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   PlanetDreamcast | Games | Reviews | D2
You shot a HARE !! You got 2 meats. - Review By Mr. Domino

D2 Logo Warp gained notoriety back in 1995 when it released D. Originally a 3DO title, D was the first game to feature Laura, a CG woman Warp uses as a "digital actress." The second game to feature Laura was 1997's Enemy Zero on the Sega Saturn, yet somehow the third game got called D2. But despite the name, D2 has no connection whatsoever to the first D. If that sounds bizarre, it is, but then Warp has always been a bizarre company. The company recently renamed itself Superwarp and has changed its focus, meaning that D2 could very well be Warp's (err, Superwarp's) last game.

This isn't as bad a thing as it sounds, as Warp isn't exactly known for making good games. In fact, it was only a combination of really nice cinematography and Kenji Eno's (Warp's president) fascination with blond American women that put Warp on the map in the first place. D was fabulously stylish and looked great -- an entire game rendered in CGI FMV -- but ultimately wasn't much fun to play. Enemy Zero used the cinema gameplay along with a FPS engine, but the game was unfortunately far too difficult to enjoy thanks to its use of invisible enemies and an inept gun. D2 finally fixes this by using a Resident Evil-inspired engine for movement between buildings, at which point the game switches back to the "classic" D-style cinema-based gameplay. It looks like Warp has finally given Laura a playable game. But is it any good? Does the unique formula work? Let's see.

  • The Good

    The landscapes can be quite picturesque.
    Kenji Eno has always come across to me as a musician who happens to head a video game company. While the guy can't make a good game or write a decent script for the life of him, he certainly has a great ear for music. The soundtrack in D2 is fantastic. Using a nice mix of atmospheric chimes, rising nervous violins, and even electronic funk, the soundtrack is varied and always appropriate. It's really a shame that there is no option to listen to the music outside of the game, but I guess that's what import soundtracks are for. The sound effects are well done, too, although the weaponry sounds a bit light and the monsters a bit silly. The voice acting is also pretty decent. The actors sound a bit too restrained during certain parts, but otherwise manage to read their lines convincingly. Given the large amount of dialogue in the game, this is certainly a plus.

    As expected by anyone who has experience with prior Warp games, D2 has great atmosphere and uses its music and camera angles well. The camera moves and slides around Laura, always adding tension... even if she is just opening a door for the millionth time. In fact, that does become a bit of a nuisance since almost every action Laura does, no matter how trite it may be, cuts to a cutscene. Fortunately, these can be canceled while playing unless the events in question are important to witness. Eno brings D2 closer to Resident Evil this time around with more shocking stuff and gore than a presidential campaign, though it's few and far between. The stuff that's there is pretty disturbing, though -- the game alternates between the gross out stuff and some outright bizarre events to keep you on the edge of your seat. What few disturbing scenes are in the game are well thought out, and D2 thankfully doesn't resort to cheesy tactics and gore just for the sake of having blood and guts in the game.

    Laura's makeup is always perfect, even 10 days after a horrific plane crash.
    Laura's friend Kimberly also is well developed, a necessity since she's the main person you interact with throughout of the game. Kimberly reveals enough background information and reacts realistically enough to make her a believable character, far more so than Laura. Her personality fits her background, which is interesting as we learn it. She is a noted presence in the game as opposed to a tag along for Laura. Parker, another character in the game, is also well done, although we don't get to see much of him. The rest of the cast tend to be well-acted and scripted, although they often feel out of place -- random people in Canada giving speeches to Laura. While these soliloquies are often interesting on their own, they just don't blend into the overall plot as well as Kimberly's story.

    When Kimberly wasn't talking and making the game semi-interesting, I'd take Laura out back and hunt. Hunting is the enjoyable part of the game. While you will find first aid cans scattered throughout the mountain side, Laura can also replenish her health by eating animals she hunts. While trekking across Canada you'll sometimes spot rabbits, birds, or caribou in the distance. Laura carries a rifle with her, and she uses it to snipe at food. Using the rifle is a bit shaky (just like using the sniper rifle in Metal Gear Solid) and rather difficult to aim, though you get better with practice. The game keeps track of what and how much you've hunted, and it all makes for an unintentional but enjoyable side game. D2 also lets Laura take photographs (saved to the VMU), but the snapshots come out as a pixelated mess, ruining what could have been a novel, fun idea.

  • The Bad
    I have never, ever seen a story as stupid and pretentious as the one in D2. In the credits Eno thanks Hideo Kojima (famed Metal Gear Solid producer), yet nothing about D2 comes close to matching Kojima's masterpiece. That's sad, considering D2 has been in development for a much longer time and occupies more discs. Every once in a while we're treated to live footage of violence in the world while Mother Earth instructs Laura to do junk. Eno tries so hard to tie a political message into this tripe, but none of it connects. D2 is basically a bad, terrible, gut wrenchingly awful art film. With mutant aliens. And clones. And dinosaurs. And miracle makeup compacts. It's all there.

    Laura, who I remind readers is the main character of the game, doesn't talk. She gasps. She'll pick up a bottle and gasp. She'll open a door and gasp. When characters talk to her, they not only have to tell her what they're saying but also have to fill in for her (lack of) dialogue as well. Laura just nods, and smiles. You'll get better character interaction from watching old Lassie reruns than you will with D2. She does acquire a vocabulary of four or so words near the end of the game, but by then it's too late. You don't care. I should mention that this is a consistent "feature" of Warp's other Laura games, but that doesn't make it any more enjoyable.

    Next: More Bad and The Final Word

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