Chasing Dead is mental. The first 20 minutes are absolutely spectacular and should go down in history as one of the best openings in gaming history. The story is incomprehensible right from the opening cut-scene. From what I can gather, apparently there is a doppelganger Earth and a team was sent in to investigate, although things didn’t go to plan and communication was lost. You, Jake, are sent in from space to have a look. To be honest, even if that’s not what’s going on, I’m sticking with it. Your re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere is rudely interrupted when you slam into the roof of a 747 full of mutant zombies. Thanks to some rather questionable security checks, there are plenty of firearms on-board to protect yourself from the hordes.
If you’ve not guessed by now it’s a first person shooter with plenty of survival horror elements. Although there are plenty of guns around, ammo is much more scarce. I often found myself needing to use melee weapons in order to avoid running out of ammo at times I needed it the most. You can also pick up flashlights that run out of battery after 5 minutes, a modern age survival horror trope that everybody agrees is a terribly annoying and cheap mechanic and yet is somehow still being implemented in games. Thankfully they’re much less necessary here and there are plenty around to pick up.
You’ll have no idea what’s going on with the story thanks to noise and music completely overshadowing the in game dialogue. Exposition comes and goes as you’re busy getting mauled by a zombie or firing rocket launches into things. Even though there are subtitles they don’t match up to what people are saying so it confuses you even more. While the story is probably the least of your worries it does create the problem of “so where do I go?” right from the second level where you’re free to wander as you please without any direction. Thankfully there are plenty of corridor levels to keep things in line.
It’s a technical mess of the game. Mechanically there are so many things wrong with it, it’s endearing. In fact I haven’t laughed this much at a game in years. For a start you can’t even walk up stairs correctly, at least in one of the levels. Instead you have to jump up them. Going down an elevator has you hopping up and down due to the physics thinking your just falling incrementally.
Despite the clear horror theme there are non-zombie enemies you have to deal with. My personal favourite are the elite soldiers who instead of shooting from a distance, just charge at you and then stand gormlessly in your face waiting for you to take them out.
Your characters movements are horrendous too. Walking forward is fine enough but anything more adventurous than that and it feels like you’re in treacle. Turning is sluggish and aiming makes it feel like the controls are digital rather than analogue due to the lack of precision. The melee attacks are woefully inconsistent too. Sometimes you hit them; sometimes you don’t, kind of like how Morrowind was where right at the beginning of the game you’d be slashing at a crab for half an hour and only land about 3 hits if you were lucky. Not the best situation considering you might be depending on melee weapons quite often.
Unfortunately there are plenty of technical issues that aren’t actually fun. The game stutters horrendously at times, whether played from the Wii U’s internal memory or from an external hard drive, the results are the same. Even worse is the game is a sucker for crashing. I had to hard reset my console multiple times throughout playing, every new loading screen filled me with dread of another crash.
I still haven’t got to best part of the game yet. LIVE-ACTION ACTING. Yes, there are real ‘actors’ in the game giving exposition during the game and between gameplay segments. It’s absolutely marvellous. Right from the newscaster at the start to the lovely Luna who guides you through the game with unintelligible exposition and then to my favourite; Natalia who despite battling against the forces of the English language gives a majestic performance that should be observed by everybody. I’m not even being sarcastic. The performances are terrible and superb, I adore the effort they put into this part of the game. It’s like they’ve watched some Sega CD games and thought the world needs more of that. Which of course we do.
The beginning of the second level is home to possibly the greatest ‘WTF’ boss battle in gaming history. Upon parachuting to a rooftop you stumble upon a rocket launcher, at which point a heavily armed helicopter makes its way to your position. It’s not just any helicopter though. This one can do somersaults and everything. It’s unbelievable and laugh out loud funny. There are even vehicles to drive, which control even more spectacularly than the ground controls. They are inexplicably bad.
The press release also states there are plenty of updates planned to include things such as multiplayer, more missions and more enemies. Whether these actually come to fruition or not is one thing, but it’s something to consider and I hope they follow through with it. Personally I just hope they patch the performance issues.
Overall, Chasing Dead is a pretty awful game but it’s so unfathomably hilarious and endearing that I actually enjoyed playing through it. The serious technical issues really need to be sorted though and put a downer on the whole thing. If they patch the frame rate and the crashes I’d recommend buying this game when it’s at a more reasonable price.
– One of the best worst games ever
– Real acting
– Varied environments
– Stuttering and crashes