So, tell me about yourself.
If you’re looking for a deep story or even a decent plot, you’re going to be disappointed. I know it’s an FPS and games in the genre are notorious for contrived stories and plots thinner then a anorexia convention. Playing as Alice Drake, PhD you would have thought there would have been a cast of interesting patients coming in and out of her office. Sadly though all you’re given is brief case file outlying certain phobias and any other personal problems that are associated with said phobias. The only thing the “patients” are there for is to give the player an idea on what they’re expected to fight inside of the patients mind.
When you initially enter the mind of a patient, you’re only two attacks are a “force crush” type of attack and you have the ability to shoot fire out of your finger tips. The latter of these attacks is utterly worthless as the enemy has to be literally within striking distance of you as well before it’s effective. Both attacks use psionic power that is indicated in the upper left hand portion of the screen. Once you use up all this energy, expect to be defenseless until you recharge. In the end, you will find yourself using the “force crush attack” as it has the ability to chain multiple enemies together which can be handy when you become overwhelmed. Alice also has the ability to teleport. When you press “Q” you’re given a silhouette of Alice running forward, pressing “Q” again will teleport you where silhouette is located. Alice can also go into a “berserker” mode. It’s strange that a mild mannered PhD would go nuts, but Alice has “Berserker mode” that’s indicated by a pair of vampire teeth in the upper right of the HUD. If you chain kill enough enemies you automatically activate berserker mode. Sadly, when in berserker mode you’re treated to a washed out gray, grainy vista where all the enemies are red giving you a bonus to speed and damage. Why you can’t have this saved, and use it when you actually need it is beyond me and the developers didn’t think it would be good for you to save it for when you absolutely needed it either.
Since you’re in the dream world, you don’t run over health packs for health, you pick up red dream catchers. In fact, picking up dream catchers is what you’re going to be doing a lot of as monsters randomly drop dream catchers for health, psionic power and attack power for your magic potency and weapon strength. While in the dream world you’re given “three lives” each time you die, you lose an attack power level as penalty. When you die three times, it’s game over. But it’s not a big deal as the game auto-saves your progress. Speaking of saving, the game lacks a manual save function, which infuriates me so much I’m tempted to tell my therapist.
This wouldn’t be an FPS without guns, right? The game starts you with a mini-gun that has a rocket-launcher attached to it as well. Sounds a bit over kill but sadly it’s one of the best weapons in game. The only other weapon that seemed to be affective was the “Freeze gun” that works a lot like a shot gun; but has the ability to freeze monsters, allowing you an easy kill. I won’t go into too much detail about the other weapons as I found most of them to be wildly ineffective. Dreamkiller doesn’t allow you to carry an entire army depot of weapons on your back like most FPS’s, you’re only allowed two weapons at a time. How you switch out weapons is by finding floating blue translucent orbs that show a facsimile of the weapon you would like to switch out. It’s different and troublesome as I’ll explain why in the next paragraph.
Feeling a bit claustrophobic?
I’ll admit it. I love mindless shooting games. Smash TV and Serious Sam are some of my all time favorite mindless shooters. But when you put Serious Sam in a box it just kills of any semblance of fun. Dreamkiller has you going from one room, down a corridor into another room to kill all the monsters and repeat until you meet the big giant boss at the end. The tedium will wear on you rather quick, as once I beat the first level I was fearful the rest of the game would be like this. Sadly, my worst fears came true. The problem as you would expect having hundreds of monsters rushing to you mindlessly in a box is how you switch out weapons. There will be plenty of moments in the game where you’re running into those floating orbs that make you switch out your weapons that are usually along the perimeter of the room. So while you’re mowing everyone done with your mini-gun rocker launcher combo, you’ll accidentally switch out for the worthless electricity gun.
I can give props to the artists and level designers as the monsters and settings are creative and coincide well with the patients fears but this does nothing to ease the monotonous nature of the game. The graphics do seem a little dated and everything in the game has a gothic stylization that was rather nice. Another complaint is that you can enter “the subconscious” via portals on the map to attack enemies that you can’t attack in the normal dream world. While in the subconscious everything is washed over in a red blur which had me seeing red due to the fact it’s hard to make out anything while you’re in “the subconscious”. The weapons were even more creative and seemed like they were more apt to be seen in a steam punk setting, opposed to dream world. The cut scenes that appear time to time to try and further the “story” are pretty pathetic. They just took some paintings with multiple layers, moved the layers around with audio on top of it for a cut scene. I guess the animators couldn’t be bothered to make 3d cut scenes.
Sound wise, the gun shot sounds were rather weak but everything else seemed ok. Nothing really stood out except Alice’s terrible one liners. Yeah, Duke Nukem had some bad ones as well at least his were laughably bad and added character. Alice’s are just plain pointless and painful to listen to. Music wasn’t all too great, but there were some catchy beats along the way, nothing you’re going to be humming later.
Avoidant personality disorder.
I really wanted to give this game a go online. Unfortunately, no one was playing this online. You have your standard death match mode, team deatch match, capture the flag and a conquest mode. I have no idea what a conquest mode is supposed to be and I would have liked to have found out but as I said earlier no one is playing this online. It’s a pity too, what made Serious Sam: The Second Encounter so great was killing massive waves of baddies with your buddies. Now, it’s time for the arbitrary numbers…