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Death, Jr. 2: Root of Evil - hands-on

The run-around-and-hit-things style of gaming is quickly becoming old hat. Take some quirky and/or badass characters, throw them in a third-person perspective and you’ve got about 75% of all the games out there right now. Hit a switch, grab a key, hit something in the face, whatever - it's always the same crap with a different smell. The first Death, Jr. felt a little something like that.

So, it's at least cool to see a developer learn from its first time through and actually enhance the gameplay. The spastic camera from the first game has been fixed, now totally under your control with the L and R buttons. Auto-aiming for your cache of other-worldly guns feels tighter too, and the addition of a second playable character adds a new perspective to this semi-gothic world. Being able to play the entire game co-op is a sweet bonus as well - it's probably the addition that'll make the whole package seem more enticing than the last game.

DJ and his gal pal Pandora control the same but do have unique weapons and upgradeable move sets. Regardless of which Hot Topic-friendly hero you choose, you'll be going back and forth between up-close attacks and long range weapons like a flaming TP shooter, a freeze gun and a C4-strapped hamster. Each of these weapons can be enhanced through hidden pickups strewn through the levels - we were about to step-up our twin pistols, but still needed a back massager and grease gun. With these, um, unconventional weapons and enemies like robotic llamas and killer toys, you should start to get a pretty good sense of the Death, Jr. 2 atmosphere.

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