Release Date: 08/22/2000
Available Exclusively On
D was a strange FMV-based game for PlayStation that didn’t get much attention or very good reviews. D-2 is a spiritual successor of that game with more gameplay and stunning visuals, but still has a fair share of issues. This is by far one of the strangest games I have ever played, and being my first Dreamcast game, it helped put the system into perspective.
You play as a woman named Laura Parton who is a flight attendant and is on a plane that crashes in northern Canada in a remote area and wakes up in a cabin to discover strange creatures that “blossom” and use humans as hosts. The game’s intro is well done with combat and navigation being introduced as a tutorial which was kind of rare back in the day (we had manuals back then). The game is a first-person light gun shooter mixed with a first-person adventure game and a third-person tank game like Resident Evil. I wouldn’t really call his survival horror as it didn’t feel like it. When you’re inside buildings you can only turn to objects you can interact with like adventure games back in the late ’80s and early 90’s on PC. When you’re shooting enemies you can turn in a square pattern using the face buttons and aim with the analog stick. It’s really strange, but I have to commend WARP for trying to use the Dreamcast’s weaknesses in its favor and making this game work control-wise.
The third-person adventure part is the weakest part of the game as it’s literally just a mode of transportation between random JRPG-style battles and buildings. There’s a lot of boring walking along just white endless tundra. You can use a rifle to hunt animals and use them for health so you don’t use up your first aid sprays, but hunting is a real pain and only the hares are worth shooting as they give you 2 meat. The scope is incredibly shaky and most of the time I always missed. Outside of the hunting I just ran back and forth between cut scenes as that’s really all you’re doing. There are probably a good 2-to 3 hours of cut scenes in this game so it’s only for the most patient gamers.
Combat consists of shooting a gun at these creatures that can attack you as much as three at a time. They start out easy but towards the end of the game I died a lot, but part of this was the strange design of the combat system. Face buttons flash on-screen when an enemy is nearby and pressing that button makes Laura turn towards the enemy and the analog stick is used to aim. The aiming is really sensitive and there’s no way to dodge or block so you take damage no matter how fast you are swinging around trying to kill everything. I had to strategize filling up my health by leveling up versus wasting health items. You gain experience from combat but it only increases your health and that’s literally it. You also have unlimited ammo for your machine guns, but your handgun and shotgun are limited. The handgun is literally limited to 6 bullets in the entire game as far as I could see. I used the gun once and it was done. The shotgun ammo is hard to find and I saved it for bosses, but the bosses usually only are beatable with the machine guns as you need rapid-fire to shoot everything they throw at you. The same goes for grenades that are useless against bosses because they move around so much.
Outside of combat the story just makes zero sense. Each disc feels like its own story with one of the weirdest endings to a game I’ve ever seen. So, there’s an apocalypse coming as the game is playing off the Y2K scare and it’s supposed to be the same one that wiped out the dinosaurs. There are so many plot holes that you can literally separate each part of the story and just ask yourself, “WHAT?!” There’s a man named David that is never explained and he whispers to Laura at the end of each disc, there’s this plant parasite thing that is explained in disc 3 and makes a little sense, but then there’s a weird priest that randomly has the power of the apocalypse then there’s Jannie who is a little girl and we have no idea what her connection to anyone is and is a pointless character. You then can be resurrected every time you die as you’re some sort of “chosen one” and that is also never explained. Then at the end of the game, time rewinds back to 1999 and you meet David and then there are 10 minutes of white text on a black screen of statistics about various issues the planet is facing from the late ’90s, and before that was footage of wars and various world events. What does that have to do with the rest of the game?! It made no sense and thankfully the game was only about 6-8 hours long.
Various elements of the game just slow everything down such as a cut-scene for picking up items, a cut-scene for opening and closing a door, laying down in bed, and examining simple objects, all of this adds up to maybe 30 minutes of time just being burned, and the constant backtracking to pick up a key at this house, walk all the way across the map to this house to talk to this person, walk all the way back across the map to then trigger another event, and in between all of this there are dozens of random battles that also slow down the game. After the first hour combat just isn’t enjoyable and becomes a nuisance. I have to give WARP credit for the amazing monster designs and some incredibly disturbing images that weren’t really common on the Dreamcast or anywhere back then outside of Silent Hill. The animations are well done and the bosses are the best part of the game combat-wise as they make the most sense with this combat system in place.
The game itself looks amazing with great lighting effects and everything is rendered in real-time instead of pre-rendered backgrounds like Resident Evil. The voice acting is even passable without being really cringy and laughable. Overall, the game has a lot of good elements that are just not tied very well together. It’s playable and aged fairly well, but it’s incredibly slow and cut-scene heavy with flawed combat and a story that makes zero sense. It’s an obscure title that shows how unique the Dreamcast was, and it is one of the rarest games to find for the system, but if you have the patience give it a chance.