In Sandbox play, you have all the time in the world to explore this new content. There's enough here to keep you occupied for ages, and yet the lack of urgency strangely robs the experience of any real meaning. The creative zombie slaughter never gets old, but somehow it seems more fun to do these things when you're supposed to be doing something important, like rescuing a helpless young woman or stopping a casino heist.
One of the key quirks of Dead Rising is the fact that the game routinely tempted to go off the beaten track, even though this can be disastrous. It's simply less fun to mess about when there's nothing at stake; it's like bunking off school when you're already on half term. Sort of.
It's the Story mode, then, that persists as the main attraction. Thanks to the fact that you can power level and gather cash in Sandbox mode and then re-import the data back into Story, it's all but impossible to screw up your progress with a "bad" save; veterans of the first Dead Rising will remember that this wasn't always the case. Capcom has finally seen fit to include a waypoint marker, making it a good deal easier to get about the map, and this time you also get a checkpointing system that comes to the rescue on the rare occasions when you get cocky and forget to manually save.
Purists and longtime fans of the series may turn their noses up at these concessions, but the bottom line is that this is the most accessible Dead Rising yet. That said, this is still a game that stubbornly refuses to explain some of its most important systems, and one that seems hell-bent on spoiling your fun at select moments. To put it another way, you'll still need a Painkiller cocktail (two identical spirits, blended together) and Knife Gloves (Boxing Gloves and a Bowie Knife, fused at a workstation) to have a chance of beating most of the bosses. Even when you're well acquainted with the game's most useful secrets, you may still find yourself struggling against the harder psychopaths.
It's also worth stating that while it's brilliant to have Frank in the leading role - older and wrinklier, but still utterly badass despite his bad back - the plot doesn't really make an awful lot of sense with him as the hero. That's not a huge problem, since narrative isn't really one of the game's strong suits in the first place, but it's certainly another reason why a newcomer might plump for the vanilla version of Dead Rising 2, rather than this re-cut edition. Off the Record can be pre-ordered for about £20 at the time of writing, but last year's game can be found for a tenner if you shop around.
Besides, you'll probably get more out of Off the Record's knowing humour if you've already played through Chuck Greene's story. The story is largely the same, but it's surprisingly entertaining to watch how Frank reacts to things differently. He's sardonic, fairly seedy, and he has a receding hairline - in short, he's a far cry from your standard video game hero. If you know Dead Rising 2 inside out, you'll also be pleased by the few occasions where Off the Record remixes the plot, as there are one or two surprises waiting amid the repurposed material.
But does all this enough justify another £20 if you already own last year's effort? No, probably not. That's the chief problem with Dead Rising 2: Off the Record: it's perfectly enjoyable, but it's hard to know who it's for. Newcomers can get by with the original, and old hands have played most of it before. If you're a massive fan of the series - and of Frank West in particular - it's still worth picking this up, but even at twenty notes, there's little to make this an urgent purchase.