaving you and the horde on the same playing field. This might have been fine if you only spent one or two days in a single location, but when you have to play each level four times before you can proceed, it gets a little grating. That's not to say the game doesn't have potential, it just needs the kinks ironed out.

Thankfully, the designer recently released a sequel that does some of this. ;D

Days 2 Die 2: The Other Side could be considered an expansion more then a true sequel, but the added gameplay elements flesh out an experience that would have naturally fit into the first installment. While the first game is really just a series of survival maps with a basic backstory, the sequel implements a story mode using a set of interconnected levels that you can progress back and forth through to meet various objectives. The more interesting objectives include finding items to start a getaway car, tracking down fellow survivors, or killing boss zombies, all of which add much-needed variety to the repetitive "Prepare-Battle-Purchase" routine. The difficulty is also more balanced to allow for run-and-gun gameplay, and you will occasionally gain help from NPCs that you don't have to mortgage your house to obtain (although you still have a selection of Mercs to beef up your forces if need be). If you're a sadist who prefered the original gameplay, there's a survival mode that includes all the maps from the original and a few "survivalized" maps from the story mode. Each level must be conquered four times sequentially before you can unlock the next, but it's still a step in the right direction.

In the end, the Days 2 Die games are an interesting idea that are worth a playthrough and hold potential for future releases.Check them out!
« Last Edit: December 02, 2009, 07:58:35 PM by Little Bugger »

 

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