perryvandell's Dead Rising: Case Zero (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

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Dead Rising 2: Case Zero Review

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is a gruesome, gory, bloody pile of value. There are those who would call it a "paid demo" but  all that is really saying is they haven't picked up the game and played it themselves, because within the first 20 minutes you will find that Case Zero is a greatly satisfying stand alone title. And for five bucks, it's practically a steal. 
I should probably put that first paragraph in perspective. You will be greatly satisfied by Case Zero, if you enjoyed the first Dead Rising. One thing that's immediately apparent is how much the developers stick with the largely controversial style of the first game. There are still escort missions, you still have to watch the clock, and there still isn't an autosave system, so if Dead Rising wasn't your cup of tea, chances are Case Zero won't change your mind. This isn't to say that they didn't fix anything from the first game. You now have three save slots, allowing you to go back to your previous save in case you did something wrong or you missed something, something you couldn't do in the first game. This is a welcome addition, and should save some frustration. 

     The Boomstick, a favorite among farmers. 
     The Boomstick, a favorite among farmers. 

Case Zero has you playing as Chuck Greene, an ex motocross champ who has seen better days, trying to get himself and his daughter, Katey, to the newly rebuilt Las Vegas, now known as Fortune City. Of course things don't go exactly as planned, leaving Chuck and Katey stranded in a remote desert town known as Still Creek. The rest of the game consists of Chuck desperately searching for a new ride, as well as the experimental drug known as Zombrex, which is the only thing that's keeping is little girl from becoming a brain muncher herself. It's a well-told, heart-felt story and you end up really caring about what happens to Chuck and his daughter. 
Don't worry though, Case Zero is just as visceral and hilariously gruesome as the first game. You'll be spending the next 3-5 hours saving crazy survivors of all shapes and sizes, wearing ridiculous outfits, and of course doing awful awful awful things to zombies. The rpg style upgrades system is back, where most of your actions are fueled by your lust for precious pp that transforms your character from a slow weakling who can only carry four items at a time, into a one-man zombie obliterating army. However, the way you gather pp has changed. Instead of snapping photos of zombies mauling people or upskirts of FBI agents, you now gain experience by killing zombies with special weapons you make by combining two different items at a work bench, the results of which are truly creative and satisfying. The item-combination feature adds a whole new layer of ridiculousness that makes Case Zero all the more enjoyable. 

Zombies aren't the only things you'll be fighting... 
Zombies aren't the only things you'll be fighting... 

Case Zero isn't perfect however, as there are quite a few different technical issues. Frame rate drops, some bad textures, and "odd" animations are only some of the things you will find while playing. None of the issues are game-breaking, but they're tough to overlook. The game is also pretty short, leaving you with just enough time to get to know the characters and the combat system. Luckily you have the options of restarting the game with your current level and item-combinations letting you explore everything you may have missed during your previous play through (and you will have missed something). 
Case Zero could have easily became a paid demo, and nothing more. But it's quite obvious that the developers put some hard work into this game and made it what most demos tried to be but never achieved: a game that provides a fun, engaging experience that leaves you just satisfied enough to readily wait for the full game. And for five bucks, what more could you ask for?

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