A cross between DOOM and Killing Floor with a Hellish Horde Mode.
Dead Effect 2 is a lot of game in one package. It’s a mission-based story game complete with characters and Resident Evil (the Director’s Cut for Playstation 1) style dialogue and voicework. It’s a horde mode generator. It’s a multiplayer shooter, a loot and crawl, and it even has a dash of RPG in it.
Not all of those features are executed perfectly, but Dead Effect’s systems do manage to come together for some thrilling moments. Read on to see the horde up close and face the terror!
I use a Charge 2 for tracking my workout, and I came into the game expecting to clock some steps and have the occasional rise in heart rate. Dead Effect 2 opens with a choice: which character will you inhabit? Mostly, this choice dictates your starting equipment. Do you go in guns blazing, or will you take a quieter approach with a bow and arrow?
I went with the bow and arrow character, but am somewhat disappointed by the bow. It handles well, but there is a lag time when you reload it. Once I’d realized this, my gameplay got smoother.
One feature I like a lot in Dead Effect is a visual indication that my hands are about to grasp something. I can see a gray box around something when I can interact with it, so it’s easy for me to reach for weapons or draw my bowstring. Unfortunately, the hit detection doesn’t always work. In a pinch, it’s tough to change weapons or fire arrows rapidly.
Melee attacks help compensate and are generally very strong in this game. I was slicing and dicing through hordes, often hitting multiple enemies in a single swing.
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your character’s melee attacks. I found a hatchet and a sword, among a ton of guns and grenades, so there is some good weapon variety in Dead Effect 2.
Options and Menus
I’m adding this section to our review of dead Effect 2 since the menu offers a lot of options. First off, I love that you can change your control scheme to almost anything that you might want. Want to teleport with one hand and use free locomotion on the other? Done.
The upgrade menus, though, become a bit cumbersome. They aren’t designed in a way that feels engaging (you need to touch menus in the game the way you might touch a button in real life). Unfortunately, that wonky hit detection means your hand can just slide through the menu instead of touching the option you want. You can’t easily swap into the options menu when in a game. It requires you to tap the menu button, then use a laser pointer, then tap the options you want with your wands.
The intensity of Dead Effect 2 comes from the specific encounter you’re involved with. Early missions are slow. Players will usually encounter small hordes of 3-5 enemies. Once you’ve cleared your second mission, the world opens up into more difficult encounters. Survival mode and the later missions up the intensity significantly.
It took me almost 45 minutes to unlock survival mode, and I’m still not finished unlocking all of the potential content I can play through. There’s a ton here. The question is do you want to play all of it? Every mission you undertake provides bonuses, though, so there’s a reason to do everything.
Max BPM: 105
Calories Burned: 177
I haven’t found many ways to fitness hack the experience yet. It’s more of a LISS title, where I work out in short intense bursts over a longer time period. I generally spend about 45-60 minutes in this title when I’m playing.
The melee aspect of this title ensures players will get a reasonable arm workout, but there are no dual melee weapons. You have to make sure you balance your workout by switching your melee hand, or by using other weapons like the bow.
I couldn’t find much cover to squat behind, but I like to shuffle and move in place during free motion. The game has lots of exploratory sections and secrets. I find myself using teleportation in a fight, but free locomotion to explore my surroundings.
My leg rating on this game is low overall, but I think there’s still value here for players that want light cardio that isn’t high impact.
Core and Balance 3/10
Enemies can attack from all angles, so you do get some decent stretching in your core if you’re using melee in wide arcs. Swinging your sword feels very satisfying and it has a decent length to it.
There aren’t a lot of opportunities to squat or strengthen the core in this title.
Time Perception 6/10
There’s a lot to do in Dead Effect 2, but the structure of the game is a bit monotonous. Every mission begins from a command center style area, where your NPC characters offer you various upgrades and briefings for the mission ahead. This part is a little slow. The story isn’t all that amazing, and characters are mostly forgettable.
Once you’re in game, time perception is very rapid until you hit a slow section. Missions frequently ask you to retrieve a key item and escape the zone. In practice, you begin by dispatching every enemy in the level, then you either find the item you’re looking for mid-fight or have to wander the halls after everything is dead to find the thing you missed. The good news is there are lots of secrets sprinkled around, many giving valuable loot like new weapons.
If you’re looking for action-action-action then you may want to stick to survival, where gameplay is a lot more linear.
Dead Effect 2 is packaged with a ton of content, but a lot of it feels similar in scope. Bland level design leaves survival mode feeling like a small maze you’re stuck in rather than a facility where you’re being chased.
The looting aspect is what keeps players coming back. You do get noticeably stronger the more you level up, or with items, you pick up. Loadouts can also change, including which abilities (like bullet time) or weapons, you carry with you into battle. Because of this flexibility, you can approach any mission with a character that is decked out for your play style.
That said, there’s not a whole lot of reasons to experience the story again as every character runs through the same arc. Small differences in what lore players encounter, or who they meet, would make the storytelling a bit more engaging.
Replayability for this title really comes down to whether you enjoyed the gameplay, and if you found a weapon set you like. How long that lasts is up to you as a player.
Fitness Scalability 4/10
I like Dead Effect 2 as a survival shooter. The frequent switching from melee to guns or bows makes the experience feel very frantic. I expected something more like Killing Floor and ended up with something closer to DOOM.
The lack of waist-high cover, and the wonky bow and arrow physics, somewhat limits the potential this game has for fitness.
I think many players will find Dead Effect 2 to be a good cool down title that could help players stay consistent with VR Fitness.
Social Competition 6/10
A fully fleshed-out multiplayer, including death match and coop survival, means Dead Effect has decent social competition. Like any VR title, it’s best if you can make friends outside of the game and arrange matches.
Multiplayer matches feel very arcade-like, where the emphasis is on speed rather than accuracy. Not quite Pavlov VR in intensity.
VRFI Final Score 6.5/10
Dead Effect 2 has no shortage of content, the weapons feel great and the encounters can become overwhelming. A nice LISS title with just the right dash of horror. Loot feels like it adds value to your character, with new weapons allowing varied loadouts.
Bland voice work and level design keep Dead Effect 2 from being an excellent shooter. What’s here is fun to play, and there are challenges worth overcoming. Abilities also feel underwhelming.