Greene sees red as the new Zombie slaying poster boy in Dead Rising 2. Move over West, zombie killing has a new name.
Canadian developer 'Blue Castle Games' is the new creative mastermind tasked with piecing together the new Dead Rising zombie slaughtering epic. Carefully dissecting Frank West's horror filled shopping endeavor, 'Blue Castle' has done an excellent job recreating the sensibilities that made the original Dead Rising a hit while building a whole new adventure filled with innovative twists. Even before we get to the rest of the review, Dead Rising 2 should be labelled a success, and Capcom agrees as they have purchased 'Blue Castle' as one of their own development houses. Things are good in the zombie zombie-brain-splattering business, so without any further ramblings about more "resident" facts you probably already know, lets get into the game.
Say Hello to Chuck
Dead Rising 2 takes place in Fortune City, a Vegas-like atmosphere, set five years after the original game. You play Chuck Greene, a former motocross champion, who is tasked with looking his infected daughter, Katy. Katy has been bitten, but hasn't turned, thanks to the anti-zombie wonder drug called 'Zombrex.' In Dead Rising 2 you begin on the TV show 'Terror is Reality' (which is also the multiplayer mode, but more on that later) earning money to buy more Zombrex when things go horribly wrong. As expected a zombie outbreak spill out of confinement to overrun Fortune City. However, we have a spin, Chuck has been framed as the man who caused the outbreak. This forces Chuck to work with a group of survivors to clear his name, while finding enough medicine to keep Katy alive until the rescue crew arrives. This instantly brings the 'Case File' and synchronous missions into play, keeping the same time based mission objects as the original. Chuck has three days to prove his innocence and escape this living nightmare.
It's not the size that matters, or is it?
Building on the bricks placed by the original, Dead Rising 2 goes beyond the confines of a single mall. Fortune "City" is almost that, a city, a series of shops and casino gambling floors connected by an outdoor area, basically an adult amusement/entertainment resort. Compared to the original, Dead Rising 2 is huge, in both size and scope. Now, ten times the zombies can be seen on screen with over 5000 zombies pouring into the bigger areas. The perfect setting to undertake a massacre.
Having a zombie-killing playground of this size means things can be a little flustering until you get used to your surroundings. Like any sandbox styled game you will slowly get comfortable, until navigating becomes second nature. Points of interest are shown on the map, which helps you get around. However, for some reason you can't put a way-point marker on the map. This hurts your ability to navigate when there is no mission objective present. This commonly happens and can be burdensome, especially when you are trying to help survivors return to the safe zone. It's a simple mechanic that would have helped so much, and one that needs to be added into future editions.
Another issue dealing with the new size of Dead Rising are longer then normal load times, something that usually occurs in games with lots of characters in a big environments. True, in Dead Rising 2 you will have to deal with some loading screens, but it's not too bad as it happens mainly during cut-scenes or when you are entering a new zone within the city. Although, these spots can break the momentum of the action and frustrate the player when you just need to go into the other room to pick something up and come back. I understand it's hard to work around, but I wouldn't have missed 100 zombies or so for quicker load times.
The Choice is Yours
The progression of the game gives a lot of freedom to the player, while trying to persuade them to do the right thing. Naturally you can ignore all the objectives and just kill zombies, but as crazy as it sounds, it can get dull after a while. The plot is broken down to events that take place at a certain time. Chuck needs to be in the area to hit the event and progress the story. Running late or miss the event, Dead Rising 2 adapts an takes a different turn. There are 5 official endings, so anything can happen. The big ending is the “S” ending, which I proudly made it too on my first run, was worth the extra effort. Thankfully, you end game carries over your stats, so all the things you didn't do the first time you can do the second. I wouldn't want to spoil any of the twists, the only constant that I can give away is that you'll need to keep your eye out for Zombrex, it's important.
This Greene sees Red
Levelling up is an crucial aspect of dispensing some zombie-whoop ass. Chuck's stats and abilities will improve as you play through the game boosting such properties as his speed, strength, and inventory spots. Levelling up is done by collecting PP, which is earned by completing objectives and killing zombies (the more creative, the more points.) Chuck can also improve his skills by reading books similar to the original Dead Rising.
The biggest change in the games mechanics from the original is in the form of weapon creation. Chuck can combine two weapons to create something new. Because of his mechanical nature (repairing motorcycles) this all seems to fit in as Chuck uses duct tape better then Red Green. Combo cards can be found or earned for hints on what you can assemble, or you can try your luck to see what happens. When you pick up an object that can be used as a combined weapon it will have a wrench icon, but the other piece of the puzzle is up to you. Over 40 unique weapons can be made that include using everything from a Flashlight, Newspaper and a Amplifier to a Cement Saw, Push Broom, Parasol, and a Football. The popular weapon on the cover is a great example called the Paddlesaw, created when you combine a paddle and a Chainsaw. Start rowing!