A marvellous value of content that also happens to be really fun!
Dead Rising 2 - Case Zero is a prototype of sorts. It labels itself as a demo, though it hardly matchs the criteria of what a demo gives you - least not in this current timeline of demo's. For starters you'll have to pay to play this demo, but not only are you getting more than your money's worth it's an excellent bonus to it all being of exceptionally high quality and riotously fun for a downloadable game.
Dead Rising 2 - Case Zero (better known as just Case Zero) is still a sequel to the original 2006 Xbox 360 hit, Dead Rising, but at the same time a prequel to the upcoming Dead Rising 2. Set two years after Dead Rising and three years before Dead Rising 2; the game puts the player in the stylish yellow sneakers of Chuck Greene, the upcoming protagonist for the full Dead Rising 2 game. A zombie outbreak (spoilers?!) has broken out in Fortune City - a basic Las Vegas Mimic - forcing Chuck and his daughter Katey to flee to where ever safety awaits. The unfortunate catch is that Chuck's four year old daughter is infected with the zombification virus. He's been able to keep the virus from spreading thanks to an experimental, and not to mention expensive, drug called Zombrex. She must take a dose regularly every twelve hours still, otherwise she will die, and predictably turn into one of the shambling undead.
The storyline starts here and essentially stays here for its two to three hour long duration. The story may not really stretch beyond its premise but trying to keep your daughter away from the brain munching urges is certainly enough motivation to play through and aim for the best ending.
And then there's also the even stronger pull to play of killing zombies.
Case Zero is much like a zombie bite sized chunk of classic Dead Rising design and gameplay. Controlling Chuck, who starts off really quite sluggish in movement with little in the way of skills to masterfully massacre the zombie horde, you are able to use nearly every item you find on your screen as a deadly (Or least comically useless) weapon. The game is set in the small town of Still Creek and a large majority of the sizeable town is open for you to explore at your leisure. There'll even be some survivors to try and rescue or help out, aswell, giving Chuck quite a large list of top priorities. Then there's all the trivial, if possibly not more important, tasks of trying out silly costumes, creating as many magical drinks as you can with bacon, to also creating your very own improvised combo-vised weapons.
The costumes only add a cosmetic effects while the drinks may alter plenty of strange variables in the game from all zombies ignoring you like you're made of rotten tofu to Chuck even being able to spit out fire. The improvised weapon combinations is where the game really pulls some of its best tricks, though.
Minor Note: Maybe Tofu isn't the best simile to describe the zombies potential distaste towards Chuck.
Thanks to Chuck's skills with mechanics, from his previous occupation as a stunt rider who built his own motor bikes, he can muscle up plenty of absurd weapons with a couple of otherwise not-too-lethal weapons. Or more often one incredibly lethal one with the other being a pacifist's weapon of choice. There'll be the standard Nails + Bat = Bat with Nails, Whiskey + Paper = Molotov, but it'll also go to such hilarious heights as having a chainsaw + Paddle = Paddle Saw! One of the best, and toughest to eventually obtain, is a shotgun mixed with a pitchfork.
Just like the original Dead Rising, too, Chuck may level up through PP (Deadish Rising for EXP). Frank West, the ogre-ish protagonist from Dead Rising was to use his camera to gain the larger chunks of his PP, through photos, to rise through the ranks of zombie massacrer. Chuck not being a photographer instead creates those aforementioned custom house hold weapons to swipe, stab, shock and...drill...the undead for some serious PP scorin'. There's also a nice sum awarded everytime you kill 50 zombies. The PP attainment is a slow burn, however, and will more than likely require at least two playthrough's to reach the maximum level 5. And you'll certainly want to level up ASAP as each level awards Chuck a random perk or upgrade be it a new melee attack or extra health, inventory space or movement speed. Like the original (seeing a pattern here) to really get the most fun out of the game is to just spam zombies with your custom created weapons until you reach level 5 then really try your darnedest to get yourself the ''True'' ending from another playthrough, now made more convenient with having some extra tricks up Chucks sleeves to deal with the blockade of undead.
Overall, the game gives a huge assortment of tasks to undertake. The twist is, much like the original, Chuck has a deadline. There's the initial worry of finding Zombrex for dear, plainly textured Katey but soon the Military (MORE SPOILERS!?) get involved and Chuck is to quickly find a means of escape before they arrive and will undoubtedly take Katey away for testing. As such the game's playthrough's are all relatively short, again taking up to maybe two or three hours depending on just what you decide to get out of the way during your said time limit.
So yes, this game is stacked with content. Content that is pretty varied, awards exploration, experimentation and just incredibly fun to play through for many more hours than a single playthrough can give. All at its heart stopping price of 400 MSP!
The content's production values are hardly slouching behind, either. The graphics are generally rather decent, with plenty of gory dismemberments and fluid animations. The textures are best shrugged over - not too awful but nothing that you'll want to praise in a review for. The voice acting is serviceable with some cheesy one liners from Chuck and an surprisingly not so annoying performance through the daughter of said Cheesy Chuck. There's not much soundtrack to go with, besides the awesome techno metal track that plays during the games single Psycho boss encounter. Technically it holds up as well as you'd hope, too. Despite having a potentially terrifying, or drool inducing, amount of zombies on screen at once the game still holds up perfectly with a steady frame rate. There have been mentions of multiple bugs including the game not loading, save corruption and the like but with my playtime I haven't encountered any of the like, fortunately.
This demo...(really?) is a huge bench mark CAPCOM have placed for demo's and DLC in general, with a satisfying amount of fun content all for a modest price. And even if you still feel the price could potentially be a waste, there's always the Trail version to try out an even smaller zombie bite sized chunk of the game out. Yes, that's right. A demo for a demo. Welcome to the future!