Well, it’s been pretty slow here on BcR this last month, probably because we’re lazy bastards, and somehow I’ve managed to do it again: I’ve played a game from start to finish in less than a week, traded it back to the shop to get half price on something else, and then completely forgot I even had it. That’s not to say it was a bad game at all, but more likely that I simply suffer from a gaming addiction so strong that my days become one long blur… Well, at least that’s the excuse I’m giving for my terrible memory. Anyway, the game in question is Dead Rising 2, and I’m gonna review it quickly, even though it’s far too late.
The first Dead Rising game was great. Fact. No, it didn’t have a great story, it didn’t have any good characters, and other more noteworthy things like the shit save system and the annoying timer on things like boss fights and mission objectives always seemed to screw you over – but for some reason, none of that bloody irritating stuff seemed to matter. A free-roaming game that let you run around an entire shopping centre, hacking, smashing, impaling, burning and shooting zombies everywhere you went was just about the most fun you could ever hope for in any kind of game where the plot involves an outbreak of zombification. I certainly enjoyed it a lot for the most part.
Quite a few years since the original outbreak on Xbox 360, a long awaited sequel to Dead Rising was announced, and over a month ago now, Dead Rising 2 was released onto a wider range of platforms immediately, with PS3 and PC owners able to get their hands on the zombie-destroying madness that is Dead Rising 2’s apocalyptic Las Vegas themed hellish playground of death. What did we get? Well, to be perfectly honest, I found it to be damn near almost exactly the same thing, with a different setting and a bunch of new weapons.
Surely there was something more distinctive about DR2 though, right? Well, yeah actually, there was. For starters, the brand new weapon crafting system in the game is just fantastic! Countless combinations of weapons and items in the various workshops around the game map allows you to make some of the most bizarre and creative deathtrap weapons known to man, all in the interest of destroying hundreds more zombies than you were first capable of. Need to carve a safe path for yourself through an overcrowded army of the undead? Grab a chainsaw and a canoe paddle, combine them, and you’ll find yourself sporting a giant stick with two chainsaws on either end, great for clearing that all important way to the slot machines. Prefer the long-range weapons? That’s fine. Simply grab a metal pipe and a box of bottle rockets, put em together, and what do you get? A firework minigun, spraying mini explosives wherever you point and blowing bits off zombies left, right and center.
As with the storyline in the original Dead Rising, the story was in all fairness pretty much a load of guff, and I didn’t really find myself captivated. It was just a load of silliness, and the optional bosses you could fight throughout the story were as ridiculous and terrifyingly insane as ever, but truth be told, I did actually enjoy them a lot – despite finding some of them incredibly annoying and difficult to beat. I stuck with it, however, and made it through to the end, accomplishing every single optional mission that appeared in my objectives window. I wanted to get the most out of the game that I could be bothered with, and taking on every challenge as it came to me was great fun, if challenging at times. It certainly has some bizarre and outright insane moments scattered throughout, for example fighting a crazy fat man who takes the word ‘slow’ as a personal insult to his intelligence, and his pet tiger whom he likes to treat with fresh human meat, instead of all the rotting zombie flesh that is in abundance.
The AI for the survivors in the game seemed to be vastly improved over the first game somehow, as they were less prone to standing still and being mauled by zombies, were a lot more proficient in the use of almost any weapon I gave to them, and generally knew how to look after themselves a lot better. This made rescuing survivors in between or during missions a lot more fun and interesting, rather than a horrendous chore in the original game that made you want to bludgeon the survivors to death yourself, let alone having to watch them run blindly into a horde of brain hungry zombies.
Though the game is definitely a whole load of zombie killin’ fun from start to finish, with a good balance of challenges and free-roaming self-entertainment, it’s disappointing to have to say that some of the things that made the first Dead Rising a bit of a pain are still there; save rooms, often extremely difficult bosses, travel times from location to location – and not to mention the ridiculous countdown timers for the ends of missions.
Don’t get me wrong, having a timer made a lot of sense, because the story revolves around solving a huge conspiracy, but when you start a mission with only a small amount of time left before it is over, and then make it right to the end (through various checkpoints) only to find you get no extra time and always had the same amount of time to finish it, regardless, then it gets a little bloody annoying. Sadly they were almost enough to put me off continuing with the game. But, if you take the time and effort to just save your game often enough, ALWAYS save before a boss fight or any other annoying objective, and most definitely make sure you try and complete storyline objectives immediately, then you just might avoid enough aggravation to fight through the difficult moments.
Dead Rising 2 is a great game, with a lot to do, (including playing the slot machines , competing in mini poker tournaments with survivors, and playing a giant texas hold ’em game in the casino), and is definitely worth a go. Just remember to go into the game with a lot of patience for those times when you will die unexpectedly because of ridiculous boss fights, and make sure you save often, and I mean OFTEN. If you like zombie stuff, a game that doesn’t take itself quite so seriously, creative and almost ingenious maniacs to fight, and a whole load of free-roaming fun, then this game is definitely something you need to play.