Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death
I was, how shall I put it, a little afraid that this “Dredd vs Death” would not stand up to my standard. “Medal of Honor: Frontline” is one of my all time favorites and I thought “Red Faction”, although different, was going to extend that pleasure. It did not glue me to the television for a very long time, however.
But without preoccupations I started playing Dredd’s Story Mode which began with a sort of tutorial in the training facilities. Nothing new here, a standard fps training. It does show you all you need to know, but I advice you to look at the controls in the options or in the booklet first because it might not be clear which button you will need to press. Press action, but action is circle where it often is x and the robot-dummy kills you which makes you start over from the previous checkpoint.
There is a surprisingly large amount of modes. In story mode you are put in Judge Dredd’s shoes and have to accomplish missions to protect your city. The number of levels are few and once you have got the hang of it, it doesn’t take very long to complete one. Battle Mode tries to lengthen the life span which is good, but I am still not convinced that a single player experience can be replaced with multiplayer oriented features. Within Battle Mode you can choose from a lot of the multiplayer modes like Deathmatch, Teamdeathmatch, RunOutOfLives, OwnArsenalOnly, ProtectTheVIP, … In the arcade mode goals like “survive between the little killer-robots” or “total mayhem in hell, just shoot everybody” are to be completed. They are not referred to the way I did, but the principle stays the same so that doesn’t matter.
After playing for about 15 minutes the controls feels as if they were your second nature because they are almost similar to other ps2 fps and quite simple, that is comprehensible.
A new and worthy extra is the “law meter”. It declines if you shoot judges and it increases by making arrests. It sounds trivial, but it adds an extra dimension to the gameplay because you can’t just run around and shoot everything that moves as that will result in hitting fellow judges. This happens no matter what so to save your ass from the Special Judicial Squad you’ll have to shoot one or two law-breakers so that the rest of them surrenders and you can arrest them.
Speech was very impressive, while playing the training other employees give you instructions and if you turn your back on them or walk away, their voice sounds further or different. The idea may not be new at all, but they’ve managed to make it sound so real and still kept it fun. Characters have some witty remarks too and the humor is enjoyable, but when, for crying out loud, are they going to learn: do not repeat one funny quote a trillion times in 5 minutes. Nowadays every game has surround or stereo options and “Dredd vs Death” is no exception.
First time through the city and you’ll find yourself stopping at edge of a building and just looking around. They really did a great job on Mega-city One, it is breathtaking. So are the models actually, but I would not call “Miss Fat&Purple” breathtaking unless she lies upon you of course. They’ve managed to make some living environment hither and dither but nothing outstanding here. If they had kept up to the good work it would have been sufficient, but I noticed some lag every time I threw a grenade which is unacceptable, especially on a console. Talking about grenades, they are the worst: they don’t have any effect on enemies and the only thing they appear to do is show some smoke and dust. Blowing up a barrel doesn’t deserve greater fame.
As they seemed to have put a lot of effort in multiplayer and with ps2 coming online, the absence of online multiplayer is regrettable. Especially because there are already a lot of fps on ps2: Timesplitters, Quake, Red Faction, the previous 007’s, … Dredd vs Death could have distinguished itself by adding online features, but now it just a new fps on a saturated market.
So, if you are in to fps on consoles and you are not tired of them yet, this is a worthy successor. It has a lot of multiplayer features which are amusing and there is a cooperative single player. Graphics are common, but certainly not bad. The gameplay has some new and cool specifics, is straight forward and certainly fun. Sound is good and has some impressive moments, but besides that once again it is common. It lacks online opportunities though.
Dredd vs Death has nothing revolutionary to offer, but if you just want a new, futuristic fps and don’t mind the absence of an online multiplayer, it won’t let you down.