Earn To Die Review In 2021

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When we last left our hero, he’d made his way from Washington State to an airfield in

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


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.


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