By Willin 13 Comments
Have you actually looked at what Dead Rising represents?
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?
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.
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?
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.