Before I really start my brief review, let me disclose the following: I absolutely frickin’ love games that involve killing zombies. LOVE them. And one of the best zombie-killing franchises of all-time, Resident Evil, has decided to switch over to “parasites” instead. I don’t like that. I want to kill zombies.
And I absolutely love Dead Rising 2.
I have to note that, being a PS3 owner, I never played the original Dead Rising. One of the key complaints I heard about the original is that there weren’t enough places to save your game. That has been remedied in Dead Rising 2, although there are still not a ton of them, but videogames should strike a balance, methinks, and methinks the balance has been struck here.
You play Chuck Greene, a contestant on the zombie-killing show “Terror is Reality”, competing to try to get “Zombrex” medication for your daughter (she’s been bitten by a zombie and if does not get her Zombrex dose every 24 hours, will definitely have a palate that is limited to: “BRAAIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNS!”).
Unfortunately, something goes very wrong; zombies get released into Fortune City, the mythical Las-Vegas-style town you’re in, and to make matters worse, someone is framing Chuck for it. After the outbreak, you have 72 hours before the military arrives; 72 hours to clear your name.
This is a sandbox-style game, in that you have many side missions to perform and survivors to rescue. However, you do have main storyline missions, called “Cases”, and if you miss one of them, or don’t manage to finish one of them within the time limit, all subsequent cases fail and you basically lose the game (although you can keep playing if you want).
You kill zombies with a variety of methods; pretty much everything you can find in the Fortune City casinos and malls. One of the game’s key elements is the ability to “combine” certain items into different weapons, which will then give you more “prestige points”, which are basically experience points that allow you to level up, increase your attack strength, your life, and so on. Leveling up provides access to combo cards which allow you to create new weapons, as well, and unlocks combat moves.
This game has the feel of trying to run through Resident Evil 2 in under two hours so you can get the bonus material; a feel that has been lacking from Resident Evil of late. In fact, this game is more reminiscent of the original Resident Evil than Resident Evil is — right down to too many loading screens (there’s my one big complaint — too many damn loading screens).
Besides killing zombies and solving case files, Chuck will also run into a variety of psychopaths that he has to take down — basically, bosses. These boss fights are varied, involve the usual use of strategy and tactics, and are generally very good. Some of them can be a bit glitchy, but most aren’t.
So, to sum up: You hack zombies to pieces using any old thing you can find, you get your daughter her Zombrex once every 24 hours, and you attempt to clear Chuck’s name before the military arrives.
The time limits imposed on missions may make you feel a little on edge, but that’s the point. And the timing is done very well. I’ve completed many missions with just minutes remaining. If you budget your time well, you will have no problems taking care of business in Fortune City.
If you die, you have the option of loading a game from one of only three save slots, or restarting the whole story with your current level.
You can also play co-op; although Chuck is the only playable character, you can dress him up in any number of ways to separate yourself from your co-op partner. I’ve only played a small amount of co-op, but it was very fun.
Here’s my one big problem with the game. The guide arrow. The guide arrow is used on missions to get you where you need to go. Unfortunately, STUPIDLY, you cannot manually set a waypoint marker for the guide arrow. Of course, some people are going to put this in the, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature” category and tell you that Capcom wants you to learn the layout of Fortune City yourself by acquainting yourself with landmarks and such. However, it just leads to a lot of looking at the map, in my opinion.
If you’re a fan of zombie games, you’re going to love this one. Really. I swear. I’m totally in love with it myself, and it has sparked a few of those increasingly rare 8-hour marathon gaming sessions.
I’m giving Dead Rising 2 a solid 9.5/10. That’s how much I like it.
A friend of mine, who played the original Dead Rising, has a few issues with it. First, he claims the setting in Dead Rising 2 is almost exactly the same as the one in Dead Rising. He also firmly maintains that there are still not enough save points. Mainly he’s just not that impressed. He told me he would give it an 8.25/10. So there ya go.