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Dead Rising 2 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

A fun feeling "Sunday" game. Casual, laid back, not particularly engaging or in-depth, but a whole heck of a lot of fun to mess around in.

The Pros: 

Fun gameplay. Improved weapon system, with combination weapon creation system. Co-op addition from the previous title. Online multiplayer (aka free in-game money). Big, crazier world in which to wreak havoc.

The Cons: 

Same restrictive time-sensitive mission structure of the previous game. Restrictive, manual save feature that will have you cursing out your Xbox/PS3/PC at least once or twice. Rating : 

The original Dead Rising game was one that I wound up having a bit of a love/hate relationship with. While I love the “core” idea of hacking through hordes of zombies – specifically within the confines of a mall – the idea of having to abide by a time restriction throughout the game, and constantly saving to ensure you maintain your progress did irk me something fierce. So when Capcom announced that they’d be coming back for a second round, I found myself both internally jumping for joy at the idea of a new setting, lead character, and tools of destruction… while quietly weeping at the idea of another time-pressured game laced with fits of rage from forgetting to save since my last 5 levels gained.

Dead Rising 2 features a story-line picking up quite a while after the original outbreak of the undead, we’re at a point now where zombies have been rounded up and get murdered for sport on live TV. Enter motorcross super-star Chuck Greene. While he might not be the war-hardened vet that was Frank West, he does quickly become a loveable hero in his own way rather quickly. Starting out as a contestant on the world’s premier zombie killing game-show “Terror is Reality” you’ll be lulled into a false sense of security as it seems that the zombie outbreak is now under-control… As with any great horror movie/game though, things quickly take a turn for the worse and you'll be forced into the same routine of the previous game of making your way out into the world to sneak survivors into the safe-house via the Casino’s air-ducts.

Graphically the game doesn’t seem too much different, at least from memory. Placing the games side-by-side you can definitely see that there have been some tweaks to make everything look a little cleaner. The old issues of small text are gone now at least, and the on-screen zombie count has definitely been ramped up, which works out well seeing as there are a few more “open” areas to explore in Fortune City.

Dead Rising 2 features of host of new content to the franchise that help keep it fresh, even though the core of the game will feel VERY much the same like the original title. To help improve the fun-factor of mowing your way (sometimes quite literally) through the hordes of undead Capcom has introduced features like: co-op (the main reason I started to take notice of DR2), weapon combining and creation, and an online multiplayer featuring the aforementioned zombie-themed game show “Terror is Reality.” All of these things help to build on the original premise of Dead Rising without taking anything away. The co-op is definitely my favourite new addition; though combining weapons has to be a pretty damn close second.

Gameplay wise nothing has changed too significantly. It still feels very much like a Dead Rising, and more specifically an Eastern developed Capcom game. Navigation of the world in Fortune City plays out almost exactly like the first title with only very minor changes to the flow of combat, and some very much needed tweaks to the AI – the survivors that you pick up now can actually fend for themselves and in some situations even provide reliable back-up for fights.

Over-all the experience of Capcom’s follow up Dead Rising proves to be a fun experience. Driving threw throngs of zombies with a motorcycle strapped with a pair of motorcycles is every bit as satisfying as I first imagined when they started to tease images/video of the “slicicle,” and is made even better by the fact that you can have a friend following you around in your endeavours via Xbox Live/PSN.

While the online multiplayer is decent enough for a “palate cleanse” I didn’t find that the games were interesting enough to play long-term. It feels in the end more like an ends to a means. Considering that even a third-place “loss” can net you up around $60,000 it becomes a great way to earn a lot of cash quickly.

If you’re a fan of the first game, or couldn’t get into the first game because it lacked features, Capcom’s second roll of the dice in Dead Rising 2 is definitely worth a play. There’s plenty of weapon combos to work through, new psychopaths to defeat, and many, many hours of co-op slaughter to be enjoyed. Not to mention how many random little hidden gems you’ll encounter throughout the game (bonuses for shooting craps with over-sized dice, playing video poker, blackjack, or the slots). Definitely check this one out if you’re looking for something casual, fun, and co-operative. The story might not be the most in-depth… but really when you’re spending time slapping Blanka-heads on the undead to electrocute their pals, who cares?