By Zachary Currier
Dead Rising 2 is a survival horror game that pits you against hordes of the undead. You have only your wits to protect you – that, and an almost unending supply of household items to combine into zombie mutilating tools.
Dead Rising 2 continues on the previous game’s formula, which proves to be as successful as ever, and the new multiplayer and weapon crafting system are great additions to the series. It really is amazing just how much fun it can be to maim, behead, or otherwise massacre hordes of brain-craving zombies.
The game’s story centers around an ex-motorbike racer named Chuck Greene and his daughter, Katie, who has been bitten by a zombie and must receive a dose of the in-game wonder drug zombrex every 24 hours to prevent her infection. And if that isn’t bad enough, Chuck has now found himself in the middle of an unruly zombie outbreak inside of the Las Vegas-inspired Fortune City Casino complex. And to make matters even more troublesome, Chuck has been framed as the cause of the outbreak.
While the game-play controls remain relatively the same as in the previous version, the biggest new addition to the combat is the ability to craft your own weapons. Sure a machete is fun enough on its own, but how about you grab that broom handle and some duck tape and turn it into a head-severing pole weapon? Feeling more creative? OK, take that squirt gun and that fire extinguisher to make an ice gun o turn your opponents into undead popsicles. The game puts dozens of combinations at your disposal, all crafted from everyday items that you can find lying around the multiple stores and booths that fill the mall-like setting. The addition of multiplayer allows you to team up with a friend and slay zombies together, as well as play competitively in up to 4-player mini game matches.
Like the original, Dead Rising 2 sports a clock system that works to constantly push you toward the game’s multiple story-driven goals. Failure to complete certain events in the given amount of time will result in a cloud of mystery that will forever shroud the truth about the game’s underlying story.
But that’s not to say that the game is over; the player can choose to continue and simply have fun killing the undead in creative ways, exploring the entire map without worrying about time constraints, and saving the remaining survivors. And actually, this may be a wise decision for some players as the game lets you continue your save file into another replay of the game at any given time, allowing you to keep all of your gained abilities and increased stats, making it much easier to progress through the timed missions your second time around. In fact there is a special ending awaiting players who choose this path, which is just one of several endings that are available.
There are a variety of psychopaths that inhabit the game, all of which you as the player can choose to confront or not. And while these sub bosses can be difficult at first, they provide generous amounts of experience points and even some bonus weapons, which make some of the later missions even easier. Not to mention that these psychopath characters are just plain fun to encounter.
The only really obvious downfall of the game is the lengthy load screens that the player must endure when traveling between each area in the map. With the standards of today’s technology, the load times are just plain unacceptable. And also, some players may find the finer controls of the game, such as precise platforming and some of the combat psychics to be a little on the clunky side. But these issues are indeed a minor interference.
Dead Rising 2 delicately balances widespread destruction with thoughtful objectives. Just about every aspect of this game is entertaining, ensuring that you’re having a good time whether you’re fighting psychopaths, rescuing survivors, or just trying to find hidden secrets. The weapon-creation system continually rewards you with unique ways to kill your brain-starved foes, but it’s the tight story structure that provides the main draw. Constantly being pushed from one objective to the next robs you of any time to dwell on small problems. Dead Rising 2 is a great sequel to one of the most original open-world games available.
Dead Rising 2 is rated M for blood and gore, strong language, and intense violence. It was released September 28th, 2010 for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC. $49.99