Review by BasiKMoistA

"A great sequel for a great game."

Dead Rising 2 is a multi-platform free roaming game with a twist: you're Chuck Greene, surrounded by hundreds of zombies all eager to get a piece of you, and you have 72 hours to keep your daughter alive and to unravel a huge conspiracy surrounding the Fortune City outbreak. The sequel to Dead Rising, several improvements are noticeable straight away, but the game is not without flaws. However, I will say that the game is enjoyable and one that will keep you occupied for quite a while trying to fully experience what the game has to offer.

Gameplay – Single Player

The gameplay is simple. You start off at level one (or five if you completed Case Zero, the downloadable prologue for Dead Rising 2), and you earn Prestige Points (PP), which are basically experience points for doing several tasks such as rescuing survivors, killing psychopaths or finding special hidden PP bonuses hidden throughout the world. Earning enough PP allows you to advance in levels, improving Chuck's skills and periodically awarding combo cards (more on that soon). The whole game is also revolved around a time limit (about seven hours real time). While this irks many players, I find it a fundamental part of Dead Rising. Though the game lacks a free roam mode as well as a survival mode like infinity in the first game, one can simply ignore the time limit and generally cause chaos for the remainder of the time available at the expense of the story. Once the time runs out or you decide to quit, you can restart the story retaining all your stats, money and key items, helpful for those who wish to level up before starting the story.

However, the most important and advertised way of gaining these points is to combine specific weapons to make brand new ones, and utilising these to dispatch of the undead. Located throughout Fortune City (the game's map) are maintenance rooms where you can bring certain weapons and combine them to make new ones. As you progress throughout the game, Chuck will earn combo cards, which gives you ideas of what weapons to combine as well as a double PP bonus. If you do not have the specific combo card, that's okay. You can still create the combo weapon, however you will lack the double PP bonus as well as any special attacks that may pertain to the weapon. This significant addition to the Dead Rising sequel allows you to make incredible, yet impractical weapons that you'll most likely enjoy using.

Controls remain relatively the same apart from a few changes. The annoying lack of ability to move while aiming a gun has now been fixed to the joy of many. Also, gone is the annoying system of receiving ‘missions' by a transmission that must go interrupted. Now they go straight to your message list which can be checked any time. The AI of survivors, another fatal flaw of the first game has now improved greatly, almost too greatly as you will probably get them back to the safe house with ease, allowing for less frustration and importantly more time, which is essential in this game.

Another addition is the use of cash in the game, which can be found lying on the floor of casinos, through the destruction of ATMs, or even gambling on the slot machines. Money can then be spent in pawn shops which are operated by looters who sell weapons at inflated prices, as well as the coveted Zombrex, a drug that prevents zombification for 24 hours, an important medicine for Chuck's daughter Katey. These looters are also enemies that can be found around the world, and are basically a replacement of the True Eye cult in the first game.

Finally, the amount of weapons available for use is plentiful with chairs, tables, chainsaws, axes, motorbikes, vases, paintings and many more lying around waiting for you to pick up and use. Some are merely there for novelty while others allow you to leave a wake of destruction behind you. Part of the fun comes from experimenting or simply using these weapons to mess with your enemies, and with the combo weapon mechanic, you're sure to smile at some of the things you'll be doing to the undead. Chuck can be somewhat customised as per the first game also by visiting clothing and cosmetic stores.

To summarise, the game lasts approximately seven hours no matter what you decide to do, yet the game can be replayed over and over. The new combo weapon system is a great addition to the game, and you will have a ton of fun killing the zombies in different ways, and actually succeeding in rescuing the survivors of Fortune City.

Gameplay – Multiplayer

Multiplayer in Dead Rising 2 consists of a game show called ‘Terror is Reality' where four players compete in a series of mini games involving zombies in an arena, as well as a co-operative mode which unfortunately, but understandably is online only. Some of these mini games may not seem too enjoyable but others are definitely fun. Playing ranked matches of Terror is Reality allows you to win cash and transfer it into your single player game.

While I have not tried the Co-Op mode myself, I have heard that people are enjoying the mode, but it is not without many problems and glitches involving disconnecting and saving. However, this is just the general opinion on this mode, and I cannot comment further on it.

Story

Although it may not seem or look like there's a story associated with a game like this, there is, and it is for the most part superb. Chuck Greene has come to Fortune City after losing his wife in the outbreak in Las Vegas five years ago to win prize money. This money will go towards paying for the anti-zombie medication for his daughter Katey which is called Zombrex. However, on his way out of the arena, zombies involved with the game show are released, and Fortune City is suddenly swarmed. Chuck brings his daughter to a government shelter where the military will arrive to rescue the survivors in three days. However, Chuck must continuously find doses of Zombrex in order to keep his daughter alive. Soon later, Chuck also discovers that he's been framed for the outbreak, and he has until the military arrives to clear his name and get to the bottom of what caused the outbreak.

The story is filled with twists and turns, thankfully keeping my interest right until the ‘end' of the game. However, like the first Dead Rising, an overtime mode is included, which unfortunately feels like an afterthought by the developers with nothing really added to the story. I feel that the story in this game is just beaten out by the first, which was incredible, but Dead Rising 2's plot is still intense and captivating.

Graphics

Graphics are of good quality considering how many zombies there are on screen at a time. Though they may look a bit cartoony, I feel they suit Dead Rising 2 which does not set out to be an incredibly serious game. However, the frame rate doesn't seem to be very high at all, and tended to drop for me during cutscenes sometimes where fire was present. It was enough for me to feel a bit disappointed that I could not watch some scenes in their full glory.

Audio

The weapons sound like their real life counterparts and the soundtrack you'll mostly hear is the muzak in the malls or casinos. Some of the audio is also taken directly from the first game which is quite disappointing, but nothing to really moan and groan about. However, the music in cutscenes are subtle, but nice and add to the atmosphere. The rock theme playing during the making of combo weapons also sounds catchy.

Overall I rate Dead Rising 2 a 9/10. The game was meant to be replayed, and thankfully it is replayable with the gameplay of a high standard and multiplayer being included this time around. There's plenty to explore, and while there are several flaws associated with the game, I'm glad that I purchased this game and recommend it to any zombie lover out there who has the patience to get through a game that is ‘timed'.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/30/10

Game Release: Dead Rising 2 (AU, 09/24/10)


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