|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Blue Castle Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 31, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Robert VerBruggen
At first, its hard to tell whether Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is a great deal or a rip-off. On the one hand, its priced attractively at $5 and offers presentation on par with that of a full retail release. On the other hand, its short, and in many ways, its just an extended demo for the retail release of Dead Rising 2. Gamers who are used to getting demos for free might scoff at the idea of shelling out money for one, especially in this economy.
But after spending some time with the game, we decided that while Case Zero is far from perfect, it offers an experience thats worth the money. Its both the ideal gateway drug for those who have never tried the series, and a great way for longtime fans to whet their appetites for the forthcoming full-length installment. When you think it through, even the length isnt a problem: on a dollars-per-hour basis, five dollars for three hours of gameplay is the same as sixty dollars for thirty-six hours of gameplay, which hardly anyone would call a bad deal. Not to mention the multiple endings and many available achievements that give Case Zero some decent replay value.
The basic setup will be instantly familiar to Dead Rising fans. From a third-person view, using a control scheme that takes a lot of cues from Grand Theft Auto, you guide the new protagonist, Chuck, as he fights his way through thick hordes of zombies, using found objects (ranging from a newspaper to a potted plant to an assault rifle) as weapons. You also have to accomplish various minor tasks, including, most importantly, giving your daughter Zombrex every twelve hours to fight off her zombie infection. The more zombies you can kill, and the more over-the-top your style in doing so, the more you level up and the more fun the game becomes. Leveling up matters, even in this short game: when you buy the full version, you can start with the statistics you built in Case Zero.
In addition, Dead Rising 2 offers the ability to combine items on a workbench. For example, an electric drill and a bucket become (fittingly enough) a Drill Bucket; the drill pokes into the bucket such that when you slam the bucket onto an enemys head like a hat, the drill activates and blood starts flying. Yes, its incredibly gory and ridiculous (how does the drill know when to turn itself on?), but its hard not to have fun when you rarely have to kill zombies the same way twice. Further, we hear the various combinations available in Case Zero are just a taste of whats to come in the retail release.
The presentation here is great for a downloadable title, but only good when one considers this is what the full game will look and sound like. The graphics are decent for the most part, but the non-zombie characters definitely have that disturbing Uncanny Valley effect going on. The blood effects dont look realistic, even taking into account how exaggerated they are, but its easy enough to chalk that up to the developers creative license. The sound is great, from the music to the sickening sound of a broadsword cutting a zombie in half vertically.