As a VR title, the game takes full advantage of its medium and gives you a large degree of freedom to move around. While this is an excellent idea – it makes the game more fluid, – but there were times where I would be trying to melee an enemy with my gun away from me only for him to spawn directly in front of me, resulting in me being shot. However, when I tried to shoot the enemies from a distance, I found they were usually able to move out of the way before I could even take aim at them, rendering my rifle useless.
This balancing issue is made worse by the fact that there’s no real penalty for dying in this game. There are lives to keep track of, but if you lose all your lives and get a game over, you simply restart the level again. This is beneficial in that it makes mistakes less frustrating (especially when it comes to blind-firing), but I feel like this decision was made too early; I would much rather have seen a more standard approach where losing all your lives took you back to the start of the level.
The game’s voice acting is decent, if not slightly hokey. The dialogue was cheesy, but it wasn’t too over-the-top and actually served as a nice contrast to the darker tone of most VR horror titles these days, with their ultra-serious stories. The campaign could have used a lot more variety in terms of gameplay mechanics. For example, there were too many levels that simply involved you walking around and shooting enemies where it would have been nice to have a change of pace every now and then – something the original game did well with using its sliding puzzles.
In Drop Dead: Dual Strike Edition, you play as a variety of characters, and these new characters actually provide some unique gameplay mechanics. For example, one character is just as tough as the player would expect any protagonist to be in a horror game, but he also has the ability to shield himself from enemy fire with his bare hands. Other characters have weapons such as grenades or molotovs, but they also do very little damage to enemies. On top of that, your characters can be revived if you happen to die during a level; life bars are shared across all the characters (so you could technically use up to five lives per level), and if one character goes down, another can come in his place. I like the idea of having to manage your lives across characters, but I would have liked it more if the penalty for losing a character was more severe.
Personally, I think this game is lacking when it comes to its sound design. It doesn’t have any truly memorable tracks and the audio effects are generic when they aren’t repetitive in some way – such as the sound of an enemy dying or the impact noise when you shoot something. This issue is made worse by the fact that there was no option to adjust the volume of each effect in the settings, so if one noise stood out more than another it becomes frustratingly distracting.
Finally, I’d like to talk about how I think this game could have been better suited for VR. Instead of just being a direct port from the PC version, perhaps it could have been redesigned so that you are given more control over your character’s movement.
If this game set itself up as a standalone story it would lose all appeal to long-time fans. It feels like the game takes liberties with its source material, not taking into account major plot points such as “Project Origin.” For example, there’s a section where you play as a character who is able to run on walls and ceilings; supposedly this was never possible in the original games due to them being set within the city of Fairport. As an added note, I think the game’s box art is very misleading. If you are expecting this to be a blood-soaked gore-fest or even just an action-packed experience, you will likely be disappointed. This game doesn’t have many interactive objects and there isn’t much dismemberment to speak of.
While DropDead: Dual Strike Edition isn’t terrible, it does make some rookie mistakes. It has fun Easter eggs for fans of the series but doesn’t really provide much in terms of replayability. I finished this game in about five hours, and while there are two difficulty settings, playing on anything other than easy will put you through a lot more trial and error as you learn the levels.
As a fan of the original games, I’d have to recommend playing those titles instead. The gameplay is more fluid and satisfying, there are significantly fewer frustrating moments, and it just feels like a better overall experience both in terms of presentation and length. The fast-paced action culminates in a challenge that is frankly, a lot of fun and much more satisfying than finishing up this game. The original games were well-worth playing in their time and they still hold up to the test of time even today; Drop Dead: Dual Strike Edition for the Oculus Quest simply doesn’t do enough to make itself feel like a modern experience.
While I can at least appreciate what the developer was trying to do, I don’t think they executed their vision very well. With better levels design, more enemy types, and a longer campaign, this game could have been something special… but as it stands now Drop Dead: Dual Strike Edition just feels like an underwhelming experience that squanders its potential.
Linear levels with an overreliance on trial-and-error design create a frustrating experience. This is made even more maddening by the fact that it doesn’t have a checkpoint system of any kind. Enemies blend too well into their environments so you can’t always tell what’s going to attack you next.
The character models lack detail and there is a lack of visual variety when it comes to the enemies. While the game uses some 3D elements (such as destructible barriers,) they are mostly flat objects that serve no purpose other than to block your shots. The audio design isn’t bad on
its own, but when combined with the music it becomes a source of annoyance. I would have liked to see more variety in terms of enemy types and a better implementation for using your guns in VR (ideally something involving teleportation.)
The main saving grace is that the gameplay isn’t terrible; I just don’t think it’s spectacular either. The main issue with this game is that it doesn’t do anything special and in its current state there isn’t much reason to play through the campaign again after you’ve beaten it.
Final Thoughts: Drop Dead: Dual Strike Edition would have been a lot better if it had more content or was developed further before release. While this game wasn’t bad perse, it’s not something that really offers anything new or interesting to the table either. It feels like a dated title released during the onset of VR without any significant upgrades over time. As such, I cannot recommend this game to anyone looking for either an action-packed zombie shooter or a rewarding puzzler.
Final Score: 2/5