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Dead Rising 2 Review (X360)

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Dead Rising 2 Review (X360)
Capcom
Dead Rising 2 is more of the same, but we mean that in the best possible way. You get a huge new area to explore, more and better weapons, smarter survivors, great characters, and hundreds of zombies onscreen at once to chop your way through. It is everything that made the original Dead Rising great, just turned up to 11. This is a sequel done right. Find out all of the details here in our full review.
Game Details

  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Blue Castle Games
  • ESRB Rating: “M” for Mature
  • Genre: Third-Person-Action
  • Pros: Nice presentation; tons of hidden goodies; survivor A.I.; combo weapons; fun, brutal gameplay; huge game world to explore; still feels like Dead Rising
  • Cons: Long and too frequent load times; somewhat clunky controls

The story follows Chuck Greene and his daughter Katey a while after the events of the Case: Zero XBLA game. Katey has been bitten by a zombie, but the medicine Zombrex keeps the zombie process at bay. Unlike Case: Zero, however, the Zombrex now lasts 24 hours instead of 12. It is expensive, though, so Chuck has to spend a lot of money to keep his daughter alive, which is why he enters a zombie-killing game show to earn some quick cash. After the show, however, the zombies break out into the gambling oasis of Fortune City, Nevada, and Chuck is framed for the outbreak. Now he has 72-hours to wait for rescue, but also to try and clear his name.

Chuck is awesome. Seriously. He is a great dad, and a nice guy. His daughter Katey is also the least annoying videogame kid ever. She is never a nuisance. And you would think that having to find Zombrex and give it to her every day would be a bother, but it really isn't. You can even go out of your way to find gifts for her and, believe me, it is totally worth it.

Gameplay

Capcom
The basics of Dead Rising 2 are exactly the same as the original game. Instead of one mall, you now have a couple of them along with a ton of casinos and a large outdoor area. The idea is that you wander around, kill zombies, find survivors and return them to your safe house, and fight an occasional psychopath that has gone crazy. You can enter all of the stores in the malls and use pretty much anything as a weapon. You can even dress Chuck up in all sorts of goofy outfits and hairstyles, which is fun. You also have to eat food or mix drinks in order to regain health. The different malls and casinos all have unique items, so fighting the zombie hordes to your full effectiveness means knowing where to find the right items to do the job. You will also stumble across other survivors, and you can lead them (or carry the slow ones) back to safety.

The core format of the game is the same as well. You have a 72-hour time limit to try and finish the story and save as many people as you can. You save your game in bathrooms. If you die, you have the option to load a previous save, or restart the story but you retain your XP and some key items you already earned. You aren't really meant to beat the game in one sitting, and are expected to restart and power up a few times. This caused quite a controversy with the original game as some people didn't seem to understand how to play the game correctly (they tried to do everything at once and got frustrated because they were at too low of a level to really do anything).

Still Feels Like Dead Rising

Thankfully, though, those parts of the game did stay the same even with all of the complaints. People didn't like the time limit and thought it limited freedom. If you want freedom, all you have to do is fail a mission and then you have more than enough time to goof around and do whatever you want. Heck, you have plenty of time to goof off even while you're doing story missions. People also didn't like the concept of having to restart the game over and over again. What, killing zombies suddenly stops being fun? Restarting the game means you can do everything more quickly and efficiently because you know where things are. It also means you are much more powerful as you have more health, stronger attacks, and can move faster. The only real change to the core system is that you now have three save slots for Dead Rising 2 instead of just one. I didn't need 'em, but they are there if you want to save before key boss fights or other things so you can see them again or try a new idea to beat them.

I'm glad not much else has changed, however, because taking out the time limit or fiddling with the XP system would have completely changed the flow of the game. We saw what the game would be like with a different save system and story progression in Dead Rising: Chop Til' You Drop on the Wii, and frankly, it was pretty awful. Dead Rising 2 still feels like Dead Rising, and that is a good thing.

New Tricks

Capcom
There is plenty that Dead Rising 2 does do differently, though, which is why it is the better game overall. First, and most importantly, the survivors you find around Fortune City have great A.I. now. In the first game they would get stuck and constantly get mauled by zombies and would die really easily. In this game, they are like freaking tanks that just plow through crowds of zombies and you don't really have to babysit them too much. You can charge around from one end of the huge game world to the other with 8+ survivors in tow with no problems.

Another major improvement comes in the combo weapon system. Now you can pick up items that have a wrench icon on them and combine them to make new, much more powerful weapons. Pair up boxing gloves with bowie knives, a machete with a push boom, chainsaws with kayak paddles, batteries with wheelchairs, shotguns and pitchforks, dynamite and footballs - there are around 50 combo weapons in total and almost all of them are great fun to use. It can be sort of a pain to round up the parts to actually build these items, but the maintenance rooms you have to use to build stuff are plentiful, so you are never too far away from one when you do ultimately find the pieces you need.

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