Developer: PikPok Publisher: Versus Evil Platform: Nintendo Switch Price: $34.99 Release Date: October 25th, 2019 Date Reviewed: October 25th, 2019 Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch Review Code Provided: Yes (with DLC) […]
- Developer: PikPok
- Publisher: Versus Evil
- Platform: Nintendo Switch
- Price: $34.99
- Release Date: October 25th, 2019
- Date Reviewed: October 25th, 2019
- Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
- Review Code Provided: Yes (with DLC)
I mean, I guess it’s befitting, even if it isn’t a compliment.
So, Into the Dead 2 isn’t exactly a game I could find much in the way of information on. That’s actually part of the reason I initially chose to review this game, apart from wanting to get more experience under my belt with all kinds of games. All I could really find on this game in particular is that it’s the product of PikPok, and it was initially a mobile game that came out about 2 years before this Switch port. I couldn’t even find many full-fledged reviews of it myself. It’s like some ghost game that exists in the void.
That being said, what exactly IS Into the Dead 2? On the surface, it just looks like a generic zombie survival horror game. And you’d be right about that for the most part, Into the Dead 2 has one relatively interesting thing going for it. Into the Dead 2 is a zombie survival horror game where the main gimmick is that you run forward automatically, and have to get to the end of each level by strategically avoiding obstacles in your path.
And if you couldn’t tell by the title of this review, I don’t think it’s fun.
In Into the Dead 2, you take control of James, a man trying to make his way to his sister Helen and daughter Maggie during the apocalypse. On his truck drive home, he strikes a zombie in the road and loses control, with blood covering his windshield. His truck turns over and he crashes directly into a horde of zombies. With nothing but his own two feet, a bunch of guns, and more flesh-eating animals than a person should legally be allowed to own (including a Bear, a Bengal Tiger, and Slimer from Ghostbusters because yes this game crossed over with Ghostbusters), James is on a journey to find his family with plenty of extremly predictable plot points, and he won’t stop until he reaches them.
Literally. He will not stop. James in and of himself is a glass bullet. He can only take one hit, not counting the saving grace that is the knife that allows you to kill one zombie that grabs a hold of you per level, but the man has lots of stamina, to the point where he doesn’t even feel like distributing it properly and just charges in a straight line like he just found out McDonald’s brought back the McRib or something.
And that’s where the whole auto-runner bit comes into play. At first, I was scared that my Joy-cons had spontaneously started drifting after two years. That’s not the case, but it is notably the only scary moment in the game. While you can control James’ movement from left to right, his movement on the X axis never strays from running forward at full speed like the madman he is. And THIS is exactly why I don’t think Into the Dead 2 is a very engaging game. For the entirety of the game, you perform exactly 2 actions for movement: left on the stick, and right on the stick. James turns at a pitiful angle that made me feel like I didn’t have good control over him.
The gunplay isn’t great, either. You get two weapons per run, which is okay, but I often found myself running out of ammo due to the sprawling maps with ammo spread out sporadically. There’s also not much of a purpose for most of the weapons, as you can easily make it through the game with the basic pistol, shotgun, and companion you find, all in chapter one. You can also apply one-level boosts to your weapons, like piercing bullets for armored enemies, or explosive bullets to clear out multiple at once. When you run out of ammo, your only defense is a companion, usually a dog (which I totally didn’t name after my own), and very limited grenades. I personally think it’s more worth it to save those grenades for massive enemy hordes and just evade enemies, which was only slightly more fun as it provided a better sense of danger.
Honestly though? I found the game to be at its BEST when swerving around enemies like an obstacle course, regardless of my ammo count. But even then, I just felt soulless. And that’s when it hit me– Into the Dead 2’s big problem is that it’s more fun to play it in a way that’s counterintuitive to the whole point of the game, the shooting, and it still isn’t fun. It comes down to rocking the stick left and right until you win, and occasionally pressing a button. All throughout my playthrough, I felt nothing but boredom.
But I’ll save that for the end. Let’s move on to the presentation. Into the Dead 2 is a direct port of the mobile version to Nintendo Switch, and as such, it does not look good in docked mode. The environments and character models are better suited for a phone, looking like a crude 7th gen game when displayed on a TV. However, the game isn’t very technically demanding because of this, and as a result, it runs at a buttery-smooth 60fps with only minimal hiccups. I recommend playing in handheld mode, as this is a game that’s built for quick bursts on a handheld device, and it looks better on the smaller screen. I’m not sure if it still runs at 60fps, though.
Into the Dead 2 progresses level by level, with each level being x amount of feet long. Levels get somewhat longer as you progress, but the average length is about 2,000 feet with 5 goals (completing these goals nets you stars, and those determine which ending you get), which I feel is a well balanced size and set of goals for each level. None of them felt like they overstayed their welcome, and due to each level neatly starting off where the previous ended, there is a noticeable sense of progression. At the end of each level, James will use his hand radio to communicate with Helen and, on occasion, Maggie. These bits of dialogue are short and sweet, with some decent voice acting, too. So the game at least knows how to keep its pace going without making the player fall asleep mid-level or mid-cutscene, which I appreciate.
There’s not really any music in the game, save for one admittedly really nice vocal track. While some may say that it fits for a zombie apocalypse (to which I would normally agree), it ends up making everything so monotonous, with not even a simple acoustic guitar to back up stages.
And that’s exactly how I feel about Into the Dead 2 as a whole. If I were to sum it up into one word, it would be boring. And boring is the worst thing a game can be. It’s 60 boring slogs of levels with almost nothing to do but shoot enemies that, quite frankly, are way less threatening than they have any right to be, as zombies. Often times, they miss when I really felt like they could have easily caught me, leading to only a few deaths in an ultimately mind-numbingly easy and barebones game. And for $35 on Switch without the DLC, $50 with it? Into the Dead 2 is highway robbery. I think it should be $15 at most for the base version. The DLC is kinda neat, though. The game crossed over with not only the original Ghostbusters movie, but also George Romero’s classic thriller, Night of the Living Dead. What you get is a decently cool pair of side stories, even if they share the major gameplay problems of the main story.
If you’re going to play this game, I’d recommend simply trying the free mobile version out and making your decision based on that. It’s much better suited for that platform, anyhow. But I cannot personally recommend it on Switch, especially at its current price. With a bland and predictable story, poor presentation, and gameplay that just feels like nothing.