Dead Rising 2: Case Zero Xbox 360 Review

I loved Dead Rising, it turned the survival horror genre on its head, confined spaces with a few zombies were ditched for wide open spaces filled with zombies. Not only that, but practically everything could be used as a weapon, giving you a multitude of ways to take care of those zombies. It wasn’t without its faults though, a dodgy save system, and text so incredibly small that unless you had a large HDTV it was pretty much unreadable. Not sure Dead Rising 2 is going to be a marked improvement in those areas, but in the meantime us lucky Xbox 360 owners get a downloadable prologue to give us a taste of the full game.

Sceptics may say that they are making us pay for a demo here, but this is no demo, the location and story are connected to the full game, but totally separate. The story starts two years after the previous game, but three years before the next, and is set in the small town of Still Creek, almost fifty miles outside of Las Vegas. Chuck Greene arrives in town with his zombie infected daughter Katey in tow, luckily medical science has come up with a counter measure to the infection, Zombrex, but  it only lasts twelve hours, and isn’t exactly plentiful. Whilst taking a break in the local garage to administer a shot of Zombrex to Katey someone steals Chucks truck, along with his supply of Zombrex, and right on cue, zombies start crawling out of the woodwork.

Barricading yourself in to the garage, your first mission is clear, find some Zombrex, and with twelve hours to do it, things don’t seem that urgent, but it soon becomes apparent that you also have to get out of town, and need to find some wheels before the government arrive and take your daughter away. Obviously things aren’t going to be that straightforward and Chuck will have to build a ride out of town using his mechanical skills, the same skills that are used in the games one outstanding new feature, combining weapons. Some objects you find around town will be marked with a little blue spanner icon, which means they are combinable, take a couple of these to one of the work benches around town and you can turn them in to a whole new weapon, with more durability, and harder hitting power, which will help bring those PP points piling in.

Other than that though the gameplay is largely unchanged from the original title, rescue survivors, collect objects, that sort of thing – there’s even a boss fight thrown in. That’s certainly no bad thing though, it’s a lot of fun but the faults of the original game are still there to plague us. The save system is identical, find a toilet to save your game, the text is still pretty small, I found it readable this time but that could just be because I’ve got a HDTV now. And there is one new fault to annoy you too, loading screens, every time you leave or enter your safe area, or have a cut scene, there is a loading screen, and they aren’t exactly brief either.

These aren’t exactly deal breakers though, as there’s a lot of fun to be had here, the town may be small, and the number of missions not that high, but it’s doubtful you’ll finish it first time through, not with the happy ending anyway. So there’s replay value too, if only to see all of the games several endings. As a bonus your stats will carry through to the full game out next month, even if they do get capped at level five. So, if you loved the first game and/or intend on buying the next then this is a must have really, and for the measly price of only 400 Microsoft points how can you say no?

8/10

by

Version tested: Xbox 360

Developer: Blue Castle Games

Genre: Survival Horror