Dead Rising 2 PlayStation 3
Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Blue Castle Games
In pretty much the same vein as the original Dead Rising, Dead Rising 2 gives you hordes of zombies to hack and slash your way through. You’ll play as Chuck Greene, a former motocross champion who has travelled to Fortune City, a gambling hotspot, to compete in a TV show entitled “Terror is Reality”. It’s a hideous show that challenges its contestants with surviving zombie-filled environments in return for cash prizes. Chuck needs the cash to pay for his daughter’s medication. Having been bitten by a zombie, his daughter requires a daily dose of Zombrex to avoid turning into a zombie herself.
Chuck, who has already lost his wife to the zombies, has to provide Zombrex for his daughter for every in-game day. If that wasn’t challenging enough, he’s also been framed for releasing a horde of zombies into Fortune City. In all, Chuck has to not only cater for his daughter’s medicinal needs but also rescue survivors after the zombie horde has been unleashed and try to get to the bottom of the conspiracy behind the zombie outbreak all within just seventy-two hours before the military move in to contain the outbreak. The storyline, in truth, isn’t anything to write home about but its lack of quality doesn’t harm the experience that much. The core experience is enjoyable and there are various ways of playing through the game and there are multiple endings available with the ending being dependant on the way in which you’ve played the game.
The game likes to impose time limits on you with objectives and this helps to keep you focused on the task at hand. You’ll only get one crack at some objectives too, (which are usually rescues or killing sprees) meaning that if you fluff them, they are gone for good. In some respects this may seem a little punishing but it really adds some tension to the experience and the game is all the more interesting for it. You can simply avoid completing objectives and get on with the zombie slaughter but completing objectives allows Chuck to earn additional experience points which will eventually enable him to level up. As Chuck levels up, his basic attributes will improve and he’ll acquire a wide range of skills to make him an even more powerful zombie destroyer. Despite the skills you can acquire however, it should be noted that the combat is much more satisfying when you have some sort of item in your hands.
What makes Dead Rising 2 appealing is the way it allows you to customise your method of zombie destruction. The Combo Weapon system allows you to take two everyday items and put them together in a terrifying way. Combo cards that you’ll unlock during the course of the game will show you what items are best combined together. There are a number of items in the game that you can simply pick up and use to smack the zombies around but combining items to create something that little bit more powerful that will help you to make mincemeat of the zombies more proficiently. There are some really fantastic combinations here and whilst the concoctions you can create will eventually feel a little limited, it’s still a noteworthy addition to the Dead Rising formula.
You don’t just have to deal with zombies in Dead Rising 2. In what can be considered the game’s boss battles, you’ll have to deal with psychopathic nutcases who are, in many respects, far more twisted than the zombies. The battles with these psychopaths are much more drawn out than dealing with zombies. That’s not to say the boss battles are particularly difficult however and most can be defeated with only a little thought which is a little disappointing.
Despite this being a game that’s largely about mass zombie slaughter, Dead Rising 2 doesn’t attempt to take itself seriously. You’ll also get to mess around with Chuck’s wardrobe and you can put him in a wide variety of zany costumes. It certainly makes the cut scenes far more humorous and helps to lighten the mood at times. When you combine the wacky costumes with the bizarre weapon combinations and occasionally funny dialogue, you have a game that has quite a humorous streak and the humour is definitely part of the game’s appeal.
Dead Rising 2 has your multiplayer zombie battering needs covered. There are co-operative and competitive modes. Co-op supports two players and you can work together to take on the hordes of zombies and rescue survivors. It’s mostly enjoyable, although you do have to keep within fairly close range of each other. Whilst the co-op mode is enjoyable the four player competitive mode is disappointing and feels lacklustre. You’ll compete in a gladiator type show that puts you and your three friends up against the zombies. It’s definitely the weakest areas of the game and could have easily been left out without harming the overall package.
Graphically Dead Rising 2 isn’t the most visually impressive PlayStation 3 title but it looks fairly decent. The quality of the game’s animations are a bit of a mixed bag with some of NPC animation looking particularly crude. The frame rate is prone to dips here and there but for the most part it’s more than acceptable, especially when you consider the sheer amount of zombies you can have on the screen at any one time. The frequency and the length of the load times will disappoint however. You’ll also notice some texture glitches and screen tearing which is a little disappointing.
Dead Rising 2 is subtitled and you’ll be able to enjoy all of the game’s cut scenes. The cut scenes don’t feature any speaker names or portraits but it’s almost always clear who is speaking. In-game dialogue does feature speaker names however and here the dialogue is displayed in a dialogue box for extra clarity. Not all of the speech in the game is subtitled. Some characters will speak to you as you pass by them and this speech isn’t subtitled. When you engage in conversation with a character however, the speech is subtitled. Comments that Chuck makes when you press the triangle button are not subtitled. Tutorial messages are shown in text making you fully aware of each of the game’s concepts. Objectives are shown in text, so you’ll be aware of what needs to be done. A guide arrow points Chuck in the general direction of his current objective. You’re notified of time limits and pressing the left directional button will show you how much time you have left as well as allowing you to recall messages that you’ve received.
If Dead Rising was your kind of game or if you have a thing for giving zombie hordes a good hiding, then Dead Rising 2 can be considered an essential purchase. The ability to craft your own weapons from two different items and the humorous touches that the game has help to make this a game you’re going to want to play through again and again. Of course multiple ways to play the game and different endings also help to make sure the replay value remains high. The competitive multiplayer isn’t great and the load times can be a pain but those that like to bash, mince, slice, squish and squash zombies will easily overlook these flaws and appreciate what Dead Rising 2 has to offer.