|PS3 / XBOX 360||USA|
By Spencer . October 11, 2010 . 7:29pm
When I sat down to play Dead Rising 2, I remembered my chat with Producer Shin Ohara. "Zombies in Dead Rising is they are not something you have to fear, but something you play with… you pick up a weapon, go to them, and you want to test out that new weapon." Ohara said during our interview. That about sums up the direction of Dead Rising 2.
Dead Rising 2 uses the same timed case structure as Dead Rising. Instead of getting the scoop of a lifetime, Chuck Greene has to clear his name. Someone framed him for the zombie outbreak in Fortune City, a Las Vegas-like amusement town with casinos and a mall. He and his daughter Katey escape to a safe house, but Chuck can’t rest and wait for the military to evacuate survivors. Katey needs a dose of Zombrex, a medicine that keeps her from turning into a zombie, every 24 hours. The only way to get the drug is walking into the zombie overrun city. Stacey, a member of the zombie rights group C.U.R.E., watches Chuck’s daughter and scans the security cameras for survivors. When she finds someone in need of rescuing she sends a message to Chuck’s walkie talkie and players have a limited amount of time to return the call. Dead Rising 2 has an investigative reporter too. Rebecca is searching for the truth behind the outbreak and she may find it if you can solve the cases on time.
Aside from the absence of photography, the key difference between Dead Rising and Dead Rising 2 is the combo weapon system. Workshops with tools and plenty of duct tape are spread out in Fortune City. Chuck can create new zombie killing devices here by placing the right combination of items. Sorry, it’s not freeform so you won’t be able to make that chainsaw sword or fire spitting Servbot head you’ve been dreaming of. A spiked bat created from a baseball bat and nails is the most basic combo weapon. When Chuck swings this he can kill most zombies with one hit. The bat has decent range too, which makes it good for crowd control. Using combo weapons gives Chuck more prestige points, basically Dead Rising’s form of experience points, so he can become a zombie killing machine faster. Dead Rising 2 doesn’t give players a list of weapons they can make. Players have to experiment or find combo cards by killing psychopaths or leveling up. In addition to revealing a recipe, combo cards also unlock a weapon’s special attack and double the amount of prestige points earned.
Workshops are generously designed with enough items nearby to make one or two combo weapons. Going back to what Ohara said as soon as you make a weapon, whether its the zombie slicing Paddlesaw or Dynameat, you’ll want to try it out to see what it does. Dynameat, by the way, is quite amusing to see. Blue Castle Games also filled levels with offbeat novelty weapons like a moose head that you can use to ram into zombies, footballs, lizard masks, and giant stuffed elephants. While these aren’t always effective they’re fun to taunt zombies with.
One-on-one Chuck has no problems turning the living dead into the dead again. However, compared to Dead Rising, zombies are more aggressive in Dead Rising 2. They lunge at Chuck more often and surround him if stands in one spot for too long. Being braindead, zombies aren’t smart enough to use guns, if they have them, or any equipped weapons. Zombies also attack survivors less frequently. As long as Chuck keeps running and yelling at his train of survivors to follow him, the zombies leave the group alone. There are some survivors Chuck has to carry to the safe house, but I was rarely attacked even while walking piggybacking a zombie meal. It feels like Capcom tweaked Dead Rising 2 to make the escort missions less frustrating than the last game.
Psychopaths, twisted humans that would rather kill survivors than have Chuck save them, bring more of a challenge. These are like boss battles, but most of them are optional. The game marks these fights with an "examine" icon before entering a room, a heads up that you’re about to take on a trained killer. Defeating a psychopath nets Chuck a good amount of PP and often a combo card. Psychopaths have patterns reminiscent of 16-bit games – attack, change position, attack, and sometimes disappear off-screen. Once you figure out the pattern or come loaded with guns and mixed drinks like nectar or painkillers, psychopaths aren’t too bad.
The clock is perhaps the real "enemy" in Dead Rising 2. It’s easy to miss a survivor or save when there isn’t enough time to solve a case while playing with a fire shooting water gun. Chuck has to give Zombrex to Katey every 24 hours to keep the story moving forward. The zombie turning suppressor can be found lying around Fortune City and it’s a reward for saving some survivors. Searching for Zombrex takes time, but thanks to the online mode you don’t have to scour the city for Zombrex. Play a few rounds of Terror is Reality online and you’ll have enough money to buy a truck full of Zombrex. Pawn shops sell the drug for a starting price of $25,000. The amount goes up after each purchase, but earning $25,000 is possible even from a single losing match of Terror is Reality. The clock freezes when you play online too, so Chuck magically comes back to his game loaded. Getting a perfect file will take multiple runs, but earning the "S" ending can be done during a first playthrough. You just can’t spend as much time playing with the never ending swarm of zombies.