Dead Rising 2 review
Chop Till Ya Drop

The good:

Fortune City
Combo Weapons
RPG Elements
Boss Fights
Asston of Zombies
Online Capabilities
Multiple Slave Slots!

The bad:

The Plot is very predictable
Voice Acting can be downright dreadful
No Photography Mode
No Infinity Mode
Load Times curse yee!


Now before I move forward into the meat and bones of this review let me take you back in time 5 years when the original dead rising dropped. The year is 2006 and Dead Mans Chest is making a killing at the box office, and zombies have not yet reached their level of popularity across all media through the likes of Call of Duty, Zombieland, or The Walking Dead. Hell in fact during this time zombies are a bit of a rarity in the mainstream video game landscape appearing more often than not in capcoms own resident evil series.

So then it came as a pleasant surprise that during the dry Summer months Capcom releases a game featuring zombies in it, that is not under the Resident Evil Banner. Dead Rising releases and as a longtime fan of everything undead from the Romero classics, Evil Dead, 28 days later, to Shaun of the Dead it comes as little surprise that the game has me captivated despite some obvious faults and developmental misgivings. So 5 years later after battling Nazi Zombies, being left 4 dead twice, saving Africa (or whatever the hell it is I did in RE5), blowing the undead to bits in the Wild West, fighting off reanimated corpses who are possessed by Aliens, and yes even fighting zombies off the front lawn using an adorable armament of plants, am I (and are you) ready for some more hot zombie action?

The answer for me is a resounding "Hells Yeah!", although first things first; if you did not like the original Dead Rising, the sequel is not going to change your mind, as the basic premise remains the same. You have 3 days to survive a zombie apocalypse using any and everything at your disposal, while helping out survivors, killing psycopaths, and if you'd like doing the occassional story mission. Things still run on a clock, meaning certain missions or sidequests are only available at certain time intervals. Blue Castle certainly didn't retool the engine, or modify the body so to speak in an attempt to capture an untapped audience. They did the equivilant of simply slapping on a new coat of paint, although in my opinion it looks pretty damn good.

Now lets start off with one of the weaker aspects of the game: the story. Chuck Greene is a former Motorcross superstar who's wife was killed (or zombified) during a fairly recent zombie outbreak that also resulted in his daughter being infected with the disease and Chuck needing to get her a daily dose of an expensive drug called zombrex to keep her healthy. To do so he competes in Terror is Reality a gameshow where the contestants- you guessed it kill zombies. If that was the whole story I might've enjoyed it as a dad going to great extremes to protect his kid is a timeless and powerful tale, that has been used to base many epic stories around.(see The Road) However Chuck is framed for the outbreak that occurs and all the major plot points that occur after the first 15 minutes including who the final baddie is are telegraphed from a mile away. If you've ever played a video game before, you can probably tell almost exactly what it is that's going to transpire once you've been introduced to the central cast of characters.

Continuing with the bad, so that the good will sound even sweeter to your ears, voice acting in the game, varies wildly in quality. While our hero Chuck is voiced compentently (when not spouting cheesey one liners), several of the people he encounters seem to of been voiced by actors who thought they were doing the english dub of some anime show. The worst offenders are the reporter Rebecca, and the terror of reality twins, who's stilted performances only serve to make they're innuendo's jarring instead of humorous.

And likely to sadden all those who played the first, Chuck doesn't even make the attempt to capture any of the carnage on film, and the infinity mode that challenged us all to come up with our very best zombie defense plans, is nowhere to be found. While none of these things are integral to the Dead Rising expereience the fact that they are missing is curious, and bound to be dissapointing to all of those who picked up the original. And to top it all of even after installing the game it still had load times, that are likely to have most other modern games laughing and pointing at it. Seriously it's hard to get immersed in the game when every single time you enter a new area, your greeted with a 10-15 second load screen.

However when DR2 hits, it hits hard. Creating a lightsaber out of a flash light and gems to cut down a chainsaw wielding psychotic virgin Gimp stand out as a personal highlight of mine. The highly touted combo weapon system isn't as flexible as it might want you to believe but I had a blast looking for what two weapons could be combined into one super ass kicking tool. And speeking of psycho's the boss battles are some of the hardest I've seen in a maintstream game in recent memory. They evoke the sense of old school bosses where once you figure out their patterns, it's all about the timing. Shout out to the final boss of the "main" game who after 5 tries I finally took down with only half a block of health left and no food items in my inventory. It's been a while since a game has given me such a sense of satisfaction for toppling it's baddies.

The RPG elements of the series should also be championed, shallow as they are. As your guy kills zombies, saves survivors, and kills bosses you gain experience untill you eventually level up. Leveling up gives you extra attack damage, more health, extra inventory slots, etc. While you can't distribute your points, meaning decide how you want to level up and when, it gives you a sense of satisfaction to hop online and see your friend struggling to get through a room of zombies, where as you can easily sweep the leg before powerbombing them through planeglass window. Chuck Greene=Zombie Killer of the Year for 2010.

Multiplayer is a little lackluster compared to modern standards but fans of the genre should find plently to love. TIR pits you in events based off the "show" such as slicecylces, rollerball, and others. Online co-op allows you to join in or host a two player co-op session. Not exactly deal-makers, but considering that most of your time will likely be spent in the single player they didn't need to be. Both are just their in case you want something different, or in the case of co-op want to see how much carnagae you and a friend can cause.

While I personally love the game, I can see many being put off by it's constrictive style, and even losing some old fans as it took out two fanfavorite features. The game also appears to be afraid to tread new ground as many of the bossess have very obvious counterparts in the last game, and the whole game seems to feel like an extension instead of an evolution to the Dead Rising brand. However for those of us who wish nothing more than to live out our fantasies as a badass zombie slayer, Dead Rising 2 has us covered.

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