Dead Rising 2 (PS3) Review
Dead Rising 2 is the sequel to Capcom's popular 2006 zombie action-adventure survivor horror fest Dead Rising. Originally released in 2006 Dead Rising provided us with a sandbox game in which we played Frank West, a photojournalist trapped in a shopping mall within the fictional town of Willamette, Colorado. Unfortunately for our character the town had been overrun with zombies and it was up to him to survive the horror and discover what had caused the outbreak.
Set five years after the original, Dead Rising 2 paints a bleak picture. The zombie infection has now spread over the whole of the US with zombies occupying large parts of the country and we play as former national motocross champion Chuck Greene. Chuck lost his wife in the original outbreak in Willamette and now is the sole protector of his young daughter Katey. Unfortunately Katey was infected in an attack by her zombie mother and relies on regular doses of the infection suppressant Zombrex. (Available at all good pharmacies).
The game starts in the fictional setting of Fortune City (think Las Vegas with less class) as Chuck trys to earn some money by appearing in the massively popular TV game show 'Terror Is Reality'. The show challenges four players to kill as many zombies as possible with the one who kills the most taking away the prize money. In true zombie horror movie style the zombies caged for the show are soon on the loose and we are running for our life through the streets carrying Katey and looking for safe haven. Once we make it to a local defence shelter we have 72 hours to wait until the army shows up to save the day. Unfortunately we've run out of Zombrex for Katey, which she needs to take every 24hrs, and poor old Chuck seems to be being framed for releasing the zombies and causing the chaos.
So now we have 3 days to survive, find enough Zombrex to keep Katey from turning and clear our name before the army show up to arrest/shoot us. Whew.
The core storyline of Dead Rising 2 is progressed via a number of missions that we have to undertake. As with the original game we can earn both cash and Prestige Points by undertaking missions successfully and by rescuing survivors we find out and about on our travels. Cash can be spent on buying new items and Prestige Points are used as a form of 'experience points' to enhance Chuck's abilities and make him a better dispatcher of the undead.
One of the most unique points of the original game was the ability to turn almost anything into a weapon. Anything that isn't nailed down can be used to kill zombies. In Dead Rising 2 this is taken to a whole new level with the ability to combine items. For example, we can combine a canoe paddle with a couple of chainsaws to make a 'Paddlesaw' or an American football with a stick of dynamite, for the ultimate 'Hail Mary' play.
New in Dead Rising 2 is online co-op play. You can play online with friends, teaming up with a pal to take on the zombie apocalypse. Alternatively you can actually play the game within the game 'Terror Is Reality' online. We can take on 3 other players online in the various gladiator-type games available in the fictitious TV show.
In terms of controls, the layout used on Dead Rising 2 is straightforward to master. On the PS3 edition we had for our review the left analogue stick controlled movement while the right controlled the camera. Chuck always moves forward the way the camera is facing so it's very easy to turn quickly or bob and weave through groups of zombies. The combat and item controls are accessed from the usual square, circle, triangle and cross buttons with the shoulder buttons providing access to vehicle controls. Overall it felt very natural to manoeuvre Chuck through the hordes of zombies and it didn't take us long until we were able to escape quickly or take down a larger groups of undead in fun and unique ways.
The original Dead Rising limited the number of zombies on screen to several hundred. With Dead Rising 2 Capcom has bumped up the graphics engine considerably and now several thousand zombies can be seen. This increase in the number of onscreen zombies really makes a difference. When we are able to look out over the city and see the sheer number of zombies shuffling around it really adds to the chaotic feeling of the game.
Up close the zombies look as gruesome as ever and of course when we start to dispatch them the blood really starts to flow. It doesn't take much for Chuck to be dripping in zombie blood, which we're sure can't be hygienic. Given the amount of blood, gore and body parts flying around it isn't difficult to see why this game has an 18 rating.
The environment is beautifully realised, with lots of detail visible. The design of Fortune City is, without doubt, taken from Las Vegas however the garish surroundings of nightclubs and casinos mixed with the malls and parks of modern day US provide a wide variety of backdrops.
The voice acting in Dead Rising 2 is good, without being Shakespeare. The characters are all believable, if they do tend to fit into their stereotypes a little easily. The cut scenes are very watchable and do build the story very effectively.
While out and about in Fortune City the ever present moaning of zombies ensure you never forget how close they are and there are also many other audio queues that absorb us into the game.
Dead Rising 2 builds on the original very well with more environments to explore, more missions to undertake and many more zombies to kill.
At its heart this game is all about killing zombies, it is a simple premise which is very well executed. The storyline is engaging, the missions are interesting / challenging and there is nothing more exciting than taking down a street full of zombies with two chainsaws and a motorbike.
Grab the pizza's and beer... turn off the lights and have a whole heap of fun. Dead Rising 2 is out today on PS3 and XBOX 360 and is available in standard or special editions. PC owners can pick up the game from October 1st 2010.
||Engaging storyline with many more missions than the original game. Combo weapons kept us thinking for hours about new and unusual ways to kill zombies.
||1000s of zombies on screen and buckets of blood, oh, and the background is rich and detailed as well.
||Voice acting is good and the background sounds of the zombies keep us on our toes.
||With the addition of online co-op play and multiplayer 'Terror Is Reality' in addition to many more missions than the original the lifespan of Dead Rising 2 is much extended.
(Not an Average)
||Zombie kill-a-thon with an engaging storyline and large sandbox environment. What's not to like?