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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There is something gleefully rebellious about the way Capcom defies the prevailing trends of the day. At a time when every publisher under the sun is trying to make gaming a family-friendly, gather-round-the-coffee-table experience, Capcom is scowling in the bathroom, shaving its hair into a Mohawk. Watch as Capcom stomps down the stairs in a pair of Doc Martins, kicks over a bowl of pimento-stuffed olives and spits in the face of the assembled casuals. "I AM CAPCOM!" it growls, "AND I WILL ALWAYS BE HARDCORE!"

It probably won't surprise you to learn that Dead Rising 2 is a game that embraces old-school values, and that it's a thumpingly hard one too; this is, as we well know, "the Capcom way". For many of us, this dedication to tradition is something to be praised and greatly admired, but if you're the kind of gamer who's grown used to modern design crutches - things like regenerating health and the omnipresent ability to save your game - then you may be in for a rude awakening. Four years have passed since the release of the original Dead Rising, but while Capcom has handed the development reins over to Vancouver studio Blue Castle Games, this long-awaited sequel is a virtual retread of its predecessor.

Once again the central conceit is that the player takes on the role of a lone hero, trapped in an open world packed with zombies. Last time we played photojournalist Frank West, at Willamette Mall; now we're in the boots of Chuck Greene, a former motorcross star who now earns cash by participating in Terror is Reality - a dodgy, Gladiators-like TV show that encourages contestants to butcher zombies in exchange for cash prizes. When the show arrives at the casino resort of Fortune City, someone uses a bomb to free the living dead from their cages. Zombies flood across the surrounding hotels, casinos and shopping malls, chomping on the locals and adding them to their swelling ranks. And just to top it all off, someone frames Chuck for causing the initial attack.

What follows is a 72-hour mission against the clock, with Chuck battling to rescue survivors and to clear his name before the military show up to arrest him. The action unfolds in accelerated real-time, with specific events taking place within set windows. If you're late for one of the appointments that are connected to the main plot, you may lose track of the central narrative thread entirely - preventing you from seeing the "true" ending. Somewhat perversely, the game tries as hard as it can to lead you off the beaten track at every opportunity. In addition to the near-endless array of side-quests and rescue missions, there's also a generous set of mini-games to find and try - from golf swing simulators to a Crystal Maze-style cash-grab booth. Towards the later stages of the story, there's even a rather unexpected (and given the circumstances, rather imprudent) opportunity to enter a game of strip poker.

In addition to all this, there's also the same 'raid any shop, grab anything you like' dynamic that made the first game so memorable. Rather than giving the player a set of stock weapons, your arsenal comprises of anything that you find to hand. You'll find yourself taking down zombies with everything from swords and fire axes, which lop the limbs off your foes or split them clean in half, to useless-yet-hilarious items like dildos and inflatable hammers. Dead Rising 1's Frank had the ability to take photos of the undead masses, but this has now been replaced by Chuck's uncanny knack for blending items together - a talent that is utilised by bringing specific items to one of the many maintenance rooms scattered around Fortune City. An aerosol can and a traffic cone, for example, can be used to make a klaxon that causes zombies' heads to pop, while strapping a car battery to a wheelchair results in The Electric Chair - a crowd-clearing trolley of death.

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21 Comments

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mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

We've got an extended play coming at some point soon.

With regards to which version, i'd say it's a fairly open choice. The 360 version has the DLC, so I suppose I'd say get that.

I was quite torn between a 7 and an 8 on this one; in the end it was just the clunkier elements and a few deeply unfair bits (particularly some of the boss fights) that pushed me towards the lower score. It's a very good game when it's on top form, but it's one that you have to love despite its flaws.
Posted 09:56 on 24 September 2010
Rickitis's Avatar

Rickitis@ Ghost_Dog

Completely agree.
Posted 09:23 on 24 September 2010
Ghost_Dog's Avatar

Ghost_Dog

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
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

I have said all this before, but I am very happy with DR2 - I wouldn't be surprised if it was in my top 3 games of the year.

The exploration and adventure is the key part of the title for me - the weapon combos proving much more fun than the photojournalism aspect.

The score is a little lower than I would have liked, but still a fair review, Neon. Not sure I agree with you comments on multiplayer, though. The minigames, I have found, are all extremely fun - something I did not expect.

Overall, you can tell Blue Castle Games had a lot of fun making this title - and it shows.
Posted 08:50 on 24 September 2010
BillyBobBoy's Avatar

BillyBobBoy

I'm still going to pick this up today 7 is an ok score. Which version should I go for PS3 or 360?
Posted 07:52 on 24 September 2010
Get2DaChoppa's Avatar

Get2DaChoppa

Great review Neon, I was one of those who liked the idea of the original game, but couldn't quite get to grips with it, but this one looks interesting enough to maybe pick up.

An extended play video maybe?
Posted 01:29 on 24 September 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Dead Rising 2
7
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: 2,459 452
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