Dead Rising 2 is the sequel to Capcom’s rather good zombie game Dead Rising, where you play as the reporter Frank West who is trying to figure out exactly is causing the outbreak. This time around you play as Chuck Greene, a former motor-cross champion who is thrown into his second zombie outbreak in a vegas-esqe city called Fortune City. You have a small adorable daughter who has been bitten in the past and has to be injected with a medicine called Zombrex to prevent her from turning into a walking dead, and also try to uncover why you’ve been framed for the outbreak.
To start with, Dead Rising 2 is pretty much more or less Dead Rising 1 with a few well placed tweaks, and that’s a sequel I can admire when the first game was fairly good, too many games try to change the games too much and end up with something that’s not as good. The core elements of tonnes of zombies and using hilarious and varied weaponry are still there, and some of the things that kind of sucked in the first game, like survivor AI, have been fixed.
The zombies, those ‘lovable violence without guilt’ flesh-bags are there, and are still as fun to destroy in exciting ways as ever, with so many possible items to use as weapons it’s quite staggering, and a new weapon combo system, where you can make powerful amazing weapons, though it misses a few basic obvious weapons that I though would definately have been in. (Like putting a car battery on a 2×4 would have made a tazer-pole. Seems obvious enough.)
However, it still has a few annoyances than have remained from the first game.
Dead Rising, as a series, has always had a large focus on screwing around in it’s games. As said, you can use almost anything you see as a weapon, from Pot Plants, bundles of CDs, firecrackers, lawnmowers, all fun to use, and there’s a huge amount you can do that’s not central to the plot, but will give you bonuses and are just generally interesting. I would gladly play a game that is essentially Dead Rising but without a central plot and time limits, because as the game is now it seems to not want you to actually have fun with it, but still includes thousands of screwing around opportunities for some reason. Especially with the addition of Co-op, I figured that 2 pals running around a zombie apocalypse fighting bad guys and laughing like hell would have been obvious.
The game is heavily based around time limits, which can be a bit intrusive when you want to concentrate on doing something fun. For example you might want to go outside and ride around on your newly acquired motor cycle for a while, try to get the “Kill 1000 zombies” achievement, have a fun time. Or maybe play some slot machines, break some ATMs, get enough money to buy the keys for that fancy car in the plaza. Except you can’t if you don’t want a timer bar keeping an innocent old lady alive to run out and get her eaten. It’s not really fair on the player, because the player wants to have fun, not be constrained by dead lines that make little to no sense. This was remedied a tad in Dead Rising 1, where it had an “Infinity mode” which involved you staying alive and killing zombies indefinitely, but it was taken out in this game in a way that screams at me “We’re going to use it for DLC”. Which does not fly well with me. Oh no.
The save system is the same, that is you go to a toilet and save your progress. While functional, it does tend to become annoying, especially when you forgot to save before the big boss fight and you lose half an hours progress. Still, there are more restrooms around the place than the first one so it’s a tad better.
The boss fights are the same standard of difficulty that they were in Dead Rising, which is mostly incredibly difficult. Which isn’t in itself a bad thing, but it forces players to use game limitations to kill them more often then not. Hell, one boss I was fighting got stuck in a wall and let me pummel him to death, and I was downright grateful to have been cut a break. Another one I defeated by taking 4 survivors with me, giving them all assault rifles and kept the boss busy while they did most of the work. Most others can be defeated by learning their moves and figuring out a routine to whittle away their health while avoiding attacks, which will utterly destroy you. It all feels kind of unsatisfying after a while, when routine and essentially cheating the game are the only way to win against these guys.
The this that really annoys me though, is that ultimately, it doesn’t matter apparently. The escort, psychopath fights, and all the timed missions are completely optional, and you can apparently not bother with them and still get the best ending. So… why exactly did you put a flashing timer on my screen that makes it feel like the most important thing in the world Dead Rising? I mean I don’t mind, but you didn’t even give me a score at the end, you just threw a bunch of stats I already knew at me. And they’re clearly the best part of the game as well, so why did you make them worth so very little?
The game has co-op and multiplayer which are nice additions, but not really that amazing. The co-op essentially puts 2 players into a campaign instead of one, and it doesn’t let you interact with one another than much. I had a vision of one person with a shotgun, one person wheeling them around in a wheelchair, or even some co-op fighting moves. But nothing of the sort. Functional, but kind of dull.
Multiplayer, where 4 players play on the fictional game show “Terror is Reality” that centers around killing zombies in exciting ways, is kind of dull honestly. I mean there’s a few different mini-games, and they’re all functional, but they aren’t fun enough to really play the game for. Though you can export the money won to a save game, which is a nice addition.
All in all, it’s a very solid experience of zombie destroy fun, and definitely worth playing through, but it does have a few annoyances that can lessen the experience at times.