Dead Rising 2 Xbox 360 Review

The zombie outbreak at Willamette changed the world, the military’s handling of it didn’t help either, they should have cut their losses and nuked the place, but they didn’t, and the contagion spread, overwhelming Las Vegas next. Where the zombies went after that, and what they did, isn’t clear, but what is clear is that zombies are now part of everyday life. No more so than in the sports entertainment franchise ‘Terror is Reality’ where they are used as cannon fodder. Not everyone took this well though, which has led to the forming of the zombie rights organization C.U.R.E. who are opposed to the unethical treatment of zombies.

It’s a crazy world, and with the demise of Las Vegas a new gambling capital has sprung up, Fortune City, the venue for the latest episode of ‘Terror is Reality’ and the setting for Dead Rising 2. You play the part of Chuck Greene; ex Motocross star, grieving widower, father to a zombie infected little girl, and a contestant in TIR. And just as you win a match all hell breaks loose, somebody has freed the shows stockpile of zombies, so it’s time to grab your daughter and head for the nearest safe house. Before long a news broadcast reveals footage of Chuck setting the zombies free, someone has framed him, and it’s up to you to find out who and why. On top of that there are survivors that need saving, psychopaths on the loose, and your daughter needs regular shots of Zombrex, if you didn’t have enough problems already.

So, new story and characters, but what’s new in the gameplay, well not a lot single player wise. It’s still all about dismembering zombies with whatever comes to hand, whilst rescuing survivors and dealing with some right psychos, with a bit of dressing up thrown in for good measure. But there have been some changes, biggest of which is the weapons combo system, some weapons can be combined with others to create some crazy concoctions. These range from the basic baseball bat with nails in it, to the bizarre flaming dragon mask, to the sublime defiler. I won’t tell you how you make them, as discovering the combinations is half the fun of the game, but suffice to say it pays to use your imagination.

Something else that has changed from the last game is the save system, it is basically the same, with you tracking back and forth to toilets to save your progress, but you now get three save slots instead of just the one. You may think the ability to make extra back up saves changes the game, perhaps losing some of the tension that the first game had. But it is completely optional, you don’t have to use the extra slots, I know I haven’t. But a lot of people did complain about the single save slot of the original, so the extras are for those people. For those people it makes the game better, for those who didn’t have a problem the game is essentially unchanged, unless you want to change it.

The biggest change of them all though is that it is no longer a purely single player game. An online co-operative mode has been added, so you can slice those zombies up with a friend, or stranger, although I did experience some connectivity issues with this. Up to four people can also play the gameshow ‘Terror is Reality’ online, which is essentially a series of minigames, cumulating in a finale on chainsaw-equipped motorbikes. This is a lot of fun, there’s enough variety in the mini-games to keep you going back for more, and the fact that you can earn cash to use in the single player game, means you’ll want to play it now and again just to keep your bank balance topped up. I still think there’s potential for a Dead Rising MMO, with say twenty to thirty people let loose in the environment to battle each other or work together. Maybe Capcom can think about that for Dead Rising 3?

All in all Dead Rising 2 does everything a good sequel should, new story, slightly tweaked gameplay, additional game modes, all whilst retaining what made the original so good. I’ve had, and still am having, a blast in Fortune City, as the game has loads of replay value. It’s all just sheer unadulterated fun, what more could you want than an endless supply of zombies and a million ways to kill them?

8 out of 10
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