|System: PC, PS3, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Blue Castle||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 28, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
When you first start playing Dead Rising 2, the world feels instantly familiar. Sure, it's been four years since the original Dead Rising debuted on the Xbox 360, but once you see those zombies rushing towards you in the game's opening act, you know exactly what kind of experience you are in for. And that's a good thing. However, as much as things stay the same in this game, there are plenty of new elements that will draw fans of the original back in to the game, as well as attract new players.
The game's opening moments introduce us to new series protagonist Chuck Greene, who is a contestant on a reality show where the objective is to mow down zombies using a chainsaw-modded motorcycle in a caged arena. This first playable area is pretty simple to get through (the basic formula here is drive in circles, kill zombies, and win) but once you complete the game's simple first objective, things get complicated.
We find out in very short order that Chuck's life is rather complicated, as he has a dead wife, and a daughter who needs the super drug Zombrex daily so she doesn't turn into a zombie. And to make matters worse, the zombies from the arena where the reality show is taped have escaped, prompting the entire metropolis of Fortune City to go into lockdown. But who could be responsible for unleashing the zombie hordes on this unsuspecting urban landscape? Well, it seems all fingers are pointed at our main man Chuck. Oh, boy.
Dead Rising 2 is definitely a more story-driven affair than its predecessor, and there are plenty of plot threads that are revealed both through the main "case" missions as well as the game's numerous side missions. Although the plot isn't exactly deep, the game's b-movie approach really works in this case, and you'll be interested enough to want to play "one more case" quite a few times before you're ready to call it a night. And though the characters aren't exactly three-dimensional, the game's solid horror archetypes (manly lead, sexy camera lady, bookish second-in command) are all played up with enough cheese to amuse even the most stalwart gamer.
But despite all the awesome aspects of the game's story, the real reason to play Dead Rising 2 is the gameplay. This is where Dead Rising 2 has the most in common with its predecessor, as you'll be spending most of your time running around Fortune City killing zombies with various weapons. However, the twist here is that you have the added ability of creating your own weapons. The weapon creation system here is surprisingly deep, and it's easy to get caught up searching for compatible elements that you can throw together (with the help of plenty of duct tape, I'm assuming) to achieve ultimate destruction. Some of my favorites include a dynamite-filled dinosaur head (which can lure zombies away from areas you need to explore), an electrified wheelchair, and of course, the ubiquitous chainsaw paddle-- also known as the "paddlesaw."
Even though there are plenty of weapons to make, these weapons are not created equal, and although some of them seem awesome at first, there are some mechanical issues that can cause you to trade down in some cases. For example, the paddlesaw I mentioned above is a brutal weapon in sparsely populated areas, as it dispatches 2-3 zombies at a time with ease. However, get in a big crowd with a paddlesaw, and you'll see that the imprecise mechanics make it hard to direct the paddlesaw towards a single area with any accuracy, which can have deadly consequences. Although there is an "aiming mode" you can use with the left trigger, this mode is a bit sluggish in most instances.