Ever since the teaser trailer posted on the internet in mid-2009 many people have been waiting eagerly for Dead Rising 2 and early October 2010 it is finally here. Originally Dead Rising was an Xbox 360 exclusive but Dead Rising 2 is now available for the Xbox 360 as well as the PlayStation 3 which is great because a wider audience can enjoy the zombie killing mayhem. However the Xbox players did get a little bonus, for a mere 400 Microsoft points ($5) they got Dead Rising 2: Case 0. This sets up the story of the star of the game, Chuck Greene and his daughter Katie. Players that have played Case 0 get to import their stats into the game which makes it a little easier at the beginning, as well as gives players a good tutorial on how the game works so they can jump right in but it is not necessary to play to understand the story. The best part of this sequel is that the events of the first game have no bearing on the player’s enjoyment or understanding of the game so worry not to everyone who has not played the first game or missed it because it didn’t appear on the PlayStation 3.
The Gameplay in this game is very simple yet provides hours of entertainment. It is your job as Chuck Greene to kill as many zombies as possible with objectives thrown into the mix that are time based. All of your objectives are given to you via a handheld walkie talkie (just like the first game) and most of these calls pertain to stranded survivors. These survivors are completely optional to visit and are not required to finish the story but saving them gives you a huge PP bonus. PP are Prestige Points and are used to determine your level, the higher your level the better Chuck performs. Sometimes these survivors aren’t that happy to see you and want to kill you, from here you can stay and fight or run away but killing them gives a nice bonus as well. While running around and saving people there will also be alerts when the story is about to unfold, events happen at a pre-determined time and usually there is a bit of down time in between to do those side missions or just kill as many zombies as you possibly can in the most creative ways. A big part of this
Freedom Bear and Chuck kickin' butt
game is the new combo weapons, no longer are you confined to killing with just a baseball bat, now you can duct tape nails onto it for more damage and more PP. The combo weapons are a nice feature since these weapons do a lot of damage and there is a variety of them. In the first game a lot of weapons did very little damage and there was one chainsaw that was essential to play the game, this is no longer the case since all combo weapons seem to be on that level. These combo weapons are created by combining two items on a workbench, and there are a lot of different possibilities however not everything can be combined. Another bonus to combo weapons is that they offer additional PP when using them so chuck gets to level up faster. Ranged weapons also got a massive improvement because chuck can now shoot and move at the same time, which hasn`t happened in too many Capcom games yet.
The graphics Dead Rising 2 are a huge improvement over the predecessor. The camera is a third person view and is fully maneuverable with the right analog stick and is usually pretty close so you get a good sense of the action. When Chuck is doing a special attack the camera moves to an angle that will show the best gore and right back after the action is over. Zombies are rendered in fairly high detail and there could be a thousand zombies on the screen without a hiccup. The games seems to do this by keeping everything in front of you in good focus but things that are off in the distance, including zombies, seem blurry. This does not take away from any gameplay and actually makes the game look better in my eyes. When shooting a ranged weapon the camera moves into an almost first person perspective (a over the shoulder but Chuck is transparent) and then you really get to see how ugly the zombies you are killing are. With so much mayhem happening all over the place the cut scenes are a nice break and are rendered in game. This can make for a lot of funny situations because of the clothes Chuck is wearing, especially when he’s being serious wearing a “Borat thong”. As beautiful as this game is there are a few hiccups that occur during play, this game does not seem to handle fire too well. There have been a few moments where explosions happened and there was a small frame rate shudder but when fire is involved it can be quite noticeable. When I encountered this it was mainly in the cut scenes so it didn’t really affect the Gameplay but it definitely caught my eye and was annoying, though worry not this only happened less than a handful of times.
When it comes to the audio for this game not much can be said for music, but a lot can be said about voice acting. The music is limited to mainly “mall music” or Muzak for the majority of the game and the occasional horror music here and there with rock thrown in during use of the work bench. At all times this feels appropriate and fits into the scheme of what is happening and where you are in Fortune City. The voice acting in this game is superb, with a great cast of people doing the voices. All the tones of the voice actors are very appropriate for the scenes that are unfolding and don’t ever seem unnatural. This is a great thing because it really helps immerse the player into the story. The only annoying voice acting comes in the form of survivors yelling for help because sometimes you can hear them way before you can see them and if you have no intentions of saving them, then you may be stuck listening to them for a extended period of time when you stick around the area, though you can always kill them yourself. <insert evil laugh>
Dead Rising 2
The multiplayer comes in two flavors in Dead Rising 2, first is the co-op and then there is “Terror is Reality”. The standard co-op allows a player to jump into a friend’s or random stranger’s game as long as the host allows this from the options. The joining player does not have any items but has their level and PP as well as their clothes. This may be a bit odd but while in co-op there are two Chucks running around at the same time and whichever person initiates a mission is the one featured in the cut scenes. The game plays exactly as it would in single player and the hosts file is used to mark the progress in the story and only the host can save. The joining player can save only their PP and combo cards upon disconnecting. To enter and exit areas both players must be close to the door and if one person gets killed then there is a timer started in which time the second player can revive the downed one with food. This reviving makes the game a bit easier but if the player isn’t revived then it’s game over, though the timer is very fair.
In “Terror is Reality” the player takes part in a competition with three others in a series of 3 minigames and then a finale of Slycycles (this is the first thing you do when you start the single player campaign). During the whole competition TK is making announcements in between events and there are two commentators that say some very crude things during the events. At the beginning of each even is also a summary of how to play so every player knows the controls and all together there are 9 events. Each of the 9 events focuses on killing or humiliating zombies with money awarded for everything you do. This money is then used to rank you on leaderboards and can then be transferred into your offline game, which is great since it gives you one less thing to worry about while the zombies try to eat you. There seems to be very little lag on the co-op portion of the game and in “Terror is Reality” the only mini game that lag is noticeable is when it happens in Ramsterball. This is the only minigame that has players trying to hit each other and sometimes players will teleport instead of having smooth motions, the rest of the games are player vs zombie and lag is almost not an issue. One thing I did notice though is in games where I saw lag in Ramsterball the final stage of Slycycles had much less zombies to kill then games with no lag.
Dead Rising 2 is a great game and is open to fans of the series as well as new comers alike. There is so much to do while between parts of the story that there is never a dull moment and in case you really don’t feel like playing the main story, you can always fail and just free play without having to do the missions, just kill zombies in as many ways as possible. With the addition of multiplayer there are even more laughs to be had with a friend to back you up as you decide to play soccer with the zombies or slice them in half with medieval weapons, whatever you prefer. Visually this game is appealing so you will not have to look away at any time unless you are squeamish due to the huge amounts of blood and gore from all the mayhem you cause. I highly recommend this game to anyone that likes to kill zombies with the craziest weapons imaginable and to anyone that likes to play games at their own pace since everything is pretty much optional in Dead Rising 2. So get your duct tape out and start killing those hordes because it’s an awesome for the good of humanity.