Chasing Dead (Video Game)
Developed by 2020 Venture
Available digitally on PC and WiiU, coming to PS4
Rated M for Mature
You know, maybe I don’t know how many people it takes to make a game. I see some indie projects come out made by a few people, and assume that it takes about that many to make a decent product. I’m not expecting it to have triple-A level particle effect explosions, just a nugget of indie brilliance and something to make it worth recommending. Apparently I’m wrong, as Chasing Dead proves that a team as big as 26 devs and 7 FMV actors can make a game so atrocious that just trying to dig my brain for a single redeeming quality is a more impossible task than playing it.
This might very well be the worst game I have ever played. It certainly is at this price point. At $30 on the WiiU, it would actually be better to spend your money supporting the Trump campaign. At least that shit is funny. It’s only $10 on Steam, a hilarious backpedal after being $25 just last week, marking the quickest and steepest price drop since Beowulf: The Game.
They know what this is. The quick price drop betrays a lack of confidence telltale of someone who knew their product was a scam from the start. Oh, but don’t take my word for it! Just read it off the face of each actor as they deliver another dull, emotionless line. The schizophrenic level design, atrociously implemented mechanics, lifeless performances, and hideous visuals tell a story of just not giving a fuck unheard of outside of a Walmart returns department.
It’s hard to find a place to start, since every part of this game is such trash that it’s like picking out which specific ghost pepper in your diablo nachos is making your shit painful. I’ll just go in order of exposure, starting with the FMV performances. I actually played through this game on beloved Dread Central icon Steve “Uncle Creepy” Barton’s WiiU, inspired to do so over a plate of diablo nacho cheese fries we shared in one of our more delicious and shameful moments. “Ted,” he sighed, heart full of regret, “Why do I hate my money?” Naturally fragile in confidence, I assumed he meant to fire me. “I bought this game,” he continued, “called Chasing Dead. I think it might be a bigger waste of money than my multi-thousand dollar novelty bobblehead collection.” Spittle of spud rocketed from my mouth as I choked in disbelief, “No way! I haven’t seen a waste that big since every single endorsement of the Trump campaign! Could it possibly be that bad?” He shook his head, uttering in defeated disbelief, “It has full motion video…” I was erect at once, both in spine and loins, “Jesus! Do they at least speak English?” His eyes wandered, rolled, squinted, and replied, “Kinda? I mean, they can certainly read it.”
It would be generous to call any of the featured FMV personnel “actors” as much as it would be to call anyone that made this game a “developer.” Reading lines with the enthusiasm that Melania Trump bites the sheets and earns her monthly allowance, every character seems like they’re a hair away from accepting that their dreams of the silver screen are going to end in porn. Some of them don’t even bother looking up from the script to act, just flashing a glance at the camera between lines without even a wink to pretend like she’s liking it. It’s like the lead dev is the nerdy kid in high school, and this is his hair-brained scheme to talk to the popular girls with promises of stardom. It would be funny if not so brutally unskippable.
It wouldn’t be totally cancerous if the script were interesting, but alas the plot is written with an Axe Cop level of nonsense without the childlike wonder. Set in the future, “Earth Two” is experiencing civil unrest for some reason. Jake, a lone wolf super badass cyborg commando straight out of your 8th grade notebook fan-fiction, is sent on a solo mission to discover the source of the trouble. You soon find that mutants, aka zombies, have taken to the streets of wherever the fuck the game pretends it’s taking place in this minute. Traveling to such unconnected and random locations as Pripyat, Afghanistan, and a 747, Jake must fight off zombies, soldiers, robots, and sometimes tigers to discover the secrets of this mysterious mutation.
Why does the game need to take place on a “duplicate Earth?” Why is the first level in an airplane? Why are some of the mutants invisible? Why is there a slow motion “rage mode?” How do you activate the rage mode? What the fuck is actually going on? Why do the subtitles not match the dialogue? How the fuck does anyone justify spending money on this game? These are all questions I’d love to answer, but can’t. The only explanation I can come up with is that the entire thing is a scam. I’m looking at the Steam review page as I write this, and the top recommended reviews are all universal praise and written in the signature broken English of a paid positive review. It’s the video game journalism equivalent of spam mail, outsourced to a company so cheap and devoid of standards that they can’t even manage to always put their commas on the correct side of the words. It’s fucking shameful.
“But Ted, couldn’t they have just liked the game?” No. It’s just not possible. This game is such unparalleled garbage that I defy any sensible human being to enjoy it unironically. The graphics are PS1 level blocky shit. I might have liked the comically discordant nonsense layout of Pripyat, if I was given an objective better than “explore the town.” I eventually got an objective marker after 30 minutes when I accidentally wandered 50 paces from the objective. The more linear levels are enjoyable only because I was able to get through them faster and spend less time staring at bland, repetitive textures.
The game is just totally broken. There’s no reason that when I pick up an assault rifle that carries 40 bullets, it for some reason only has 30 bullets in the clip. This might seem like a negligible oversight, but is reflective of a team that just couldn’t spare a single fuck to make sure their game was actually fun or playable. At one point I was subjected to a vehicle mission, whose objective was just “kill enemies until the next objective comes up.” It was kind of fun to just drive over things, but after dying after the checkpoint, I respawned without my car. I had to walk half a ludicrously large and barren map just to get to the tower where I was going, which in fashion fitting to Chasing Dead was nonsensically designed. The texture for the steps didn’t even pop in until I was about seven feet away, and a 200 foot tall door swung open to reveal a vast empty room with a single terminal in the corner. It’s like the design team had on their checklist to make sure that the room was scaled up to match the player having their perspective pulled back to a third person vehicle segment, scaled everything by x40, and called it a day.
I didn’t “play” Chasing Dead. I straight hate-fucked it for the five hours it took me to say I conquered it. This review is my triumphant angry release, a cathartic spewing of magma hot rage spunk all over the depressingly ugly and shriveled ass cheeks that this game calls a face. I did not enjoy myself once during this broken, inexcusable mess. Thinking about it makes my balls hurt. But the thought of this review denying them even a single dollar in sales makes me rock fucking hard.