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Win Against the Zombie Horde: Rebuild 2
Most zombie invasion games places players at an inescapable doomsday scenario: no hope in sight, everyone dead, and human civilization in absolute ruin. The Rebuild series takes a different approach: people band together, cooperate, survive and most importantly, triumph - or at least, that is the main goal of the game.
If you have not yet played the first Rebuild game, then we highly suggest that you head straight to the developer's page to play the original. The sequel is a definitive upgrade over the first, but there is something that feels classic and nostalgic about the first one's gameplay, maybe it is the slightly less polished writing, or the simplified combat system, or maybe it is raw feel of the game. One way or the other, if you truly want the full experience of Rebuild, then finish the first one before the sequel.
The Build Starts Here
Rebuild allows players to create their own character - there is a face randomizer that allows you to choose your overall appearance, and the game also allows you to change your name and gender (you can change your name and any NPC name at any time in the game - which is something that many players will appreciate). You start off as a visitor in a new city (whose name you also get to define) and while you are the newest member of the group, you also get to play the role of the leader.
The game is divided into days - each day, you must manage your resources and manpower in order to survive against zombie attacks, expand your territory, find food, recruit new members and find a way to successfully beat the zombie horde. The game has a quick default ending available: survive long enough and the army will come marching in to save you all from the zombies. But if you choose to keep playing, you can earn yourself one of the four different special endings (yes, it is possible to earn all endings in a single playthrough).
But before we get ahead of ourselves, there is the day to day struggles that players have to contend with. The city is divided into blocks- each containing a structure that can be used by your camp. Hospitals serve as healing centers for any survivor who has had an accident. Laboratories will research important technologies that will help you survive. Apartments and small houses provide shelter for your people while farms provide a sustainable source of food for all. Rebuild is pretty much a resource and economy management game at its heart - one that has hordes of zombies shambling towards it.
The Zombie Horde
Of course, no zombie game can be complete without zombies - but with Rebuild, the threat is less present and is more implied in terms of existence. The only time you truly see the zombie hordes is when they manage to get near the perimeter of your defenses - and even then you can choose to skip the animation sequence. If you are not too familiar with the whole zombie-apocalypse genre (which might also mean that you have been staying under a rock since the release of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead), it is hard to imagine the dire predicament that your character and the other survivors are facing. But in oure current society where the concept of a zombie-overrun future has been portrayed in media countless times, the lack of visible zombies in the game is hardly a reason to not be scared.
The game manages to deliver frights and chills through narratives - whether it is the grim reports of your scouts describing the aftermath of zombie attacks on once populated areas, or the simple report that you have lost one of your men in an unfortunate accident during a mission.
As a zombie game, Rebuild 2 is pretty successful indepicting a simulated scenario of how a small human settlement can manage to survive against a zombie horde. Water, medicine and ammunition sources notwithstanding, the concepts portrayed in Rebuild 2 paint a solid foundation upon which post-zombie-apocalypse survivors can manage to co-exist. The issues that are also being brought up depict a very realistic humanity to characters - there are those who turn to religion, and there are others who turn to science. The existence of roaming gangs, isolated yet aggressive survivors and even zombie-enthusiasts provide a depth of realism for what should be visually, a disconnected game.
Looks Simple Enough
In terms of delivery, Rebuild 2 sticks to be basics. In fact, if you have played the original game, you would notice that the graphics have hardly improved (if at all). What has improved is the user interface and of course, the narrative content. There is far greater consistency to the story (even the small event-reports) that many players will surely come to appreciate (as well as plenty of nods to many famous zombie references).
The screen is neatly laid out, easily showcasing the city, menus and of course, your current resource stats. New players will certainly want to read along with the tutorial just so they do not miss out on the finer aspects of the game, but aside from that, Rebuild is still pretty much intuitive - all it takes is having a sense of balance and control when it comes to managing time and resources.
There are new screens for accessing the current statistics for the day (such as how much food is being farmed, how much is consumed, availability of human resources - per job type and even the current status of active missions). The new equipment menu allows players to access newer buildings and get better missions completion times by providing temporary boosts to character stats (allowing them to be faster at building new structures, reclaiming territory, or even researching technologies).
At the easiest difficulty, the game is a breeze to beat - new players should expect to be done in about four hours or so, veteran players can expect to blaze through all four endings in the same amount of time or even less.
Wrapping things up...
Rebuild 2 is not a game for everyone. As much fun as we had with this game, there are only certain types of gamers who would truly enjoy this; younger players who prefer to have a more interactive and personal approach to gameplay will certainly be disappointed. On the other hand, older players who can appreciate good narrative and the intricacies of resource management will enjoy the experience. Hardcore gamers are most certainly encouraged to try this one out. In terms of audio and graphics, Rebuild 2 delivers sufficiently, while the elements are pretty basic, they complement the depth of gameplay quite well. Sarah Northway's follow up promises fans of the zombie survival genre an all new approach to gameplay that makes one start looking at things from a broader perspective, and to consider the needs of a greater group in the light of such a dire situation. In many ways, Rebirth 2 can provide fans of the series an all new concept to learn, and considering how many top-down zombie shooters there already are, this is certainly a welcome change of pace and there deserves a high standing