Dead Rising 2: Case West Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360

This review contains spoilers regarding the plot of Dead Rising 2.

Dead Rising 2: Case West screenshot

Frank West is a popular guy. Over the lengthy course of the original Dead Rising, he won our hearts with his wonky face, his renegade approach to photojournalism, and his ability to pull people's guts out with his bare hands. The fact that he was more than happy to wear women's clothing probably didn't hurt either.

As a result of this popularity, there were a fair few disappointed faces when Frank failed to show for duty in Dead Rising 2. Chuck Green wasn't a bad frontman, exactly: he seemed like a bit of a loser at times, but he was also able to make a lightsaber out of a torch and some gems - something that has never, ever worked for me in real life. All the same, he was no Frank.

Now, thankfully, our favourite cross-dressing photographer has returned, teaming up with Chuck for a DLC epilogue to last year's sequel. Case West finds the pair attempting to infiltrate a high-tech facility belonging to Phenotrans, the not-at-all-like-Umbrella corporation that was ultimately behind all the bad stuff that happened in the main game. To be honest, you should really know that already - because this three-to-four hour adventure is squarely aimed at people who've finished Dead Rising 2, and ideally the first game too.

Under the circumstances, I'm going to spare myself the task of explaining how Dead Rising works; if your memory has been blunted by some form of debilitating head trauma, you can check out our review here. All you really need to know is that this DLC is a standalone affair that starts you out as a level 40 Chuck, affording you a generous inventory and health allowance as well as a full compliment of special moves. Sadly, there's no immediate option to play as Frank, although you do get to take control of him if you're joining someone else's game in co-op (more on this in a moment or two). I presume this decision was taken to encourage people to play together, but it certainly feels like a big slip-up on the part of Capcom and Blue Castle.

Still, it's undeniably great to have Frank back, and in all other regards his presence in Case West is handled with aplomb. In single-player games he acts as a loyal companion, following wherever Chuck leads. Once upon a time this might have been cause for concern, but Dead Rising 2 proved that Blue Castle can teach its NPCs to defend themselves. In fact, the AI-controlled Frank West is something of a beast, happily laying into massive crowds of zombies with his magically-reappearing baseball bat, or with anything else you deign to give him. Unlike the Fortune City survivors he's also capable of wielding combo weapons, so it’s quite possible to kit him out with explosive footballs, plate launchers and the like. Even on the rare occasions when Frank does run into zombie-related trouble, it's actually impossible for him to die - because, hey, he's Frank West.

This might sound like a controversial design choice, but it's actually a very smart move on the developer's part. Without the need to babysit Frank - or, for that matter, to go running off in search of Zombrex - the player is free to enjoy themselves. There's an endearing chemistry between the two heroes, one that extends beyond the frequently amusing cutscenes. Perform a special move as Chuck, and Frank will acknowledge the feat with a cocky, "Did you learn that from me?" Hit him with a stray bullet or melee swipe, and he'll complain as Chuck gruffly apologises. He's blessed with a decent selection of in-game dialogue, including a few choice words for the final boss, and this ultimately makes him a credible companion. He's a useful one, too, and when the going gets rough (as it invariably does, this being a Dead Rising game) you'll be grateful to have him around.

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chelskiboy247's Avatar

chelskiboy247@ mydeaddog

Ah, thanks a lot Neon.

I've finished Case:Zero, but am yet to play Dead Rising 2 and I don't want to spoil anything for myself.

Thanks again.
Posted 21:31 on 07 January 2011
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

@chelskiboy247

With regards to Case West itself, there aren't any plot spoilers; i've not gone into the story at all, really.

If you've not finished Dead Rising 2 yet, avoid the third paragraph on the first page, and the last paragraph of the review (the sixth para on the second page). The second paragraph on the second page also makes brief mention of a particular threat that turns up at a late stage of the game, so I suppose that's a spoiler of sorts, too.

As a general rule, I try to avoid including too much in the way of plot detail in my articles. It's tricky, as sometimes you do need to mention things, but personally i've always hated reviews that give too much away.

Hope that helps.
Posted 14:24 on 07 January 2011
pblive's Avatar

pblive

I still need to get Dead Rising 2 before I even think of playing this.
Posted 00:41 on 07 January 2011
chelskiboy247's Avatar

chelskiboy247

Oh what a pickle. I want to read the review, but I'm afraid of seeing spoilers.

Can someone tell me which paragraphs contain spoilers please?
Posted 17:04 on 06 January 2011
Ghost_Dog's Avatar

Ghost_Dog

I'm still pi**ed off that both this and Case Zero aren't making their way to the PS3.

I've said it before, but exclusive DLC is annoying. Exclusive games are fine, but withholding additional content like this, when the full game is available on a console is irritating. Saying that, I expect it will appear on the PS3 at some point in the distant future.
Posted 13:07 on 06 January 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Nice read Neon.

I really liked Case West. I found Case West to be more enjoyable than Case Zero. Even though Case Zero had more of the 'exploration' feel to it, and giving the DLC a good pace of setting. Case West on the other-hand really did triumph on the story (awesome story and I will not talk about it. Too many big spoilers in this DLC, its totally un-believable.) Not only did Case West do exceptionally well in story terms, the co-op was fantastic and the new weapons you can create are bloody brilliant.

The Blast Frequency Gun having a new addition to it made the brilliant customized weapon even more quick ass. I think James knows how that weapon has gone down for me. :D
Posted 15:34 on 05 January 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ squidman

Told ya! :p

But I did like the new method of awarding PP for photographing certain areas much more than the original - I do hope that this new form of the mechanic makes it into future titles.
Posted 14:43 on 05 January 2011
squidman's Avatar

squidman

Floor buffer + electric prod = happy Martin.
Posted 14:30 on 05 January 2011
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

If people cry about photography missing PP then i suggest they go out and be photographers themselves, it's not a big deal at all.
Posted 14:20 on 05 January 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Dead Rising 2: Case West
8
Out of 10
Dead Rising 2: Case West
  • Frank's back!
  • Great banter between the leads.
  • Well-balanced gameplay.
  • Co-op still needs tweaking
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 27/12/2010
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Blue Castle Games
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-2
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 15,582 170
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