Chainsaws + Zombies = A Good Day

Dead Rising 2
Reviewed On
Available For

Chuck Greene is a man down on his luck. His wife died in the Las Vegas zombie outbreak. His daughter was bitten by none other than his wife after her zombification. Now Chuck has to give his daughter a drug known as Zombrex every single day to keep her from turning into a zombie too. That’s how Chuck found himself in Fortune City, competing in the reality show Terror is Reality to win money for his daughters’ medicine, which is very expensive. As if this wasn’t enough, there is a zombie outbreak in Fortune City and Chuck has been framed as the starter of it. Now he’ll have to clear his name all while finding Zombrex to give to his daughter.

If my attempt at an epic introduction to the game didn’t get my point across then I’ll just come out and say it. The story of Dead Rising 2 is a huge upgrade over the first game. Instead of just being in the outbreak to take photos you are there for a more a personal reason and this really helps the story feel that much more epic. The characters are interesting and the events keep you going to figure out why this outbreak happened.

Dead Rising 2 takes the old and well known formula of killing massive amount of zombies and mixes it up with a few new features, most notably the combo weapons.

To make combo weapons you are first going to need the combo card for that particular weapon. Combo cards can be obtained either by leveling up, examining posters, or given to you by NPC’s. Next you’ll have to track down the parts needed to create the weapon. The most basic of weapons, such as the spiked bat, are easy to get parts for, but there are other more powerful weapons that are going to be much harder to get (for example the Slicycle). Combo weapons vary greatly, but one thing remains true about them. They will save your butt more times than you or I would like to count.

Usually I wouldn’t compliment a game for removing a feature that was found in its predecessor, but this is a rare occasion. The cameraman aspect of Dead Rising did not carry over to Dead Rising 2. Now if any of you think this is a game killer then feel free to continue playing the first game, though you’ll have to miss out on all the combo weapons and other amazing changes in this game.

On the note of changes in the game there is one major one that I’m going to highlight. No longer will you have to take a call just to hear about a psycho that is running on the loose or holding someone hostage. Now the only calls that are classified as urgent are story based calls. The information instead comes in as a text which you can feel free to look at by pulling up the watch menu. Or if you want to balance multiple things at a time the first few events will be on the right side of the screen. Each one has a bar beside it showing the amount of time until the event can no longer be done. This is one of those prime examples about how a little tweak to the gameplay and interface can make a game incredibly more enjoyable.

Another small change that really makes a difference in the game is the AI. Survivors are no longer incredibly stupid. They listen well, will fight on their own, and don’t get lost while following you. Easily another great change from the first game.

Also once the game has been completed you can carry over your clear data into a new game. This allows you to retain your level and money that you earned in your first play through. This is great since you may not be willing to start a new game if you have to level up all over again. It gives that little kick that says "Yeah, I will play this game a second time."

Dead Rising 2 retains the first game’s sense of humor. Many of the psychopaths have ridiculous stories and battles. Example: A toy store mascot that wants to kill you because he had his first date that night and his girlfriend died in the outbreak. So of course you’ll have to kill him as he rolls around on skates and uses modified water guns to spay you with flames.

While this may not be something that many will notice, the game is filled with references to other Capcom titles and even the first Dead Rising. One of the more humorous one to me was that the movie theater has a poster up for MegaMan 2, while Dead Rising had a poster for MegaMan. It’s nothing major but as a fan of Capcom games I appreciated it.

The graphics in the game are the same as the first. So while they are good they aren’t anything that will amaze and stupefy. I’m not a graphics junkie so I’m ok with this. It’s still the same console as before so there isn’t really any reason to improve the quality of the already good graphics.

Also the sound effects in the game are accurate. If you tear through a person with a chainsaw then that is what it sounds like. You know, minus the screaming. (Which poses the question of why zombies don’t scream. They are willing to moan at you all day long, but can’t give a shout when they are being cut in two?)

The music for psycho battles is fast and intense. Keeping you one edge as you jump a wall to miss getting sliced up by the virgin with the giant pink chainsaw (Virgin and a giant pink chainsaw? Well at least it’s interesting). So while that is great I did find a lack of any other form of music in the game. It may not be a boss battle or anything but I’d like to have some kind of music to go with my slaughtering of zombies.

Overall the game is great. If you were a fan of the first game then you will want to pick this up and if you disliked the first game due to some of its problems, then I still implore you to pick it up. There isn’t a camera, isn’t that a sign of improvement?

Game reviewed on a PC with a copy distributed by CompuExpert.

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