Earn to Die 2 Review
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Earn to Die 2 Review

August 8, 2019


When we last left our hero, he’d made his
way from Washington State to an airfield in Texas. It seems the Exodus Military Base crew
either aren’t very good at their jobs or simply can’t make up their minds. Being
forced to abandon the safe haven of Airfield B-13, our nameless protagonist must now endure
the long ride to Florida after inexplicably putting his faith in Exodus… again. Although boasting a story mode five times
as long as the original and a host of new vehicles that are completely destructible,
not a lot has changed from 2012’s smash hit Earn to Die. Along with the simplistic
graphics and cheesy rock soundtrack, the simple “play, upgrade, repeat” mechanic remains
solidly intact. The player must make their way from point A to point B by finding vehicles,
upgrading them for performance and survivability and traversing the dangerous road ahead. In the original, the landscape consisted of
nothing more than a simple, slightly hilly desert scene littered with boxes and barrels.
This time around, things are much different. Now, our playground is a concrete jungle,
an industrial wasteland of ruined buildings, collapsed highways, unfinished construction
and destroyed bridges. The new concrete and steel backdrop doesn’t only change the overall
color tone from brown to grey, but adds in a multilayered driving experience with many
different paths to take. This change doesn’t seem to have too much of an affect on being
able to successfully complete stages, but it does feel fresh to occasionally take a
different path, intentionally or not. One major difference players will be struck
with is the inclusion of a simple IAP system. Upgrades to vehicles get progressively more
expensive and the player can choose to purchase additional in-game currency to speed up the
process. On this front, non-paying players can start to feel a little bit of a grind
kick in towards the end of each stage, repeating courses many times in order to obtain that
little performance boost that pushes them across the line. Another addition this time around is the inclusion
of a premium gas boost system. Driving with regular gas will provide a standard run at
no extra charge but purchasing one of the “Plus”, “Premium” or “Ultimate”
gas variants will provide increased levels of performance enhancement, ie. The more you
pay, the further you drive. I found this mechanic to be a little more disturbing than the inclusion
of the basic “pay money, get coins” type of IAP. Not only does the game highlight the
most expensive boost you can afford with your current cash surplus in an attempt to siphon
cash reserves from the player before each game, but it feels absolutely necessary to
use one of these in order to pass the final checkpoint in each level. It’s like they
took Earn to Die 2012’s progression system and equated that to a user exclusively using
the “Ultimate” gas upgrade in Earn to Die 2 – As if the game is, by default, set
at a 70 percent handicap. The slowdown effect and accompanying “Awesome!”
text splash when you randomly crush boxes can feel exhilarating if not oftentimes misplaced.
It definitely seems to be triggered by boxes breaking, which by itself would be fine, except
there’s so much other stuff going on that is easily more exciting. You can drive in
to exploding barrels hurtling shrapnel all over the screen or squish half a dozen zombies
in one go with no satisfying feedback whatsoever. A few of the upgrades available can change
the physical shape of the vehicle. This adds a really nice sense of accomplishment for
the player. Unfortunately, it can also make the vehicles unsuitable for the terrain in
which they’re placed. A perfect example being the ice cream van, which, stock, only
just manages to fit inside concrete tubes laid out before it. With fully upgraded tires
raising the vehicle, and plate armor adding bulk, the player is forced to slow down to
a crawl to avoid damage. And it simply doesn’t feel good to drive slowly in this game. My last, and by far biggest issue with the
game relates to the actual vehicle upgrade system. Instead of attempting to complete
stages in any vehicle the player has unlocked, we are now forced to use a specific car for
each stage. So, for example, stage one HAS to be the buggy, stage two HAS to be the classic
sedan, stage three HAS to be the ice cream van, and so on. In the original game, if I
wanted to, I could use the Beetle until I’d saved up enough money to unlock the Mustang,
or skip the Mustang altogether and go for the truck. Yes, you had options, but the game’s
design cleverly made you change up your vehicles to progress further and subsequently, earn
even greater rewards. Restricting the vehicle choices the player
can make only seems to artificially extend the playtime required to complete each stage.
Is my fully upgraded ice cream van from level 3 faster and more efficient than the stock
level 4 police cruiser? I’m willing to bet the answer is yes. All in all, for a sequel to such a highly
regarded title, Earn to Die 2 is not bad. Most of what made the original such an incredible
ride remains, and despite my concerns, the game is still super fun. I just can’t help
feeling like business decisions are interfering with game design. The first game did so much
right, and it’s baffling why the formula would be tweaked to such a degree. The show’s
not over yet though as Toffee Games and NotDoppler have assured us and additional “Mission Mode”
will be available soon and if they’re watching, I’d still love to see a procedurally generated
endless mode included in the game! Thank you for joining me for today’s review
of Earn to Die 2. Be sure to subscribe for more reviews and gameplay footage from the
latest mobile games, and check out Game Mob, that’s www.gamemob.com.

Only registered users can comment.

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  2. Hello,

    Can you please review our free, easy and addictive game Boxy Jump?

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=lu.zor.boxy5
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/boxy-jump/id1059221156?ls=1&mt=8

    Thanks

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