All they wanna do is eat your brains
I hate zombies. Really, really hate them. I lost my family to them. Well, perhaps not… that may have been a TV show, but I still live in constant preparation of them. Every chance I get to pick up a game and go against them, I take it.
The review here isn’t just for Dead Rising 2, but also for Case Zero, and Case West, as they are all basically the same game, albeit with slight tweaks between them.
I think the way that Case Zero was released to serve as the demo for DR2 was an absolutely fantastic idea. To give people such a different story – so that they can play; and even pay for the demo; was a stroke of genius. The games had the same engine, and this served to keep me a lot more interested in the gameplay. I never do demos, mainly because I spend ages before I ever buy the game, and then have to replay everything. This new method is something I hope gets adopted by many more companies.
At first glance, Dead Rising 2 may seem very similar to the first game, with the biggest obvious change being that you are a different character, with Frank West being absent from the first game (although he does reappear in Case West) and replaced by Chuck Green: a motorcycle champ who is trying to save his daughter from turning through use of the anti-zombification medicine “Zombrex”. Zombrex proves to be one of the new mechanics of the game – although not having a huge affect on the gameplay, it does mean that you are required to find the medicine and administer it to your daughter; and some survivors; every 24 hours.
The main point of the games varies slightly though each of the iterations; in Case Zero you must find parts to repair your motorcycle and escape to Fortune City, In DR2 you need to find the truth behind the zombie outbreak, and in Case West you must find proof to clear your name; but in all 3 you are meant to save survivors from zombies. The simplicity of this being to kill the zombies around them, then basically arm them, and take them to a safe house. While wandering around you will come across various instruments which you can use in your battle against the zombies. Pretty much anything you come across can be picked up and used as a weapon, from 2x4s to fire-axes, shopping carts, footballs, and novelty masks, and that’s where the game’s biggest mechanic come in: Chuck’s handyman skills. Through the use of work-benches and a liberal amount of duct tape, Chuck can combine items to create more powerful weapons, ranging from a plate launcher to a rowing oar with chainsaws attached. This give a whole host of new possibilities, and also a lot of extra exploring to try and create all the possible items.
The story is driven through a series of time-based missions, which can be followed or ignored at the players whim. The time constraints, and the level to which they are followed combine to choose which of the multiple endings will be achieved on playthrough, with lower endings coming the more main story missions you drop. Of course, these missions aren’t the only ones and there are a huge number of side-quests to do while waiting for the next story mission – or at the same time if you’re feeling brave.
The third instalment; Case West; introduces a little extra help, by way of the return of Frank West. Frank will join Chuck, and follow you around to try and prove what really happened in Fortune City. Although this does little for the actual game it does bring the photography back (although only really for achievement purposes) it does mean you have permanent assistance against the undead hordes.
I honestly can’t think of any down sides to the game. I don’t believe anything has dropped from the first game, apart from the photography mechanic which I never really used. As character development goes, Chuck is great, and the change from photographer to handyman is a very welcome one, lending a lot more to the game. There are more than enough zombies to kill, and more than enough ways to do it, which satisfies me to no end. I’d recommend the game to any RPG fans, but more specifically, I’d recommend it greater to anyone who wants to help me rid the world of zombies.