X10 Hands On: Dead Rising 2

I watched a few people playing this game before I jumped in. I wanted to see how it looked and the reactions of the players before I took the controller myself. You see, to be completely honest, I could never find that one special ingredient that other’s seemed to find in the original Dead Rising. I could see it had potential; I just couldn’t get to grip with the controls. They were sluggish, cumbersome and felt very old fashioned. Later I wondered if this was because it was very much a Japanese game. Essentially it controlled just like the old Resident Evil games I had loved but in this generation that didn’t feel like enough.

I was pleased when I heard sources at Capcom talking about widening their appeal to a western audience. As much as I love and revere Japanese gaming heritage, I had gotten used to the faster, more action-based western style. So when Dead Rising 2 was given to a western developer I became very interested. Could they take the core concepts of the first game and smooth out the interface and control issues?

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Well, to put it bluntly: yes, they could. Dead Rising 2 is positively brisk in pace with controls intuitive enough that, after agonising about them for so long, I didn’t even have to think about it. The zombies are still there, the gore, the weapons (and new combined – and somewhat insane – weapons) and the fun. The photography mechanic is gone, with points earned by simply cutting swathes through the hordes of zombies.

The demo started with the main character, Chuck, in a hallway. Dispatch a couple of portly zombies as they shuffle towards you and move into the maintenance room where you find a canoe paddle, a pair of chainsaws and a roll of duct tape. Some moody animations later and you’ve built yourself a dual-ended growling death-paddle which brought a smile to so many faces when they saw the potential of the weapon roll out in front of them.

Cut swathes through the zombie masses and you might find your way to an adult emporium where you can dress yourself in leather chaps and leather waistcoat. Then you might swing by the counter and pick up a very large, very pink “massager”. What follows can most succinctly be described as one sixth of a Village People tribute act clubbing the reanimated into submission with a huge pink dildo.

The sheer enjoyment is difficult to verbalise but it really is manic, tense, laugh-out-loud funny and totally insane. The demo seemed to be a kind of ten-minute challenge mode where I was tasked with an extremely optimistic number of zombies to splatter against the garish casino backdrop. Needless to say, I didn’t reach my target before the timer counted down to zero but I am looking forward to having another go when the game is released this September (Aug 31st in the US, Sept 2nd in Japan and Sept 3rd in the EU). I can’t wait to get my hands on those leather chaps again. Er… I mean the chainsaws. Yes, the chainsaws.

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