Hands On: Dead Rising 2

The first quarter of an hour with Dead Rising 2 is a confusing, oddly paced affair that does little to instill much confidence. Without the Xbox 360 exclusive ‘Case Zero’ introduction we’re literally thrown into the character of Chuck Greene, clad in his motocross gear and about to enter a caged, ramped hall full of zombies. On his bike. One slightly clumsy (and naturally, rather predictable) outcome occurs which leaves the zombies free to wreak havoc and Greene’s daughter, Katey, having to contend with regular doses of the drug Zombrex to keep a transformation to the dark side at bay.

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An hour or so in and the game starts to find its feet – the survivors have holed up together in a secure area of the complex (the game’s set in a location similar in look and feel to Las Vegas), Greene’s principal motivations are explained (his daughter’s ritual aside, he quickly finds out he’s being framed for the zombie outbreak) and the game has opened up its weaponry and introduced the notion of combining items (the first marriage is a deadly item betwixt steel and wood).  From there, it only gets better.  And better.

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Dead Rising 2 is actually really good.  Once the Cases start, a series of progressively tougher missions that make up the game’s exposition, things start to fall into place.  There’s evidently scant time to complete both the Cases and the sidequests, at least on your first run through with the game, so prioritising your efforts into either discovering the truth or leveling up your character via the almost limitless streams of cries for help and diversions.  Overarching all of Greene’s bloody to-do list is the fact that the military are coming – in 72 hours.

Weapons are numerous and limited in scope only by your imagination.  Greene has a limited number of slots for weapons carried at any one time (and we recommend using at least two of those slots for food in case you need health) but there’s pockets of survivors in and amongst the zombie hordes, humans that need your help (and your bullets) and those that want you as dead as the shambling shufflers that populate most of Fortune City so choose your arsenal carefully.  Not that there’s anything wrong with diving into thousands of zombies with a water pistol and a giant teddy bear.

Thus, a seemingly bloodthirsty, meandering survival horror belies its true depth – yes, you can run around slicing up the undead with chainsaws strapped to cricket bats, but there’s a comprehensive system of quests and missions that are ripe for the taking and you’ll find you get much more out of the game the more you put in.  We’ve been playing Dead Rising 2 for a few days and have had a blast, it’s a smart title with bags of potential, despite our preview version being a little off the final code.  Visually, for example, it’s a bit hit and miss, but we’re hoping things will be tidied up before the game hits the shelves.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a casino to save.

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20 Comments

  1. Sounds cool, missed out on the original due to not having a 360 (one of the few games i really wanted to play on the system at the time) so fingers crossed i get to do some zombie slicing and dicing this time round, any idea on the release date fellas???

  2. You know what I’m going to say here. Played the first one to a degree but couldn’t get on with the save system and understand the sequel is similar in this regard.

    However the zombie carnage of the first was fun and as the weaponary etc appears to be even more diverse here (with, as you say, scope pretty much limited only by the imagination) I think I might give the franchise a second chance. Nice write up and screenshots. Check out the Nerfblaster (or is it a water gun?). Either way it looks like a blast. Now can I make a weapon from a roulette wheel (in a frisbee / decapitation type way)? That’d be a winner I think.

  3. Intriguing. I’m currently on the bench, deciding if I should get it or not…
    The article made me want it both more and less, in equally large portions.

  4. I’m mildly intrigued by this game but would need a demo to consider buying it at full RRP, I’m thinking it might be a future budget purchase during my next gaming dry spell though…

    Also isn’t the 360 having ‘Case Zero’ a bit backwards given they had the first game to get them into it? Wouldn’t it make more sense to give PS3 owners a prequel intro as they never played the first game – like they are doing with Mass Effect 2?

    • Case Zero is 360 exclusive. Just another one of those things

    • ‘dry spell’? I don’t think I have the time for those these days. As soon as I seem to finish with a big new release another one or two have cropped up. I won’t complain that too many decent games come out over the course of the whole year these days but it’s getting very tough to keep up.

  5. What’s the frame rate like and is there screen taring on the ps3 version?

  6. When is this out?

    • 24th of September

      • Damn vgreleases said 28th August. Was looking forward – well guess I can wait a bit more

  7. I really think this is going to be one of the best games this year. All it has to do is improve by 1% from the previous and I think it’ll be worth it. Cannot stress enough how much fun the first one was.

  8. Any ideas whether move support will be given , could add an extra level of amusement to the game ?

  9. this does look fun, not sure I would buy it new, maybe “preowned” ?

    • lol! I think some people might frown upon that idea =)

  10. Ooooooooooh, I honest to god can’t wait for this !
    Is it out on the 3rd !?!?

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