Reviews - Multi Platform
Written by Eric Dionne Thursday, October 07 2010 15:58
Zombies, Zombies, Zombies! What is there to say about this pop culture phenomenon? They've taken over movies, television, literature, video games, and every other form of media. Dead Rising 2 once again shows us, however, how insanely fun it is to dispose of the undead in crazy ways. But, does it hold a candle to its Frank West-driven predecessor? Or does Chuck Greene pale in comparison to our favorite war-covering photojournalist? Read on to find out!
Developer: Blue Castle Games
Platform: Xbox 360/PS3
If you read my Dead Rising 2: Case Zero review, then you know just how excited I was for Dead Rising 2. Now that I've had my hands on this game for a week, it's now time to talk about the experience.
Take what you learned about Case Zero, and multiply it by 100.
Dead Rising 2 is mind-blowing zombie smashing fun, and personally my all time favorite zombie-related video game. On top of a longer single player experience than Dead Rising, they've added multiplayer arena battles involving 9 different games, AND an option for co-op gameplay over Xbox live. The lack of an Infinity mode or photagrpahy is a bit confusing, but overall we've received much more than what's been taken away. While I enjoyed taking pictures, it did get kind of tiring. In the upcoming Xbox 360-exclusive Dead Rising 2: Case West, we'll be able to take photos again anyway so that's something to look forward to in the future.
Let's begin with the graphics since it is the first thing you see, after all. This game looks much better than the original Dead Rising. The character models are definitely more detailed and move more realistically. Whether it's a cut-scene or regular gameplay, the models don't look much different. They are a bit more clean in cut-scenes but it's barely noticeable.
Sadly, all the characters still don't move their mouths when speaking in-game. In the cut-scenes, however, their mouths are actually lip-synched to the words they are saying. That is always a big deal to me because it's 2010, and if you can't make a mouth follow the words...then what the hell are you even making the game for anyway? I figure it's because there's just so many characters in these games that it's tough, but at least the cut-scenes are saved from this oversight.
The best part about it, just like in Dead Rising, is that whatever Chuck is wearing, he wears it in the cut-scenes. So imagine Chuck giving his daughter Zombrex wearing short shorts and a chest high tied flannel half-shirt.
Now when we talk about the sheer number of zombies, there is definitely at least 3 or 4 times more of them onscreen than in the original. This however is cheaply done, since it just blurs out zombies in the distance (and it's not even that distant where you see this blur). Sure, when you go up to them they'll actually be there; they just look like a blurry mess when you're not near them.
Presentation is well done too as the survivors have more personable animations such as some of them vomiting, or walking around cautiously with an intense sunburn. Overall, the graphics are very well done and very easy on the eyes.
The single player starts out simple enough. Chuck has been living in Fortune City for 3 years, taking care of his daughter Katey ever since the events of Case Zero. But all hells breaks loose and the zombies overrun the city. Chuck saves Katey and makes it to an emergency bunker where a few others have survived too, and the game begins.
Just like in Case Zero, Katey needs Zombrex. Zombrex is a helpful medicine that Isabella created in the first Dead Rising, as it staves off the infection for 24 hours. In Case Zero it lasted 12 hours, but the very beginning of this game explains it now has a new and improved formula that lasts a full day. Convenient, huh? So while that is an ongoing mission, you now have a whole slew of cases to complete.
Similar to its predecessors, DR2 has a specific 72 hour timeline to save survivors, follow the main story cases, and give Katey her medicine on time. This time around, there are a total of 65 survivors to save; one of which is a tiger, I kid you not. A handful of the survivors have to be found at certain times in certain places, but on your own, as you will not receive a scoop to go find them. So for those of you looking for a "Saint" run, you can miss 15 people and still get it.
One thing I have to say about single player is this: it's way easier than Dead Rising's single player. The survivors are way more intelligent as they will run past zombies and almost never stop to go out of their way to kill them. They can also take more hits before needing health or dying. This is a HUGE improvement. In my first playthrough I had no problems killing all psychopaths, saving 50 survivors EXACTLY, getting the S ranking (which is not hard at ALL), and making it to level 40 out of 50. But this experience definitely gives the game more replay value, especially with the 50 survivor achievement done. You see, now on my replay I can focus on the 15 people I missed, and not worry about anyone else (except maybe the survivor who shows you the shortcut).
As I mentioned, the leveling system from Dead Rising is back. If you're like me, then you got to level 5 in Case Zero and imported your stats to Dead Rising 2. That obviously helped a bit and made my first play through easier, but I'm sure not drastically different it would have been. As you earn PP (Prestige Points), you gain things like new fighting skills, such as the drop kick or elbow drop. On top of fighting abilities, you earn more power related skills such as increased attack damage, more health slots, more inventory slots, more speed, etc. Earning these upgrades can be random to an extent. An example would be between levels 31-35, you may earn things like another inventory slot or an attack damage increase. However, you may earn the inventory slot at level 31 and the other at level 35, while a friend playing may receive them in the opposite way. It will always be in between a range where you earn certain things, but not on a specific level.
Overtime mode makes a return in Dead Rising 2. This is obtained after doing a certain task at the end of the regular game which I won't spoil for anyone. But when it's done, you then have to find items and bring them to a specific location before time runs out. It's really not too difficult but you do deal with more enemies, some more vicious than others.
Let's move on to combo weapons!
As you may have read or seen in Case Zero, you can now combine many different items/weapons to create a much more powerful, and often hilarious arsenal. There's fun combos such as a Blanka mask (called "Goblin mask" in the game though it's obviously Blanka from the Street Fighter series) combined with a battery to make an electric mask that shocks a zombie and a handful of enemies around him. Weapons such as the Defiler, which is a sledgehammer and axe combined, make for a good boss killer. There are a total of 50 different combinations, so have fun mixing and matching some items. Combo cards can be obtained by killing psychopaths, saving certain survivors, or by looking at movie posters. A few of them are hidden around Fortune City so keep an eye out for them. You can make them on your own, however this gives you a Scratch card. They won't give you 2x PP like a combo card will, but it'll at least be there so you remember how to make that particular weapon until you find its combo card for more PP earning.
Now, onto "Terror is Reality!"
This is a four player multiplayer mode where you battle for points and money. There are nine minigames total and is set up in a four round system. You play three of the TiR games, usually chosen at random, and then the final round is always Slicecycles.
Each round you earn points, and at the end of the 4th game whoever has the most points wins. Money earned is based on what place you're in at the end, and how well you did during each game. This money can be carried over to one of your playthroughs, which is an excellent and fun way to earn money. Some of the games involve using a metal moose head to flip zombies onto a scale, most weight wins.
One of my favorites is Master Shafter. In this game zombies are launched from cannons and a target is shown where they'll land, if you are the only one there, you get 1000 pts, BUT if others show up in the slot, you all have to press buttons in succession as fast as you can. Whoever has the most correct gets the kill and a bonus for however many people were involved. I had a moment where all four of us were going for the same zombie and I won, so my guy shoved one guy out of the way, swept kicked the others and killed the zombie. Very cool. Here's a quick rundown of the games:
- Ball Buster - Launch bowling balls at zombies and destroy them
- Bounty Hunter - shoot them from a sniper tower, if opponent hits a target, blast shields block your view for a few seconds
- Headache - slap blenders on zombie heads and activate them once you get a lot together
- Master Shafter - lance canon-shot zombies for points, knock out other players if in your way by context sensitive battles
- Pounds of Flesh - using metal antlers, launch zombies onto a scale, most weight wins
- Ramsterball - roll in a metal cage and tap bumpers that have zombies on it when you are "it", when you're not it, tag the player to become it so you can earn points
- Slicecycles - drive around on a motorcycle with 2 chainsaws and kill the most zombies
- Stand up Zomedy - put as many of the 3 clothing items on zombies as you can, get all 3 on a zombie for bonus points, also earn points stopping others from doing it
- Zomboni - run over zombies and spew their blood into robot faced zombie targets, most points from filling targets with blood wins
So there you have it, multiplayer madness. The downside is finding a match can sometimes be hit or miss. You may sit there for 10 minutes and no match comes up, but other times the second you search for a game, it finds one right away. They definitely need a patch to fix it because it's annoying.
I had a small opportunity to play co-op mode and I must say it was...okay.
It's simply just you and someone else playing the game together, though you have to be in the same area as your teammate. Now maybe it's simply because I joined a match and my partner didn't WANT to leave the area we were both in, but it seemed like he had to stay. If I'm wrong, please comment and let me know. I was however pretty pissed at the glitches co-op mode can cause in your own personal save data. I am going for the "Data Miner" achievement, which means I have to at least encounter all survivors/psychopaths and have them in my notebook. So I finished the game only missing 15 survivors and saved it.
I played co-op using that save... and it reset my notebook.
So all the people I found were no longer considered found. I panicked a bit because I did NOT want to have to save all those people again, but thankfully this game uses a 3 save slot system and I had a save from RIGHT before the final boss of overtime mode. If I didn't, that glitch would've ruined the game for me hands down. This also happens if you played a save where you bought all the keys to the vehicles in the game from pawnshop owning looters.If you beat the game, then played co-op before restarting the story, you'll lose those too. So my advice is to play co-op as it's very fun, BUT make sure that if you beat the game, that you restart the story WITH that save file and just go to the bathroom in the safe house and save. THEN you can do co-op and not lose any people or items you unlocked. Otherwise, if you didn't keep a "near the end" save like me, you're out of luck.
Dead Rising 2 is leaps and bounds better than Dead Rising. Case Zero may have been fun, but the final product of the game it's linked to is so much more amusing and awesome. While I would've given this game an even better rating, I had to drop points for 2 things. There are the glitches that could be potentially game ruining as I mentioned before, and the often slowness I've encountered in finding matches for Terror is Reality. I mean, I haven't even played 3 of the games in TiR because when you get them its random as to which combo of the 3 you'll play before Slicycles, and it takes so long to get in a match sometimes that it would be a while to even have a chance at playing ANY of the games.
I know many of you hate the whole "time limit" style of play. I do indeed wish there was a mode where you just hop into fortune city and do whatever you want for as long as you want. But realistically, play a few cases of the story and then just run around. You'll get scoops for survivors and can still go on a zombie killing rampage.
With much more interesting Psychopaths over those in Dead Rising (but sadly a bit easier), much more intelligent survivors even without the Leadership magazine (makes any invalid survivors run like normal), and a much larger playing field, Dead Rising 2 without a doubt is the best in the series. I look forward to Case West, where Frank and Chuck meet for some co-op fun. I also have a future surprise in store for you fans, but I'm keeping it top secret.
So until Case West, that's all I have to say about Dead Rising 2. It's an amazing game, and if you can deal with a time limit it's definitely worth the money. Here's a few pictures of the Zombrex Edition of the game. I got a more... unique version because when I open my artbook, it shows the last page first, and its upside down. All the pages are there, just in the wrong order. I love screw ups, it makes it more unique.
85 out of 100