Dead Rising 2: Case Zero - The jakob187 Review
Upon announcement, Case Zero had folks everywhere crying out "paid demo" without a second glance, and it's a justified stance to take when you know nothing more than the few screenshots and details that were released. When you actually delve into Case Zero, you'll find that there's a lot to do for 400 Microsoft Bogus Bucks, making this an absolute no-brainer to purchase even if you won't be playing the full retail copy of Dead Rising 2.
Rather than feeling like a demo, this little chunk of downloadable goodness satisfies three main purposes: it markets the game before its release to get people hyped up, it offers itself as a tutorial and a good entry point for anyone that might've missed the first game or perhaps haven't played it in a long time, and it gives you a bit of additional narrative while showing that a chunk of what makes a larger game great can work incredibly well in smaller doses. The main protagonist here is Chuck Greene, who stops for some gas in the town of Still Creek (pop. 753). His daughter, Katey, is infected with whatever has been creating all these undead beings wandering the streets, and your job is to keep her pumped with some Zombrex medicine every twelve hours. As someone ends up jumping in your truck and stealing it...as well as your supply of Zombrex...you find yourself stranded and needing to desperately find some Zombrex to keep your daughter from going nom-nom on your face.
The story itself is thin enough that you aren't going to be finding layer upon layer of character depth plastered on, but it gives you enough premise to genuinely care about the characters you are interacting with. The town of Still Creek itself, especially for a downloadable game around 800MB, is pretty impressively built and generally fun to explore. Your first playthrough will easily be dedicated less to the missions at hand and more about just exploring each building and seeing what they have in them, then finding ridiculous weapons to murder zombies with. As a matter of fact, completing every single thing the game offers in your first playthrough, even with a guide, seems pretty impossible given the 14-hour-or-so time limit the game gives you before the military arrives.
All of the game mechanics from the first Dead Rising are in this game, although they are slightly more streamlined and the game is much better about letting you save in-between finished cases/missions. The amount of weapons in this small game alone is pretty staggering, somewhere between 40-60 that I was able to count, and all of those weapons serve their own purposes. Some old classics return, like the Queen, broadsword, chainsaw, and Servbot head. Meanwhile, most of the new weapons will come from the Weapon Combining system, which has you attaching drills to buckets in order to create a death-dealing helmet for zombies. Some of these combo weapons are just goofy (like a beer hat), and there aren't many in this game, but the ones that are available for creation typically seem useful and effective at slaughtering mass amounts of zed-heads.
All in all, there is literally no reason at all that you should pass Case Zero up. The game is $5.00 for download, and unlike most pre-order bonuses or anything else that would have you wasting $5.00 for a multiplayer beta or something ridiculous, this will allow you to carry over your progress into the full retail game of Dead Rising 2. You'd be starting at Lvl. 5 with six health bars, at least four combo cards, and a fistful of bloody vengeance. How in the hell can you NOT justify this purchase? Seriously, stop reading and go buy it already.