GAME NAME: Second Chance Heroes
DEVELOPER(S): Rocket City Studios
PUBLISHER(S): Rocket City Studios
PLATFORM(S): PlayStation 4
RELEASE DATE(S): September 30th, 2014
I’m not sure if the rest of the world is as zombie-crazed as America is, but zombie related media, whether it be movies, television shows or video games, is definitely not in short demand. Rocket City Studios brings it’s hit iPad/iPhone title Second Chance Heroes to the PS4 in the form of a zombie and historical figure filled romp, that at times feels like it missed the mark in porting from mobile to console.
In Second Chance Heroes, the tongue-in-cheek humor starts right off the bat with a satirical look at the American culture and how we have become weakened through the years. Left in this weakened state, the population is unable to take on the mass zombie movement. Luckily for America though, a high school teacher and cloning expert Hubert is ready to recreate some of the toughest historical figures from the past. Somehow Hubert has gained access to the DNA from past figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Blackbeard, Joan of Arc, Genghis Khan and eight others and has cloned and resurrected them to fight for all of humanity. The story seems like it will be quirky and funny, but it quickly loses it’s appeal and humor after the first few chapters.
The gameplay is another lackluster affair that really seems to have missed the translation in porting this game to the PlayStation 4. You will move your character using the analog stick and attack with the right analog stick. This feels like it should work, but with clunky animations and poor hit detection, it makes you feel like you are rubbing up against enemies and not actually fighting them. You are able to switch between two heroes or heroines at a time and each one has special attacks that can be used in help with taking out the zombie hordes. You can earn Experience Points (or XP) for each character and then upgrade their abilities later, which makes the grind feel less like a chore and makes the combat and character progression have an extra level of depth to it.
There are 26 levels to plow through, starting with the mall (because we’ve never seen a zombie attack in a mall before) and going through different locations such as labs and underground catacomb areas. All the levels feel really straight forward and stale and never have a sense of exploration and discovery like in other titles such as Baulder’s Gate or Diablo. The locations start to feel really bland about half way through each and becomes more of a case of been there done that. Each area has a cool boss fight that aren’t too difficult after you’ve powered your character up, but never quite feel epic or as tough as you would hope.
One of the saving graces of Second Chance Heroes is the ability to play 4 player online co-op. This mode is executed very well and seamlessly. Dungeon crawlers are at their best with co-op and is definitely a feature that made me enjoy the experience a whole lot more. A minor grip is the lack of offline co-op, but in this day and age, as I’ve said before, everything should be and needs to be online. So if the lack of offline was to implement online, then so be it.
The graphics carry over for the mobile port well, but with the power of the PlayStation 4, this isn’t anything special. Better level design and definition would have helped this game out tremendously and made it have less of a repetitious feel. The soundtrack has some crunchy rock and metal sounds which always helps get your blood flowing while murdering crowds of zombies. The announcer overlay is great too and reminds me of 90’s arcade games.
The over crowded zombie market just became overstuffed. Second Chance Heroes doesn’t do anything horrible but also doesn’t do anything great. Multiplayer saves this from being a complete failure as does the deep character progession and RPG elements. The soundtrack is good but the graphics and gameplay leave something to be desired. If you are looking for a Zombie shooter, Diablo-style, Dead Nation is a better choice.