Developer – Capcom
Release Date – September 28, 2010 (North America), September 24, 2010 (Europe)
Platform – PlayStation 3/PC/X360
Genre – Action/Adventure
Dead Rising 2 is a game I was born to review. As a lover of all things zombie, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. After my lackluster experience with the first Dead Rising, I at first could not care less about this release. But then I started to see the commercials: create your own weapons (chainsaws on motorcycles!?!) and a full-on co-op mode? I knew I had to give it another go. Thankfully, Dead Rising 2 did not disappoint me like the previous entry.
This time around you’re Chuck Greene, world-famous motocross star who has now taken to participating in the wildly-popular game show “Terror is Reality.” You see, the zombie outbreaks have become so commonplace after the events in the first Dead Rising that now zombies are used in a game show wherein the contestants try to be the one to kill the most zombies in order to win thousands of dollars. It’s not the most original idea, if you’ve ever read the zombie comic Deadworld, but it certainly is fun and you even get to participate in a multiplayer version of it (more on that later).
Can't a Man Get a Little Zombrex Up In This Shiznit?
Chuck has lost his wife and his daughter Katie has been infected with the zombie virus. He needs to compete in “Terror is Reality” to earn enough money to buy Katie some Zombrex (the wonder drug that wards off the zombified state of anyone bitten by a zombie) so she doesn’t turn into a shambling, flesh-craving zombie child. Apparently, motocross champions don’t have health insurance, so Chuck does what he has to. Soon enough, of course, the zombie hordes break free and swarm all over Fortune City – the humongous casino resort loosely based on Las Vegas.
Gameplay this time around is much the same as the first game, but slightly improved. Though you’ll still feel like you’re way overmatched against the zombies when you begin due to at-times awkward and unresponsive controls (and the occasionally zombie that appears to have coated its hand in Velcro), you will begin leveling up, learning new attacks, and sporting higher health and inventory slots in no time. By the time you reach the highest level (level 50), you’re a zombie-killing machine that hardly even needs the literally hundreds of weapons at your disposal around Fortune City. And oh, the weapons. The combo weapons are every bit as much fun as they sound. As long as you’re at a maintenance bench, you can slap together dozens of different combinations for more zombie-killing fun.
Zombies Just Won't Go Away (Don't They Have Jobs?)
The “arcade-ness” of the first game is what did me in on the first Dead Rising (constantly respawning zombies prevent you from clearing out safe zones for yourself), but it didn’t bother me in this one because everything else was just so darn good. While it’s true that zombies seem to spawn right behind you every time you turn around (and they do – often 5 or 10 feet behind you) and the clock is always ticking towards Katie’s next required dose of Zombrex, it helps to keep the feeling alive that no matter what you do you will never get rid of the undead menace – and that is what makes zombies so scary in the first place in my opinion.
Of course, no Dead Rising game would be complete without psychopaths. Apparently, zombie outbreaks cause many people to participate in some of the most bizarre behavior you could ever imagine despite being in constant danger of being devoured by ravenous undead. Psychopaths once again are the bosses and mini-bosses of Dead Rising, and they do not disappoint. Though your zombie-fighting moves are not as effective on these human psychopaths, you’ll still enjoy trying to figure out their patterns and picking the right weapon to take them down. At higher levels, however, you will burn right through them so easily it’s almost laughable.
If you’re a Trophy hunter like me, Dead Rising 2 will keep you busy for some time. Capcom is a company known for its difficult Trophies (and achievements on the Xbox 360), and they really pour it on here. Look to spend hours grinding away trying to kill 72,000 zombies in one playthrough, among other things. Thankfully, some of the Trophies take into account multiple playthroughs (and actually encourage you to do so, i.e. your character’s levels carry over through multiple playthroughs), though many do not. Having a friend along on co-op does make things a bit easier, however.
Get a Friend to Watch Your Back (and Your Juicy Flesh)
The multiplayer for Dead Rising 2 is a blast, the co-op mode in particular. Instead of inserting some ancillary character for your co-op partner to play, Dead Rising 2 gives you another Chuck Greene. While this may seem strange at first (and makes for some interesting quandaries when you think about the plot), it does keep with the arcade feeling of the game. Plus, both Chucks will likely be wearing different bizarre outfits so it’s just hilarious. Your outfits also carry over into the cut scenes – so make sure to wear something funny for the really dramatic ones. Wearing the banana hammock during “Overtime” is particularly fun. The only downside to co-op is that both players must remain in the same area and cannot split up – though the “areas” are quite large, to be fair. I also frequently experienced disconnection issues whenever I tried to save my game while playing co-op and the load times can be a bear.
Terror is Reality is the true multiplayer mode of this game, and although it feels a little tacked on it remains fun. You’re all essentially participating in American Gladiators-type zombie-killing mini-games, but the gameplay is significantly different than the main game. Matchmaking is also lacking, as it is nearly impossible to get into a ranked game with one of your friends.
All in all, I give Dead Rising 2 four out of five stars. It’s almost a perfect game, but the few problems mentioned above keep it from a flawless score.