Oh man, Zombies!
The original Dead Rising came out way back when the 360 first released. I played the hell out of it and really loved the game even with it's crazy time constraints and wicked save system. Upon hearing about a sequel around like 4 years later, I was a little doubtful that the new game could live up to the memory of the first and if this Xbox Live Arcade prequel taste is any indication of the sequel that'll come out in a few weeks, then I'm gonna purchase the game day one.
Zombie killing at it's very best Immediately after starting the game, I remembered why I loved the first one so much. You just go around killing zombies. Kill them nonstop in more ways than you can count. You kill them with just about anything you find lying around. This includes swinging handbags, chainsaws, broadswords, bow and arrows, rolled up newspapers, traffic cones, pitchforks, movie standups. . . . the list goes on and on. It's just fantastic zombie killing fun. Even though the zombies are the slow moving type, you definitely do get surrounded and surprise attacked in the back while you're doling out free zombie death. Oh, and the reason why you still get bit and grabbed is because there are a large amount of zombies. Zombies as far as the eye can see. I think you could literally kill around 250+ zombies running down a bock in the main street of this game.
The weapons are fun to use, and have the appropriate reactions from zombies Again, the best way is to just give examples so here goes. If you use a chainsaw, they'll cut into pieces wherever you hit em and same goes for the broadsword. A very satisfying attack is the jump attack w/the broadsword which brings the blade down straight and can cut a zombie straight down the middle from head to crotch if done right. Swinging away w/a baseball bat or a 2x4 also yeilds the reaction you would expect. Stumbling or flying backwards into other zombies and tumbling over. Oh man, I have no idea what exactly makes killing zombies so satisfying but they are definitely my favorite fodder type.
You can create crazy ass weapon combinations So the first game had you play as a journalist and you'd take cool pictures for points that gave you level upgrades and new moves and such. That's been replaced this game with a weapon creation system. A lot of items in the world have a wrench icon above them which means they can be combined with various other combinable items to make crazy new weapons that are extra damaging and give you mass points when you use them. Some examples are the drill bucket, which you get when you combine a drill, and a bucket. After you combine the two, you can plop it onto a zombies head and. . . well, you know. In this game there are only 8 or 9 combonations but they are all pretty cool and fun to use. I won't spoil any more of them since finding them are half the fun.
The story is actually interesting It's not anything super special but just that there's a story at all is pretty cool. You're some extreem sports star who's daughter has been infected by zombies and you need to give her a serum every 12 hours to keep her from turning. There's good character interaction and I like that there's a personal reason for doing all the things you are doing in the game.
I like the unforgiving save system I wouldn't say it's unforgiving exactly, but the way it works is, if you die, you can either load a previous save, and lose all the experience, money and other collectibles you've snagged since the save, or keep all that stuff and start the story mode over. In a short game like this, it doesn't really matter as much since you'll hit the max level within one play through so you don't have a lot of experience or anything like that to worry about but in Dead Rising 2, I'm sure the decision whether to continue playing from your last save, or starting over will be a more difficult decision. also, in the old game, you only had one save slot instead of 3 and that also made the choice a bit harder.
Saving survivors is still a chore, but much less so than in the first game For the most part, you can just run ahead of them all the way they need to get to and they'll follow with very low chance of any considerable harm befalling them on the way. Much better than the first game where you had to baby sit the hell out of them so they wouldn't die. They're not really that bad in this game but escort missions always rub me the wrong way.
Load times are a bit crazy This isn't exactly a complain and it might be specific to my Xbox, but the load times at the start of the game, or anytime I'm trying to save or load seems really long. Once you're in the world, it's non existent but whenever I go from the safehouse to the outside, there's some decent loading too. Just mentioning it.
The only thing I can think of that's a direct minus is just that it's not Dead Rising 2 It's a prequel type thing that sets up some story for the main game later this month and it just leaves me wanting more. Also, the level cap is 5 so there's not too much progression going on but it IS pretty cool that my level will carry over when I get the actual sequel. This is a pretty weak complaint though since the game was only 5 bucks and I got a lot of enjoyment out of it.
All in all, a fantastic game. I can't help but keep thinking of this game as a demo for the full on sequel but it's not and if it weren't attached to the other game it'd be a hell of an arcade title standalone. Also, I already mentioned it but it needs to be stated again that this thing is only five bucks. Games these days are costing way too much in XBLA with most being $15 to $20. I would easily have paid $10 and slightly resentfully have paid $15 to play this so that it was only $5 really makes me happy. Great game for a great price and at the very least, it'll let you know whether or not you'll like the full retail sequel coming out later on. I'm totally sold. The reason why I'm not rating this game higher is because even though it's got a solid amount of game time and a beginning and an end, I still can't shake the feeling that it feels like a demo. You can only hit lvl 5, and there's a limited amount of built weapons so even at this price, I can't go any higher even though I want to.