Review by Incubus421

"Faaan-tastic"

Dead Rising 2 Review

Don't let the critics' reviews fool you; this game is an improvement to the series. Granted, it's nothing revolutionary, but if it isn't broken, don't fix it. Capcom and Blue Castle did precisely that, and fixed only what was broken.

Set five years after the Willamette incident, the world has been mostly overwhelmed by zombies. Survivors revel in the public massacre of the undead in the form of reality television shows. The protagonist, Chuck Greene, participates in these events to raise money in order to provide Zombrex, a drug to suppress the virus, to his daughter. In opposition to this is the organization CURE, Citizens for Undead Rights and Equality, and Chuck is a very loose member, having been to a single meeting after his wife turned and bit their daughter. This affiliation comes back to bite him, as he and consequently CURE, is blamed for this newest outbreak in Fortune City. Venturing into the sea of undead, Chuck proceeds to attempt to clear his name and keep is daughter alive by finding the elusive Zombrex. Zombie-killing ensues.

Graphics: 8/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Audio: 8/10
Replay Value: 10/10
Overall: 9/10

Graphics:
The graphics are very good. They're nothing spectacular, but taking into account the number of zombies on-screen at one time, they are nothing to sneeze at either. The game is stylized to begin with, so realism isn't exactly top-priority. But the character models are very well-detailed and the textures are crisp. Compared to the first Dead Rising, I would say the graphics have improved by 25%. The animations have taken huge leaps and bounds, particularly in regards to Chuck. Unlike Frank in the first game, Chuck actually has mini-combos when wielding weapons, but I'll elaborate more in the Gameplay section. Facial expressions on everyone are very telling and believable, from friends in the safehouse to the psychopaths. I really can't say anything bad about them. Gone is the screen-tearing from the first Dead Rising, but some framerate dips are present. It never affects gameplay, and never gets out-of-hand. Also, whenever a zombie is sliced, diced, or otherwise divided, the effect is much more precise than Dead Rising 1. It's hard to describe, but as soon as you slice one in half, you'll understand what I mean. Overall, take the graphics from the first game, add a few bells and whistles, and you have Dead Rising 2.

Gameplay:
The major problem with the gameplay is the sluggish controls. However, if you've played the first game, you'll feel right at home. You just get used to it and after awhile you don't even notice it. Anything and everything is a weapon, as everyone probably already knows. This time however, Chuck can create his own makeshift weapons to unleash his wrath upon the undead. When you level up or find particular posters, a combo card will be unlocked. The card gives access to the combo-weapons' power moves and grants bonus PP (experience points). If you happen to stumble onto two items that can be combined, you can still craft them together, but you don't get the power move and the bonus PP.

In Dead Rising 1, Frank had only one move and one power move with each weapon. For example, tabbing X while holding a sword would perform the same basic overhead slash over and over again. This time around, Chuck does a little mini-combo. He'll swing left, swing right, then perform a spin move. While this greatly adds to the visual aesthetic of the game, it also leaves Chuck vulnerable for a split-second. No more barreling through 100 zombies with a baseball bat without being touched. Also, the zombies are slightly less forgiving. While in the first game Frank used to be able to jump out of being surrounded without a scratch, Chuck WILL get scratched. There won't be any animation for it and Chuck won't recoil, but you may or may not find that a health square is missing.

They have also added money to the game. You mostly find it laying on the ground, but you can also gamble it and try to win more. Money can be used to buy Zombrex or combo weapons at stores that are run by the looters that occasionally appear throughout Fortune City. It's a nice touch that allows you to buy or get ideas for combo weapons.

Thankfully, survivor AI has been vastly improved. Just talk to them, give them a weapon and go. They will follow you. Some still need to be carried, but those that don't are competent fighters. The waypoint system is still available if you so choose. Another nifty addition is that when you approach a door with survivors following, an icon appears if they are close enough to follow you through the door. This takes some of the headache away from having to make sure your party is in a small group around you while zombies are closing in. You will know for sure if they are coming with.

The psychopaths (bosses) you will meet are just about on-par with the first game. They really are quite crazy. They prove to be quite a challenge, but never have I felt beating a psychopath was beyond my skills. It may take a few tries, but I haven't had to smash or throw any of my controllers thus far.

The time limit and case system are almost identical to the first game. While controversial, I think this system is quite useful. It gives you a sense of urgency, but doesn't make the game feel frantic. Many other games will assert that an event is supposed to occur at a certain point, but it's really scripted to happen when you leave the room/enter a room and the like. But do you ever wonder what would happen if you just never left? Something that is supposed to happen will never happen because everything is based on your actions. But in Dead Rising, things happen whether you're there or not, so you better be punctual. It gives you the sense that you are part of what's happening, and not that the world revolves around you. If you just do what you're supposed to do, you won't feel rushed and still may have some free time left over, but keep in mind that everything isn't meant to be done in one playthrough. It's near-impossible. It's also not a problem because you'll want to keep playing and discovering new things. You can ignore the main plot points and just kill things and/or rescue survivors or you can follow the main storyline, or any combination in between as long as you have the time to do so. There are now three save slots, so that problem of saving without enough time to get to your destination is virtually non-existent if you alternate save files. All your stats carry over, so you'll begin your new game with all the upgrades you've already acquired.

Mixing drinks is still here, but photography is not. The greatest advantage to this is that Chuck can run like a normal person without having to hold a camera all the time.

Audio:
What do you want me to say? It's sound, it's there, it's good. The music is so inappropriately appropriate for this game. The voice acting is perfect for this over-the-top atmosphere. Lots of moaning, squishes, squashes, etc. I'm sure audio isn't a deciding factor for anyone, so enough said.

Replay Value:
Infinite. If you like killing zombies, you'll never stop playing this game. Plus they've added online multiplayer in the form of co-op and mini-games. The major flaw here is that if the host saves, his or her companion is booted. Hopefully this will be fixed in the near future. The mini-games are American Gladiator-style games involving zombies where you can win cash or just plain old glory competing with others online. Infinity mode is non-existent, but it isn't that much of a loss. Like I said, the game is meant to be played multiple times, and all your stats carry over.

Overall:
If you enjoyed the first game, then this is a no-brainer. If you didn't like the first game, you won't like this one either. If you're just curious then it's worth a rent or three. This game is great fun and it knows it. The characters are there, the graphics are there, the gameplay is definitely there, what more do you need to know? Go out and get it! Now!


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

Game Release: Dead Rising 2 (US, 09/28/10)


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