Dead Rising 2 Review (PC)

Developer – Blue Castle Games

Publisher – Capcom

Release Date – 28th September 2010

An improvement to the original in many ways but still not perfect.

The first Dead Rising was released in August 2006, early in the XBOX360 lifecycle. It was a more comedic take on a zombie horror genre, popular for its freeform combat where you could pickup anything in the level to take out zombies. It was produced by Keiji Inafune, the legendary creator of the Megaman series, who returns for the sequel along with many of the original staff. However the main development team for the game was tasked to Vancouver based game development studio Blue Castle Games, who previously developed The Bigs line of baseball games for 2K games.

The first game had a lot of quirks in terms of controls and game play which for the most part have been fixed but there is still room for improvement. The game retains the ticking clock gameplay where you have a finite amount of time to complete missions and it is game over if you are late. And like the first there is no autosaving or checkpointing but this time there are multiple save slots and more locations to save. I have come to accept this game design choice as it makes for a different experience than other games, as there much more is at stake and sense of urgency. As long as you adapt the way you usually approach an action game and keep track of save spots it’s never too much of a problem.

What Blue Castle Games have brought to series are these small tweaks to make it more approachable but it still has the underlying feel of a Japanese developed game whether you like it or not. They have got the combat to a much more enjoyable level despite some awkwardness in the weapon system. You can combine weapons to make more powerful zombie killing contraptions but it is very specific in what can be combined. To combine two weapons you have to pick them up and bring them to a work bench, usually the items you can combine are nearby but it is still time-consuming (especially for a game where time is important).

The story and scenario of the game is more creative than the first, which was confined to the typical zombie movie locale of the shopping mall. This time it is set in a fictional Las Vegas with more to it than just shops with casinos, restaurants, open areas and hotels. You play as Chuck Greene a motocross champion who is in Vegas for an event when a zombie outbreak occurs and he is framed for causing it. You are out to find out who framed you while you make sure you have a constant supply of Zombrex for your infected daughter to keep her from turning. The setting and story make for an interesting set of characters which are more perverse and adult themed because of the location.

The main problem of the series, the tough boss enemies called psychopaths, is still here and still unapologetically hard. There is very fun in taking down these enemies and often comes down whether or not you are well prepared in terms of weapons and health recovery items. The main strategy for me was to get close wait for an attack, dodge and hit once or twice and then repeat. Projectile weapons are much more useful in this game and control better but still feel weightless and not as powerful as they should be.

I’ve said a lot of not so positive things about this game but ultimately I enjoyed it enough to play through it once having fun all the way through. The first game was great because of the novelty in the variety of ways you could kill zombies and this game continues it with improvements but doesn’t bring much innovation to the formula. In fact they took the picture-taking system of the first game out and didn’t really replace it with something as fun (combining weapons is useful but tedious). If you like challenging and deliberately inflexible games like I do (from time to time) I suggest picking it up for the PC as the loading times (which is frustrating for the console versions) is much more tolerable. If not try the standalone DLC Case West for just a taste of the game without most the frustrations.

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Posted on February 13, 2011, in Completed Games, PC, PS3, Recommendations, Review, Video Games, Xbox 360 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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