It’s been nearly four years since Capcom first unleashed hordes of zombies on the Xbox 360. With an improved save system, exciting combo weapon features and an appearance on the PS3, does Dead Rising 2 finally live up to the hype or is it the same old game with just a few slight touch-ups?
What’s It About?
The zombie outbreak has broken away from the confines of Willamette Mall and reached Fortune City, a Las Vegas type playground where anything and everything can be used to your advantage. Chuck Greene, a former Motorcross superstar, is thrown into the outbreak when his wife was killed several years ago and his young daughter Katey became infected. A miracle drug known as Zombrex, which halts the effects of the zombie disease for 24 hours, is Chuck’s only reason for staying in Fortune City, as finding that keeps Katey alive.
Capcom has spent months bragging about the exciting new combo system and how anything you find can be used to help you fight off the zombie outbreak. Items shown with a wrench icon can be combined with the right tool to create a super weapon of sorts, giving players an advantage in both fighting prowess and experience gained as well. To top it off, a new save system lets players utilize multiple files that allow easier access if one should succumb to the terrors that plague Fortune City.
Why Should I Care?
Dead Rising 2 takes everything that was wrong with the first title and completely made it playable and enjoyable. For starters, the countdown clock that lets you know how much time is left before your game is over, is much more manageable this time around, letting you spend time with side missions or mindless meandering and still manage to make it to the story segments in enough time. Mindless killing is the name of the game in Dead Rising 2, however, and many times I found myself just brutally dismembering zombies without caring about the story at all. Players are welcome to do this whenever they like, but if certain story missions are not activated before a certain time, than the game ends and you must start over from the beginning. It’s not all bad since you get to keep all PP experience points and abilities you have earned, but it is very annoying to have to worry about story segments constantly in a game that urges you to do whatever you like.
Even with the possibility of starting over, Dead Rising 2 sparks creativity and as the game states “creativity kills.” The combo system is probably one of the most dynamic and enjoyable weapon layouts in any game of this scope and with any object easily interactive, you can literally pick up anything and bash it at a zombie’s skull. But part of the fun of Dead Rising 2 is earning combo cards and than finding the items needed to create the combo weapons. Scouring the massive layouts of each casino looking for that one item that will let you equip a flamethrower is engaging fun. Plus with weird weapons such as lightsabers, a sledgehammer/axe hybrid, flying helicopter spears and electric guitars, you will never get bored with finding new ways to kill the thousands of zombies scattered around Fortune City.
If you find the endless killing to get a bit repetitive, you can try your hand at Terror Is Reality, the online component of the game which ties in to the main story as well. In Terror Is Reality, you play silly minigames in a chance to win cash which can be used to purchase items in the campaign. These minigames are pointless affairs that have you driving motorcycles into hordes of zombies to rack up the most kills or other mundane tasks. The only draw to this mode is the potential cash you can earn, but with so many things wrong with this mode it is even hard to recommend to anyone trying. Co-op is worth a shot as having another human character fight alongside you amidst the hundreds of zombies is a welcome addition, but the limitations from the levels and story make this feel like a weaker version of the campaign.
Why Is It Worth My Time And Money?
Dead Rising 2 is leaps and bounds better than the original but it still has its fair share of gameplay problems. With a game of this size and scope and the pressure for you to save survivors and create weapons, the necessity to focus on story missions sort of hinders the fun factor of doing whatever you like. The story serves as a mere add-on to force players to finish the game and sort of get acquainted with the main character, but in reality its playability revolves around nothing more but fights against psycho humans and escort missions. With all of the additions to the franchise, the one thing I felt it really needed was a Free Roam mode, a chance for players to wander around without the pressure of time on your side.
The weird caveat of Dead Rising 2 is that I enjoyed every minute I played, even if I had to start over numerous times during my playthroughs, even once when I was on the very last mission. Many people will probably gripe at this scenario but the ability to start a new game at level 25 makes you an unstoppable killing machine right from the get-go, something most games do not have available. When it comes down to it, Dead Rising 2 is more of the same but there is nothing wrong with that. The combo weapons really makes this game worth a try as your creativity can lead to dozens of hours of mindless, killing fun. Dead Rising 2 serves as a great weekend rental or a quick pick-me-up title when you feel like doing nothing but playing around.