Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spoiler-Free Game Review: Rebuild 2

I bet you've all been waiting for another video game post. No? Too bad. (But there will be pictures of the pups at the end, so if you're not interested in games, you can just scroll down.)

The game I've been playing all weekend is Rebuild 2. It's a turn-based strategy game where the player is in charge of a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Oh, and did I mention it's free to play at the previous link? In each turn, the player allocates surviving humans to perform tasks such as collecting food, recruiting more survivors, killing zombies, reclaiming parts of the city, and more. What it isn't is a zombie shooter game. There are times when the group of survivors has to fight zombies, but the outcome is calculated by the game, and the player does not have to do any fighting.

Rebuild 2 is the second game in the series, as the name might imply, but it is a stand-alone game (ie: not a continuation of the first). In fact, it's basically an updated version of the first Rebuild, with better graphics, a better UI, more choices for the player to make, and more endings. There is also a Rebuild for mobile that I have not yet played. The internet says it is similar to Rebuild 2, but with more endings.

In no particular order, some things I especially liked:
  • The survivors were a diverse group. Both Rebuild and Rebuild 2 had an assortment of first and last names of different ethnic backgrounds for survivors. Rebuild 2 introduced survivor portraits, which include a variety of facial structures, skin colors, and hair types. Throw these together with some randomization, and you end up with a cool "melting pot" effect.
  • Rebuild 2 was also inclusive of gay/lesbian couples and couples who might not have the same last name. In fact, I saw more gay couples than straight ones, and I didn't see any couples who shared a last name. This may not have been intentional, but it was another effect of randomizing each character's name and picture.
  • Rebuild 2 had items that could be equipped onto survivors. Some of these items were dogs. 'Nuff said.
  • There are multiple endings, and after you find one, the game allows you to continue playing to find the other endings. 
  • Some endings unlock the option to take 5 of your survivors to a new game. This is especially useful for the highest difficulty rating "impossible". The first time I tried impossible mode without importing characters from a previous game, and my survivors made a delicious meal for the zombies. When I imported some characters and tried again, impossible mode was much more possible.
  • Rebuild 2 added some ethical dilemmas during the growth of your reclaimed city. Though the answers were yes/no, there were consequences and even some additional endings to be unlocked.

I can only think of one thing I would like to see added: more diversity of body types, especially since bodies are only cosmetic and have no bearing in game play. Right now there is only one male and one female body type, though there are different random outfits.

Overall an excellent game in vision, execution, inclusiveness, and, of course, fun. And it's free, so there's really no excuse not to check it out, unless you're not into games.

...In which case, here are some outtakes from the 4th of July.

Badger is all excited for the photo shoot

But Mushroom is distracted

Poor Mushroom, we eventually took her bone away to get this picture

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