Dead Rising 2 Review
Now with even more ridiculous ways to kill zombies.
Dead Rising was one of the first titles I purchased for the Xbox 360 and, if you could get past the strange and confusing save system, it was a lot of fun. The premise was simple; find whatever melee weapon you can and obliterate hordes of zombies. Capcom hands the reigns off to Blue Castle Games for the sequel and we end up with a somewhat better saving system, multiplayer, and a whole lot of dead zombies.
Dead Rising 2 takes place after the events of the first and puts us in the shoes of Chuck Greene, an ex motocross. The original outbreak has been contained and a treatment for the disease that turns everyone into zombies has been found. The drug Zombrex can delay the onset of zombification but has to be taken once every 24 hours, also, it’s not cheap. Chuck is forced to compete in Terror is Reality, an pay-per-view gameshow that involves contestants killing zombies, to earn money to buy Zombrex for his daughter. It’s a gruesome proposition that hits much closer to the heart than the story of Dead Rising. What would you do to save your daughter’s life? And how long could you keep it up? Needless to say a second outbreak occurs, Chuck is framed, and has to clear his name while keeping his daughter safe and supplied with Zombrex.
Since Chuck isn’t a reporter, like Frank West from Dead Rising, he doesn’t take pictures. Chuck is quite handy from years of doing work on his bikes so instead he has a knack for combining every day items into crazy weapons. Pick up a weapon and if it has a blue wrench icon next to it that means you can combine it with something else. Sometimes you’re hand fed the combos as the two items will be lying next to each other, but there are plenty of crazy combo weapons for you to figure out on your own. What makes this necessary is combo weapons will earn you much more experience for each kill than a standard weapon.
If you’re not familiar with Dead Rising, Dead Rising 2 plays out the same way, you’re on a running clock the whole time. This is a bold move and also where the first one lost a lot of people. Didn’t perform a mission in time? It’s gone. Didn’t perform a story mission in time? Game over, start from the beginning. This system creates a frantic pace to the game, missions will be given to you that you simply won’t have time to complete. The good news is there are plenty of missions to complete and starting over does benefit you as you get to keep all of Chuck’s experience and unlocked upgrades. In the end, they try to keep killing zombies fresh but it can become boring as all of your weapons lose durability and break over time so you have to go searching for components to build new ones.
The story is at times serious, but quite often very goofy and comic-bookish. If you can get into it, it’s not bad, and the underlying theme of saving your daughter should keep you involved. The story will take about ten hours to complete and there are decision points that will affect the outcome of the game. Sadly there are no checkpoints in this game. Die and you go back to the last time you saved. Sometimes this is frustratingly long ago as you can only save in washrooms. The multiple outcomes and persistent experience levels will have those who liked it back for a second and maybe third play-through.
Dead Rising 2 does have a multiplayer mode. In the story you will find out about Terror is Reality, the zombie killing game show. The multiplayer has you playing events from the show. There are a number of events available and all involve killing zombies in different strange ways, it’s a bold idea but loses it’s fun quickly as the events are pretty short and you aren’t given much instruction as to how each controls, which would help because they involve different control mechanics from running around in the style of the single player game. Not to mention it took forever to find four players to start a game. The only thing that might keep the hard core involved is the fact that the money you earn in TIR is transferred to your Chuck in the single player.
Dead Rising 2 does also offer up to 4-player Co-op through the story mode. This would have been great, as it was a lot of fun bashing zombies with friends, but they completely ruined any reason to actually be the other player. This was accomplished by the completely non-sensical concept that everyone is kicked from the game when the host saves his game. I’m not kidding, I thought it was a bug at first but this is by design. So either you wait for your buddy to re-invite you every time he wants to save or you risk not saving then dying hours later only to lose all that progress. Talk about terrible ideas, this is the worst.
The achievements in Dead Rising 2 are a mixed bag that will have you playing multiple times through the single player to get. Specifically Zombie Genocide Master which pops after you have killed 72,000 zombies. If you like the game, the achievements really add to the replay value.
The multiplayer won’t hold your attention and the co-op is utterly ruined by the saving flaw/feature. The single player, however, is a frantic, gory, fun and sometimes funny romp through a world we’ve all imagined at one point or another. Combo weapons keep it interesting for a while and the story is decent if overshadowed at times by the goofy moments and over-the-top characters.
Final Score: 7/10