Greetings fellow Gamesmen from abroad! This is the Rabid Scotsman, and you are reading one of our new features: The Rabid Scotsman Rewind.
This article is about, as you can see, a little game called “Dead Rising“. This game is easily a solid 8/10, because the story and game play were enjoyable. But this is not a review, so that’s all that needs to be said on the matter.
This piece is a retrospective of the game from a developer’s standpoint, as well as my own- and YOURS.
What sticks out the most about recalling this game is hearing about one of the awards it received. Dead Rising was given an award for “Best Use of Xbox 360 Achievement Points“, an odd choice of an award indeed. This was one of the earliest releases on the console though, so maybe that can be chalked it up to inexperience; but this particular award is difficult to buy into.
Sure, achievements should be a challenge to earn, a badge of honor if you will. But, there’s a line there that many games cross, that turns achievement points into frustration points. Dead Rising was a prime example of that. In my opinion, earning these achievements and playing a game in general should both follow the same guideline: that it’s fun!
Now from a developer standpoint: these achievements gave the game longevity, yes. But from my standpoint: only for sadists.
As a matter of fact, a handful of these achievements are mind-bogglingly frustrating and require three or more play-throughs to earn. I personally had an incident where I played nearly the entire game photographing certain “stickers” posted on signs and other random places throughout the mall – one hundred of them, in fact – to find out in the end that I only photographed 99 of them and that the last one I needed had a small “window of opportunity” in which to take the picture. Namely, the first half of the play-through. Funny, the guide I was using also listed this picture as the last one to get and never mentioned that you could only photograph it within a certain time frame.
Another example here is “Frank the Pimp“, in which you need to escort eight female survivors at once… What!? For some reason the female survivors in this game refuse to fight, you cannot give them weapons in which to defend themselves, you have to constantly rescue them from hordes of zombies, and two or more survivors usually end up dying. This is so hard, in fact, that people have had to use game “glitches” or “AI workarounds” to get said females to safety. This, in any game, should never be the case to accomplish one of your goals, let alone an achievement worth only 20 points. Note: as is the value of ALL of the achievements in the game. There were definitely a few others worth mentioning in this “game breaking” category of getting achievements done. Just sad.
My next example would be “Clothes Horse“, in which you need to try on every outfit in the mall. What they DON’T mention is that this includes the unlockable clothes that you can only get by beating the game and earning pretty much all other achievements. A “get them all, to get them all” scenario.
Another few that fall in this category… “Gourmet” – eat all types of food available in the mall. This includes every food, in every state it could be, whether fresh, cooked, rotten, or otherwise. “Clothes Horse” and “Gourmet” would most likely take you one play-through each. “Transmissionary” asks you to answer all calls from Otis. Another ridiculous request, as your calls could be interrupted by being hit or falling. You were not allowed to attack or jump during the calls’ duration. If you were attacked, this could cause you to drop calls. Among all of that, there were certain events that would trigger a call from Otis, but you had to be in the right place at the right time, and on the right day. Sometimes, even in the middle of a mission, he would call you.
My last example is “Zombie Genocider“, one that asks you to kill 53,594 zombies in the course of a SINGLE play-through. Now, the only way to achieve this is to complete the game once, getting the “best” ending, in which you must be at all the right places by certain times. By doing this, you unlock a second game mode that extends play and reveals the “true” ending. Once you beat that, you unlock “infinite play mode”. For this mode, the game mechanics change. First off, you have to keep yourself alive by eating/drinking as your health bar slowly deteriorates. Amongst all the chaos of trying to survive, you have to kill the allotted number of zombies without dying… ouch. Again, these are all worth only 20 gamer score and nearly half of the achievements require one whole play-through.
There are many more to mention, but let’s get to the heart of the matter. What were the developers thinking? I challenge you: rewind your mind and put yourself in the developer’s chair. What were you thinking? Keep in mind that your responses should not be personal opinions (although feel free to include them at the end), but what the developers of the game were thinking when they set up the achievement points and their requirements.
Until next time, what role will YOU play?