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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dead Rising 2 - game review

David Brown

From all the media coverage this game has been getting in the recent weeks, let me start by saying one thing, this game is a game of epic proportions. The advertising campaign, in general, has been to show the sheer fact of weapon combination. I do however see a few drawbacks in this. While this is a great selling point, I believe the commercials only show the tip of the iceberg. With that being said, I would like to highlight this truly great game.

From the story that we are told, Dead Rising 2 takes place 5 years after the original, which took place in the large Willamette Parkview mall complex. The first game had so much to offer in that it allowed you to go about the story at your own pace and do things your way. You could choose to follow the storyline and uncover more of the backstory with each ticking minute or you could explore the mall and “play” as you chose.

The sequel expands vastly upon that aspect of the first. You play this time as Chuck Greene, a father desperate to find the Zombrex that his daughter needs, while finding a way away from the zombie epidemic that has exploded around him. This is a game where you play as you choose. You are free to follow the storyline, which this time has been thankfully expanded. The clock that plagued the first game has been slowed down a lot. Maybe it was just me, but I felt like there was plenty of time to explore and rescue survivors. The time crunch of the first game seems to have been lessened.

The focus of this game is definitely on the item creation mechanic. You take two items and find an engineer bench. It is at these benches that you combine the items in order to yield deadlier weapons. One great example of this the spiked bat, a weapon you can make early in the game. You get this weapon by combining nails and the baseball bat; this creates the aforementioned bat that cuts through zombie flesh like a hot knife through butter. The spiked bat is just the tip of the iceberg here as there are many other combinations. Combination cards that show new weapons can be found via posters on walls, by rescuing survivors, or defeating psychopaths.

The zombies in this game are plentiful and as varied as the many weapons you can use or the costumes you can wear. It seems that throughout the city you can always find a different zombie. The great thing is that just when you think you have seen all the zombies that the game has to offer, a story event triggers and new enemies show up. The main story itself takes place over the course of a few days and as described earlier revolves around saving your daughter and escaping the city. The only gripe I have about the story is that it makes you help your daughter every day at the same time. It is not the fact that you have to help her; so much as, it seemed that every time I had to help survivors I would get back to the safe house having to wait around to help her before I could continue. Where the last game kept you going nonstop I found a few areas of slowdown in this one.

In the end though the single player is a great step up from the first Dead Rising, the story hear seems to really have a steady pace throughout, and the inclusion of the weapon creation really give this a step up and qualifies it as a story that is better than the first in every way. The best part of all though is that there is that the single player is not the only thing offered here. There is also the Terror is Reality multiplayer mode to help extend the game play.

Terror is Reality allows four players to compete against each other in a number of rounds, in the mini game style similar to a morbid Mario Party with Zombies. One game has you utilizing cannons to shoot bowling balls at zombies perching in doorways. Another has you outfitting your motorbike with chainsaws to mow down as many zombies as you can in a set time limit. There is a lot of variety here and the best part is that all money you win here directly transfers to your single player game, so you can have your fun online and then go buy items you want from in game pawnshops.

There is also a nice co-op mode where you can drop into another player’s game. There are instances where you will be playing and an alert will let you know that someone wants to join. This is nice especially when you encounter a tougher psychopath or just want to have some good fun with a new friend. The best thing about this type of co-op is that it encourages teamwork over competition, which is always a great aspect when trying to survive the zombie apocalypse.

Overall this is a great game and a must have for anybody who even liked the first game. There is so much to do and the replay value is just so high that you just cannot help but pick up this fun game. There is a nice option to where you can import your user level from the XBOX360 Arcade game that came out a few weeks before this. Do not hesitate to shamble over to your local retailer and pick up dead rising. It is a great game for zombie fans and action gamers alike.

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