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Dead Rising 2 – The PS3 Attitude Review

Submitted by on Saturday, 9 October 201010 Comments

Zombies are all the rage right now.  It seems pretty much everywhere you look in video games, you see the undead.  Even titles that have nothing to do with them find some way to implement everyone’s favorite cannibalistic monsters.  Now we’ve got Dead Rising 2, a game that revolves around nothing but zombies.  Sure fire good time, right?

Dead Rising 2 puts you in the shoes of Chuck Greene.  Chuck is a motorcross superstar that recently lost his wife to a zombie outbreak.  What’s worse is Chuck’s daughter is infected as well, but her mutation is kept under control by a drug called, Zombrex.  Zombrex stops the turning of infected humans in to zombies, but it’s very expensive, very hard to find and you need a lot of it to keep from ‘dying’.

Chuck lands in Fortune City, Nevada – the site of a game show called Terror is Reality.  After competing on this show for some quick cash, he finds himself framed for the outbreak of zombies in Fortune City – a previously ‘controlled’ city.  After making his way to a survivor’s shelter in the middle of a massive shopping and gambling center, Chuck realizes he has only 72 hours to clear his own name before the military shows up to rescue everyone.

Chuck's best impression of The Wolverine... it's actually not bad...

Aside from doing story-related missions to get to the bottom of the conspiracy and keeping Chuck’s daughter stocked with Zombrex, you also have a lot of spare time within the 72 hour window they give you.  You can spend that time searching for survivors to rescue for experience points and looking for new weapons.

If standard armaments like bats and guns just aren’t doing it for you, Blue Castle Games has implemented a system that allows you to create your own.  This weapon creation system is the real draw for Dead Rising 2.  Basically, you can take two seemingly harmless items (and sometimes real munitions as well) and combine them to create one big nasty weapon.  Not just any item will go together with another, but a lot of times we found that some obvious ideas for weapons worked out well.  If you’re having a hard time finding a couple of objects to use together, you can earn combo cards that tell you of wacky weapons that can be made, and exactly how to create them.

King of the hill... Dead Rising style

Before digging in too deep about what worked and what didn’t work in Dead Rising 2, we want to make one thing abundantly clear – we enjoyed this game.  The fun factor alone led us to appreciate everything it had to offer.  With that being said, is has a lot of small fundamental hiccups.  Nothing that hinders the game from success by themselves, but the little things really start to add up.

Basic navigation is the first of our gripes.  So long as you’re moving towards a specific objective, there’s a handy arrow that tells you exactly where you should be heading.  It’s the times that you want to traverse to a non-mission objective that give you trouble.  The lack of a waypoint system in this game is almost baffling, since the map is so big, and since it has really become such a standard thing in open world games.  Even when you could use the navigation arrow, we sometimes found that it was not 100% accurate.  When steering quickly in and out of shops to avoid zombies, the arrow would sometimes get confused and take a few seconds to stabilize.

Speaking of dodging zombies, that’s also quite the pain.  When trying to pick your way through hordes of the dead, Dead Rising 2 is consistently inconsistent about when you’ll be mauled by your enemies.  There are times when we ran right in to the middle of a crowd without a single zombie latching on.  Other times, we were swinging wide around one single zombie, only to have them lunge from 4 feet away and grab us.  This created an intense atmosphere early in the game but as time passed, that feeling of intensity was replaced with those of annoyance and frustration.

Pump up the bass

The inventory system was also a source of obstruction.  You have the ability to create these crazy and unique weapons, but at the same time, you’re only allowed to carry a very limited selection in your inventory.  Some of the best items that can be turned in to weapons are quite large, meaning you’re forced to carry them in your hands at all times until you can combine them with something else.  Dead Rising 2 could’ve greatly benefited from a better storage system, maybe something to the likes of the old Resident Evil games.

We’d also like to quickly note that the attack command and the use command is the same button, meaning you might accidentally end up using health items when a weapon unexpectedly breaks and your inventory cycles to the next slot.

Our last complaint comes in the way of the game’s graphical performance.  While Dead Rising 2 is no visual slouch, it’s nothing to write home about, either.  Screen tearing is abundant and irritating throughout all portions of the game.  Also, the frame rate really bogs down when there is a lot of action on the screen, and it doesn’t seem to run exceptionally high to begin with.

Say hello to my big fluffy friend

After reading that, we know it would be pretty easy to assume we hate this game.  Not so, and that’s actually why we opted to get our complaints out of the way first.  While there isn’t much Dead Rising 2 does that is admirably great, the one thing it does the best just happens to be the most important part – the fun factor.

Taking a massive boat oar and taping chainsaws to each end for maximum zombie carnage left a smile on our face that might’ve caused stretch marks.  Blue Castle Games banked very heavily on the idea that you’d have a great time killing your enemies in just about any way imaginable, and lucky for them, they were right.  Frustrating niggles aside, we spent the majority of Dead Rising 2 grinning from ear to ear.

Another good thing about this game is the value you’ll find in it.  All the weapon combos, side missions and a lengthy leveling system make for a pretty long affair that has a lot of replay value.  That’s not including co-op and the short but sweet on-line competitive modes.

Queue the loud rock music

The final positive note we’d like to make is the story.  The voice acting and plot are not exactly outstanding but they exceed the expectations that are set by other games like this.  Traditionally, open world titles such as Dead Rising 2 rely on their enjoyable dynamic and replay ability to keep gamers coming back, but this one actually has a decent story to it as well.  Even towards the end when all of our small complaints were starting to pile up, we kept playing because we honestly wanted to know what would happen to Chuck Green.

Overall, we spent more time talking about the negatives of Dead Rising 2 than the positives in this review, but there’s still a good and fun game to be found beyond those complaints.  If you’re looking for a multi-dimensional game that can be both enjoyable and provide some depth, Dead Rising 2 might be right up your alley.  Just prepare to wade through some very fundamental flaws before diving in head first.

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