Dead Rising 2: Society Breaking Down or Parody of Culture?

 

                                                                                                 Have you actually looked at what Dead Rising represents?
 

 "Daddy, why are you wearing a dress with a football helmet on?"

Looking at this game with shallow eyes you might just see what the game is at the barest level, crazy zombie game with funny ways to kill and murder people. But since finishing Dead Rising 2 I have been thinking what Dead Rising represents to the player, what is its purpose, what is its message? To tell you the truth I do not know. I don't even think Keiji Inafune or Blue Castle knows. It does things that complement game mechanics like the combat and the weapon crafting system but also contradicts its themes, for example, the scene Katey falls unconscious after a dose of Zombrex or the scene in which one of the twins kills herself due to her sister's death. Now in a scene as compelling as that (for Dead Rising 2's standards) wouldn't you feel absolutely nothing if Chuck was wearing a hula girl dress, knight helm and SWAT boots. Would you just be laughing at the sheer madness happening on screen with no one even reacting? Why would you put in something that contradicts something so much that it’s falls completely flat?
 


 When one of the most likeable characters is a mascot that tries to kill you with 2 flamethrowers, something is wrong.

Dead Rising 2 has some pretty amazing moments in it. I felt pity in Slappy's death cut scene when Slappy finally asks the girl of his dreams to a date in Heaven and he'll 'be there soon’ as he dies next to her. But once again Dead Rising 2 shoves its contradicting knee into your spine when Slappy suddenly jumps up and screams at the top of his presumably failing lungs. Again completely ruins one of the most compelling scenes in the game but awkwardly shoving it odd sense of humour in a scene that didn't need it. 
 
My issue is that Dead Rising 2 doesn't need to do that. It already has some pretty crazy events and scenes which play out very well. Most of the psychopath death scene are either filled with extreme irony (mall cop being twice the man Chuck is, literally) or unnecessary awesome gore (Magician assistant get his revenge with a big ass knife). This is just cut scene as the actual gameplay can just be as crazy if not more so. 
 

 Boobs and Zombies, my two favorite things.

One theme I didn't think was need at all was the sexualised nature of the female protagonists, particularly   Rebecca Chang. It’s seems like every scene she is in she hasabout 3 shots of her showing off her ‘assets’ and it was really off putting. This makes no sense to me in any way, shape or form. Chuck is not romantically involved withanyone in the game or even hints at that so the shots don’t represent Chuck frustrated libido so it seems like the only reason these shots exist is to show of the hot sexybig breasted character model (which don’t even look super impressive). These kinds of shots were in the original Dead Rising but this was in my mind at least to show the player the erotica photo op option in the game but in Dead Rising 2 it makes no sense.

 

So in the end what does Dead Rising 2 represent? Does it represent the struggles of society when put under an amazing amount of stress? Does it represent the humour and culture of a stereotypical Las Vegas setting seen in so many TV shows movies and books? Does it represent violence hunger culture in which gaming is slowly becoming? Is it just a stupid game in which people just threw ideas in a computer and printed it on disc? Am I analysing something way to much of a game I should just enjoy?

 

 Despite its issues it's still an awesome game.

I think it is all of these things and none of these things. It is a game with so much going on you are only going to give focus to. If you like the utter madness of a Frank West as Mega Man shooting at a duel chainsaw fighting clown do you leave the story with little attention as possible or just skip the cut scenes entirely? Do you just wear the default motocross jacket on you Chuck Greene because you want to have a ‘realistic’ experience and avoid the stupid weapons and costumes?

  
This is why I think Dead Rising 2’s themes are an interesting experiment in entertainment in general. It appeals to certain people with sections of the game completely dedicated to a theme and adds bits and pieces of other themes to keep things interesting. It is the game you wanted it to be, whether it’s the insane Japan crazy zombie beat-em-up or the survival simulator or the big giant escort quest.

 

You will be hard to find a person who doesn’t like an aspect of Dead Rising.

14 Comments
14 Comments
Posted by Willin

 

                                                                                                 Have you actually looked at what Dead Rising represents?
 

 "Daddy, why are you wearing a dress with a football helmet on?"

Looking at this game with shallow eyes you might just see what the game is at the barest level, crazy zombie game with funny ways to kill and murder people. But since finishing Dead Rising 2 I have been thinking what Dead Rising represents to the player, what is its purpose, what is its message? To tell you the truth I do not know. I don't even think Keiji Inafune or Blue Castle knows. It does things that complement game mechanics like the combat and the weapon crafting system but also contradicts its themes, for example, the scene Katey falls unconscious after a dose of Zombrex or the scene in which one of the twins kills herself due to her sister's death. Now in a scene as compelling as that (for Dead Rising 2's standards) wouldn't you feel absolutely nothing if Chuck was wearing a hula girl dress, knight helm and SWAT boots. Would you just be laughing at the sheer madness happening on screen with no one even reacting? Why would you put in something that contradicts something so much that it’s falls completely flat?
 


 When one of the most likeable characters is a mascot that tries to kill you with 2 flamethrowers, something is wrong.

Dead Rising 2 has some pretty amazing moments in it. I felt pity in Slappy's death cut scene when Slappy finally asks the girl of his dreams to a date in Heaven and he'll 'be there soon’ as he dies next to her. But once again Dead Rising 2 shoves its contradicting knee into your spine when Slappy suddenly jumps up and screams at the top of his presumably failing lungs. Again completely ruins one of the most compelling scenes in the game but awkwardly shoving it odd sense of humour in a scene that didn't need it. 
 
My issue is that Dead Rising 2 doesn't need to do that. It already has some pretty crazy events and scenes which play out very well. Most of the psychopath death scene are either filled with extreme irony (mall cop being twice the man Chuck is, literally) or unnecessary awesome gore (Magician assistant get his revenge with a big ass knife). This is just cut scene as the actual gameplay can just be as crazy if not more so. 
 

 Boobs and Zombies, my two favorite things.

One theme I didn't think was need at all was the sexualised nature of the female protagonists, particularly   Rebecca Chang. It’s seems like every scene she is in she hasabout 3 shots of her showing off her ‘assets’ and it was really off putting. This makes no sense to me in any way, shape or form. Chuck is not romantically involved withanyone in the game or even hints at that so the shots don’t represent Chuck frustrated libido so it seems like the only reason these shots exist is to show of the hot sexybig breasted character model (which don’t even look super impressive). These kinds of shots were in the original Dead Rising but this was in my mind at least to show the player the erotica photo op option in the game but in Dead Rising 2 it makes no sense.

 

So in the end what does Dead Rising 2 represent? Does it represent the struggles of society when put under an amazing amount of stress? Does it represent the humour and culture of a stereotypical Las Vegas setting seen in so many TV shows movies and books? Does it represent violence hunger culture in which gaming is slowly becoming? Is it just a stupid game in which people just threw ideas in a computer and printed it on disc? Am I analysing something way to much of a game I should just enjoy?

 

 Despite its issues it's still an awesome game.

I think it is all of these things and none of these things. It is a game with so much going on you are only going to give focus to. If you like the utter madness of a Frank West as Mega Man shooting at a duel chainsaw fighting clown do you leave the story with little attention as possible or just skip the cut scenes entirely? Do you just wear the default motocross jacket on you Chuck Greene because you want to have a ‘realistic’ experience and avoid the stupid weapons and costumes?

  
This is why I think Dead Rising 2’s themes are an interesting experiment in entertainment in general. It appeals to certain people with sections of the game completely dedicated to a theme and adds bits and pieces of other themes to keep things interesting. It is the game you wanted it to be, whether it’s the insane Japan crazy zombie beat-em-up or the survival simulator or the big giant escort quest.

 

You will be hard to find a person who doesn’t like an aspect of Dead Rising.

Posted by owl_of_minerva

I think the beauty of Dead Rising is that it appeals to the player on multiple levels and actually contains some interesting themes if examined closely. I would argue that the sexual component has a point: it's part of representing the excessiveness of American consumer culture and the media, in relation to sex and violence. It is also taking the themes from the first game and in a spirit of fun exaggerating it. Also, keep in mind that both the Twins and R. Chang use their sexuality in different ways to try to manipulate Chuck, even if he is faithful to his dead wife.
 
Anyways, some themes in Dead Rising: a) critique of American consumer capitalism, runs through both games pretty evidently. b) critique of the media, the moral ambiguity of "covering wars", being an observer rather than a direct participant., reality TV. c) corporations and ethics: numerous instances of companies operating outside all ethical constraints.
 
As for the appeal of the games, that's a much harder question to answer. For some, it will be the fact that they can just 'play' in the mall space, creating carnage and chaos without having to follow broader objectives. Or it might be an interest in the story and characters. I think at least in part because it gives us the option to play in/take control of consumerist environments where we are all, except for the extremely wealthy, disempowered. It might also be that, due to the breakdown of society and norms, we can now indulge in our malice towards other people: time to kill our neighbours, etc. Also, perhaps there's an elitist dimension - the slow shuffling masses as opposed to the survivor elite who were smart or resourceful or strong enough to survive.

Edited by Diamond

Yea, don't read if you haven't beaten it :
 

Posted by Yummylee

I think you've looked into this alot more than CAPCOM could ever be bothered to.

Posted by Raineko

That part when Slappy dies and at the end jumps up again was a really unfunny and unnecessary thing indeed lol 
 
Anyways I don´t care so much about the story actually, especially the psychopaths don´t make so much sense. It´s really just a game for the lulz.

Posted by Brodehouse

I like the idea of this topic.

Edited by Deathpooky
@Diamond: That's pretty much it.  I was wondering after playing DR:CZ if they'd try to go more serious after having the father/daughter protective relationship established.  They established characters that you might care more about and themes that could be explored, but in the end it's mostly just gross stereotypes, insanity, violence, and the barest of plots holding it all together.  Its a extreme pastiche of American culture viewed from an outsider perspective.
 
If you want an actual good satire using zombie outbreak as its vehicle, read World War Z.  Great book. 
 
ETA: And I'd say, when I started the game I almost took it seriously and thought dressing Chuck up or screwing around would be strange and detract from the experience.  But you quickly realize that you can't take the game seriously and it doesn't want to be taken seriously.
Edited by kelbear

It feeds off the original idea from "Dawn of the Dead" which was the inspiration for the Dead Rising franchise that human beings share characteristics of zombies. Thoughtlessness, single-mindedness, gluttony, consumer=zombie, etc.
 
The point has been made already, and there's no subtlety left since there's no message to convey anymore.  
 
Dude, it's a just a game.  
 
That said, I play in the default outfit because I don't like breaking the cutscenes with a crazy outfit. Maybe in a second play through.

Posted by I_smell

I like the weird characters and I like bizzare scenes like that TIR green guy setting himself on fire n shit.
I just wish they didn't have such B-movie dialogue cos then I'd really be into it.

Posted by LordXavierBritish

Dead Rising 2 is a parody of commentary on movies that commentate by parodying.

Posted by A_Faceless_Name

Oddly, I use my TiR jacket from multiplayer, and I change his shoes all the time, and added sunglasses. On my game that is all I have done. When I co-op, I put on every stupid thing I can find.
 
I think this game does add a facet to consumerism I haven't heard talked about. Gambling addiction. Even in death some of the people still sit at the slot machine and don't quit.

Posted by Rolyatkcinmai

I was wearing the Blanka mask the first time I gave Zombrex to Katie. It was the most terrifying and hysterical cutscene I've witnessed since Saints Row 2.

Posted by A_Faceless_Name
@Rolyatkcinmai said:
" I was wearing the Blanka mask the first time I gave Zombrex to Katie. It was the most terrifying and hysterical cutscene I've witnessed since Saints Row 2. "
 
Two fun games that embrace the crazy. I want them to crossover. Man that would be a trip. Katana wielding pimp zombies.
Posted by RsistncE

Zombie movies in general (at least the originals by George Romero) were meant to symbolize society in that we're all just becoming a bunch of mindless zombies. In fact there's where the idea for the mall setting comes from for so many zombie movies; consumer culture is at it's height in a shopping mall. Also: