They’re menacing. They’re falling apart, and they’re hungry. They’re the living dead, and Fortune City is crawling with them. In Capcom’s newest release in the zombie eradicating series, Dead Rising 2, players follow Chuck Greene, who tries to prove his innocence before the military arrives to free survivors from a safe house after a zombie outbreak. Here’s our review of this blood-filled sequel.
Meet Chuck Greene, and his daughter Katey. As the game opens we see Chuck atop a motorcycle, ready to participate in some kind of tournament. This event is called Terror Is Reality, or TIR for short. In this slaughter fest contestants compete in an arena, killing zombies for points. Zombies that have been captured are placed in the middle of said arena, and contestants participate in a sort of “king of the hill” type of match, using motorcycles strapped with chainsaws to mow down the undead assailants. At the end of the time limit, the contestant with the most points wins the cash prize.
Now we aren’t too sure why Chuck is in the tournament, other than the assumption that he needs the money for his daughter. Katey, we learn, has been bitten, but her condition is kept under control with a new drug called Zombrex, which suppresses the undead venom in the victim’s veins. The drug has become scarce since the violent zombie outbreak, but it can be purchased for a high price.
After the event is over, Chuck sets out on his way to the green room to pick up Katey. While in the elevator his world crumbles. He wakes up, groggy after the elevator’s crash, to find out that somehow the undead have taken over the arena, and are flooding Fortune City. Chuck then knows he must rescue his daughter.
Once he retrieves Katey, they make way for a safe house. Since Katey needs Zombrex every 24 hours, it is up to Chuck to venture back out to Fortune City and obtain the drug using any means available. During his forages into the undead nightmare, he finds survivors and takes it upon himself to get them back to the safe house safely before the military arrives to escort everyone to a safe zone, and eradicate the danger.
Soon after his return with the first dose of Zombrex, Chuck learns that he is being blamed for the outbreak on Fortune City, as the media has footage of him blowing a protective fence away, allowing the undead predators into the city. Chuck outright says that the video is a fake, which of course we know is true. From this point on, Chuck has until the military arrives to prove his innocence, all while saving survivors and protecting his daughter.
The gameplay in Dead Rising 2 varies greatly from that of its predecessor. The new title incorporates more smooth controls, all new weapon combinations, a new level up system, and a new HUD system.
Compared to the first title I have found that it is easier to get around, avoid zombies, and eradicate them. The controls are much more fluid and responsive in Dead Rising 2. It’s very easy to use the controls to your advantage, and customize your inventory for easy-access weaponry and snacks to refill your health. Since the camera control has been improved as well, there aren’t those pesky situations where you’re attacked by a zombie that you couldn’t see.
The new HUD is perfect as well. As you increase in levels you can carry more weapons, which are displayed in the top right of the screen. Switching between weapons is easy, and when you aren’t switching through your inventory the weapon display hides so you can see more of the screen. At the top left of the screen is your HP, PP level bar, and your current level. The HP is clearly visible and it’s very easy to keep on your toes so you don’t die as quickly. Also, missions are given through a radio that Chuck carries, and by checking it you can keep track of how much time is left until the military arrives, how much time is left for certain missions, and all available missions. It’s very convenient and easy to read.
Chuck can also eat snacks that are littered around the city in order to refill the health meter. You can also carry snacks on your person to keep as a “just in case” kind of precaution. This helps a lot when you have a long way to travel. Also, you can save your game by locating a bathroom. You also load the game from whatever bathroom in which you saved. This makes the game a lot more enjoyable, versus having to start all the way over every time you loaded your save as in the first Dead Rising.
The level up system is also another cool feature to the sequel. As you mow through the undead you will receive PP, which are points that help you level up. As you attain levels Chuck will earn more health, more inventory slots, new skill moves, and new combo cards. Depending on what weapons you use, you will earn different amounts of PP. Saving survivors earns PP, and as your undead kill count climbs, you receive more PP for the more you kill.
Perhaps the coolest new addition to the game is the new weapon combination system. As you progress through the game weapons will be in supply all throughout the map. Some weapons can be taken to a maintenance room and combined with other weapons to make brand new creations for your undead killing arsenal. Combine things such as boxing gloves with a knife, a 2×4 and a lawn mower, a bat with nails, and much more. Combo weapons earn the player even more PP than normal, and offer special attacks. Weapons can be combined without the specific combo cards, but you won’t gain the extra PP bonus when using the weapon, versus having the card. There are over 100 weapon combinations to date, and as more DLC arrives, more are coming.
Survivors are littered all throughout Fortune City. Each survivor has their own story, and is located within the city for a reason. As you progress through the story, more survivors are available to locate. Locating and escorting these survivors grants additional amounts of PP used to level up. A lot of times when there is down time between missions, saving survivors is a great way to gain levels.
In addition to the survivors, there are psychopaths littered throughout the city. Running into these strange misfits will usually result in a “boss battle” where Chuck is unwittingly pitted against the crazy foe. Defeating the crazed attacker unveils a PP bonus, and access to the area in which they resided. Some of the crazy battles involve a misled man and a tiger, as well as a crazed sadist in a chapel. The possibilities are endless.
The multiplayer in Dead Rising 2 is quite unique. In the multiplayer mode players take the roles as contestants in the TIR gameshow. Four players participate in multiplayer, competing against each other for the most kills inside an arena full of undead. Players can use weapons and vehicles including human-sized hamster balls and chainsaw-equipped motorcycles. They also will be able to prevent other players from scoring by using various forms of “dirty” tactics. The show consists of three minigames, including Zomboni (driving a car that make zombie juice and players have to shoot the juice to the target to get points), Bounty Hunter (players snipe zombies and they can earn extra points by hitting the jackpot), and Stand Up Zomedy (players put flowers, sticks, and dresses on the zombie, earn more points by getting all three of items in one zombie).
Also, the game offers online co-op. Players will both take the role of Chuck Greene, and will be able to earn experience and keep the items they collected throughout the game—but only the host player will be able to save the game’s progress. A host can invite a friend to join the current game by sending out an invitation; if the friend accepts, a confirmation icon will be displayed and the host can allow the player to join in. Non-host players can drop in/out of a co-op game anytime they like. When the players become separated, a tiny animated Chuck Greene icon will appear at the bottom of the game screen. The icon will show what the other player is up to—attacking, being assaulted by zombies, etc. If a player is taken down by zombies, he will be able to call the other for help to revive them. The player will use food to revive the dying partner before his health runs out. This makes taking down those hordes of undead that much more enjoyable.
I insanely enjoyed Dead Rising 2. In fact, I am not even fully finished with the game. I have spent so much time playing and just finding new weapon combos that I have just dilly-dallied around. The game breeds fun for hours, literally. The only problem I encountered with the game is that when you die you are forced to either load a save, or restart the whole campaign using the character you have. Now this could be a good thing, considering you wouldn’t have to spend all that time leveling up again because you bring your character with you, but for someone like me who doesn’t save often it could be frustrating.
Also, I sometimes feel that the weight of the missions keep me from exploring the city as much as I would like. I like to take time and carefully plan out what I am going to do, as well as hunt for new weapon combinations. I just feel like I sometimes don’t have enough time to save everyone as well as continue the storyline like I should. I suppose, though, that it will get better over time.
Other than that, the game is simply amazing. The graphics are great, the gameplay is top-notch, and it’s exponentially better compared to the first title. If you enjoyed the first Dead Rising, then you will absolutely enjoy Dead Rising 2. Now go pick up a copy for yourself and join in the undead-killing action!
Second Opinion – Chris
If you love killing zombies (and who doesn’t?) then you’re going to enjoy Dead Rising 2. With unlimited amounts of undead to hack up, and dozens of weapon combos to try, you’ll be entertained for hours. Sure, the psychopaths seem a bit overpowered, but remember to stock up on a mixed drink or two and a couple of different weapons before going into battle, and you’ll do just fine.
The thing that I loved and hated most about the game was the time limit imposed on everything. Every mission has a timer, which means you’re going to need to book it to every single one if you don’t want people to die. Yes, you can skip some of them, and not be any worse for wear, but if you’re a perfectionist (like me), you’ll want to complete every single one of them. Oh, and if you don’t leave yourself enough time to complete the storyline missions, you’re out of luck. You’ll either have to load a saved game, start the game over (with your same level and unlocks still in-tact), or you can forget the story and just go around killing zombies.
This brings me to one really annoying thing. There are only 3 save slots (on the PC version at least). This means that if you are unwise with your time and don’t plan out your save slots properly, you may be forced into starting over. I don’t mind the inability to save whenever and wherever you want, just let me have a few more save slots if you’re going to put everything on a timer.
These complaints really are minor. The timers give a real sense of urgency to the game, which is appropriate for a zombie outbreak. It also makes you think about every single action you take. Do you beat up those thugs robbing the jewelry store, or do you leave them be so you can save a blushing bride from a psychopath?
My favorite aspect is the weapon combos. Finding and trying out different combinations brings back a sense of nostalgia from my younger days of gaming. Every time you talk to a friend that’s played the game, you have an overwhelming need to talk about your favorite zombie-killing weapons.
Bottom line: if you like killing zombies, you need Dead Rising 2.