Dead Rising 2

Dead Rising 2 Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC

Dead Rising 2 is set several years after the infamous zombie invasion of Willamette.

Review Verdict Read Review
7Out of 10
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Dead Rising 2 screenshot
Dead Rising 2 screenshot

You can stumble across these combinations, or learn the recipes from Combo Cards, earned by looking at posters and defeating set bad guys scattered around the game world; if you don't have the relevant card you can still make the custom weapon, but it won't be as powerful. In addition to being powerful and fun to use, these homebrew tools earn you bonus PP - the currency which determines how quickly Chuck develops. At the start of the game he's a bit of a wuss, but as you gain experience he'll level up, gaining health, speed, the ability to carry more items, and even a few special moves. The odd thing about Dead Rising is that you're never as weak or as helpless as when you start playing for the very first time - which is arguably when you need the most assistance. With time you realise that the game almost wants you to fail at the main mission. The idea is that you grind Chuck up a few levels, screw up the main campaign (or wilfully ignore it in favour of messing around), and then eventually choose to restart from the beginning. When you begin the story a second time, with the clock reset to zero, you'll set out as a stronger, more knowledgeable hero.

It sounds like a terrible design choice, and it's certainly one that raises a middle finger to prevailing, user-friendly conventions - and yet this unusual structure is ultimately one of Dead Rising's strongest qualities. Because of the time limit there's a near constant need to get from A to B quickly, but because you're limited to three save slots, and because you can only save at one of the world's many toilets (no, really), every journey you make carries a significant risk. We live in a safe, molly-coddled era where we're used to developers holding our hand at every turn; when a game like this comes along, one that forces us to deal with the threat of genuine failure, it's intimidating and refreshing in equal measure.

Dead Rising 1 only gave you a lone save slot, a controversial bit of design that made it extremely easy to cock-up your progress; Dead Rising 2 now gives you three, and thankfully this feels like a perfect balance - allowing you a bit of room for experimentation and self-correction, without making things too easy. You'll still have to plan each outing carefully, however. Do you head straight to the objective, or do you stop off to restock on weapons and food supplies first? You'd love to grab that chainsaw that spawns in the church, but getting there requires a dangerous journey along the main strip. Is it worth the risk?

When everything goes as planned, Dead Rising 2 is nothing short of a riot. It's unfortunate, therefore, that every so often the game pulls the rug out from under your feet in a deeply unfair way. The boss battles are the worst offenders here. As the case was in the first game, you'll occasionally be confronted by fellow survivors who have inexplicably turned into raving, homicidal maniacs. The majority of these psychos can kill you extremely quickly, but will take an insane level of punishment before they finally lay down and die. The game takes a slightly schizophrenic approach to combat, encouraging you to use certain weapons at one time, and then actively punishing you for doing so at others. There are even a couple of fights that more or less force you to use hand-to-hand combat - despite the fact that this is one of the game's weakest areas. There's no lock-on, no block, and your unarmed prowess is dependant entirely upon the random distribution of special moves as you level up. In short, the boss fights are a bitch - in fact they're significantly worse than in the first game.

Dead Rising's other flaws have been addressed with varying degrees of attention. Load times have been improved since the preview build, but they're still notably longer than most other games on the market, and they pop up with grating regularity. The quest notification system - which previously took the form of an incessantly-ringing walkie-talkie - has been improved, but there's still no way to manually set waypoints on the map, which is a big oversight. The PS3 version (the build tested) is quite prone to the odd visual bug, albeit nothing game-wrecking. Finally, the basic controls retain the slightly clunky handling of the first game. Once you settle into the rhythm of things you'll find them to be fairly functional, but they do tend to make life a bit more awkward when you're under a lot of stress - which will be quite often towards the end of the game, when a sudden change (which I won't spoil) has a fairly significant impact on the game world.

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Highest Rated Comment

Ghost_Dog's Avatar


As a PS3 owner, who has never played the original, I really feel that this needs a demo. As it stands, I only see myself realistically picking this up in a few months time when the price has gone down.

Case 0 would have made perfect sense on the PS3, due to the lack of a previous game on the console.
Posted 09:17 on 24 September 2010

User Comments

player66's Avatar


God, I love this game. The multiplayer is useful, but not very fun. The co-op is functional, but not user-friendly. The single player can be punishing and clunky. I don't know why, but none of these shortcomings detract from my unabashed joy at playing through the game. Dead Rising 3 couldn't come soon enough!
Posted 18:29 on 09 October 2010
Rickitis's Avatar

Rickitis@ Wido

@Wido – I don’t link that many reviews to IGN but yes I do use their site a lot. As a journalist myself, I score games using the 20 point scale but that’s just my personal preference. I think one thing most people can agree on is that the 100 point system, i.e. 54% or 5.4/10, is ridiculous as there is no way you can score a game that precisely (which is actually what IGN have recently altered from).
Posted 00:38 on 25 September 2010
Ginger_Jesus's Avatar


Haven't posted for a while but I brought this today from my local gamestation. Brought the special edition, really like the pen. Shall use that at work. Will get some strange faces looking my way but screw them.

Read the review and what a good read it is. Dead Rising is a game that you can't really take it seriously. I can't anyway. I simply brought this for the amount fun you can have with it. Mean, a electric wheelchair with two machine guns. Come on, you don't get a crazed patient on casualty do that on a Saturday night on BBC1.

Only played it for an hour as the missus wanted to watch her crap on TV. Sod's law I guess.
Posted 20:36 on 24 September 2010
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar


Good read Neon.

Looking forward to getting this as it looks fairly fun.
Posted 19:54 on 24 September 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar


*Awaits inevitable "7???? I HATE YOU VG!!" comments*
Posted 19:51 on 24 September 2010
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ mydeaddog

"Cheeky Lee sometimes talks about how he'd like to see a system which just has "Buy It" or "Don't Buy It". I'd orobably throw in a third category, so that you'd have "Definitely Buy It," "Worth Considering" and "Avoid". That's really all you need, but there's not a snowball's chance in hell that you'll ever see sites or mags adopting it."

I'm absolutely positive I have seen a magazine or two which used such phrases as final indicators of a game's prowess. It might have been 10 years ago, or so, but I know there is still at least one site which follows that system. Can't for the life of me remember what it was, but I'll have a go and see if I can track it down.

I agree with those saying scores are ultimately useless - the summary points should suffice, making the user read the entire review. But I suppose metarating, and the publishers themselves, prefer an industry-standard of comparing themselves against one another...
Posted 16:19 on 24 September 2010
WhoIsThePresidentNow's Avatar

WhoIsThePresidentNow@ mydeaddog

"Cheeky Lee sometimes talks about how he'd like to see a system which just has "Buy It" or "Don't Buy It". I'd orobably throw in a third category, so that you'd have "Definitely Buy It," "Worth Considering" and "Avoid". That's really all you need, but there's not a snowball's chance in hell that you'll ever see sites or mags adopting it."

I don't know like.

It doesn't work for BBC's Snog, marry or avoid. Some of them I just wanna throw off a cliff.
Maybe just actually reading the review will make your mind up like.

Good read as always Neon :)
Posted 11:15 on 24 September 2010
Wido's Avatar


Nice review Neon. Definitely gave me more of a insight on how DR2 handles itself. Sounds like it has improved from DR1, as in more fun but still looks like it has flaws which will be apparent.

@Rickitis - Seeing as in the past you link reviews to IGN a lot. The scoring system you want is what IGN uses. Not having a dig, but I prefer what VG do. I rather have something simple and straight forward than fannying about with 6.5/10 or 9.5/10. Such as; Its one hell of a game but with some flaws, it doesn't warrant the 10/10, so 9.5/10 is what it gets. Easily just put 9/10 and still get very much received than scoring system that you prefer.
Posted 11:01 on 24 September 2010
Ghost_Dog's Avatar


The VG score seems in-line with what everybody else is scoring. In fact, this game seems to have the most consistent scoring I've seen in a while.

This is how it's scoring elsewhere (thanks VG24/7)

• Eurogamer – 8
• MSXbox-World – 9
• Made2Game – 7
• Strategy Informer – 8
• MegaBitsofGaming – Buy it
• NZGamer – 8.8
• IGN – 8
• Resolution Magazine - 8
• GamePlanet – 8.5
• SquareGo – 4/5
• GamesRadar – 8
Posted 10:58 on 24 September 2010
Clockpunk's Avatar


Heh, last night I created a rocket launcher with fireworks, and got a zombie right in the groin where it stuck before exploding a few seconds later. Most amusing. It is the little things that make the game a success.

I love this game.

It is a shame Capcom have stated they have no plans for really expanding the game with DLC, other than the 4 skills pack plus a few more in the future. I had hoped they could add in a new casino, or some such, with a few new items, perhaps a storage facility, a couple more combos, survivors, a psycho or two... seems like an idea game for such an addition.
Posted 10:53 on 24 September 2010
mydeaddog's Avatar


Originally Posted by scaz
Was tempted to get this today as i really enjoyed case zero, i was hoping it would of got higher tbh.

Don't be put off; if you liked Case Zero then you'll like this too. Just be aware that it's going to kick you in the balls every so often.
Posted 10:49 on 24 September 2010
Rickitis's Avatar

Rickitis@ mydeaddog

The problem is that too much emphasis is placed on the review score where every point seems to count. If the game was scored 7 rather than a 7.5 it would make the difference between buying the game or not for some people. I actually like the idea where there would be no score at all, people would just read the review and make up their own mind whether it’s worth buying or not - but there is no chance of any site doing that either.
Anyway nice review, I’m going to go check ebay for a cheap version of the original...
Posted 10:34 on 24 September 2010
mydeaddog's Avatar


I've not played review code of the 360 build, though I did play Case Zero; I've also played preview builds of the 360 version. To be honest, i'd imagine that the console builds would be pretty much identical. Visual bugs tend to pop up in open world games, after all.

Can't say I agree with you about the 20 point system; if anything i'd rather we used a five point scale. The idea that "more numbers = more accurate" makes no sense, in my opinion, because you're not assigning numbers to anything tangible. Anyone who's been reading game reviews for a while will remember the bad old days of 90s magazines, when everyone used ridiculous percentages.

Cheeky Lee sometimes talks about how he'd like to see a system which just has "Buy It" or "Don't Buy It". I'd orobably throw in a third category, so that you'd have "Definitely Buy It," "Worth Considering" and "Avoid". That's really all you need, but there's not a snowball's chance in hell that you'll ever see sites or mags adopting it.
Posted 10:21 on 24 September 2010
scaz2244's Avatar


Was tempted to get this today as i really enjoyed case zero, i was hoping it would of got higher tbh.
Posted 10:18 on 24 September 2010
Rickitis's Avatar

Rickitis@ mydeaddog

I would love for this website to use the 20 point scoring system (with 0.5’s), which would work well for a game when its almost in between whole scores, just my opinion but I prefer that type of scoring. I might pick this up when it’s gone down in price, I’m actually borrowing my friends Xbox 360 at the moment so I might pick up the original on the cheap as you suggested.

‘The PS3 version (the build tested) is quite prone to the odd visual bug, albeit nothing game-wrecking’
Does that mean you haven’t played the Xbox 360 version of the game? Would you imagine it’s very similar to the PS3 version?
Posted 10:09 on 24 September 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Dead Rising 2
Out of 10
Dead Rising 2
  • Original and diverse sandbox fun
  • Oodles of replay value
  • Old-fashioned design can grate at times
  • Boss fights are a major annoyance
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 24/09/2010
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Blue Castle Games
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: Action
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 1,738 207
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