Sunday, 3 October 2010

Dead Rising 2

So I got Dead Rising 2 a week or so ago, and I just finished my first playthrough this morning.

Set five years after the original Dead Rising, DR2 takes place in a world adjusted to the presence of the Undead. It seems that these Zombies are fairly well controlled, even to the extent that infected people can take a drug called Zombrex every 24 hours to stave off turning into a zombie. A massive game show, Terror is Reality (think American Gladiators with Zombies) exploits hordes of the undead for entertainment.

In Dead Rising 2, you play the somewhat lazily named Chuck Greene, a former motocross champion who lost his wife to the undead, and whose daughter Katey was bitten. In order to provide her with the ludicrously expensive drug Zombrex, Chuck must participate in Terror is Reality to earn an income. Of course, shit goes down and a zombie outbreak occurs. Chuck is framed for this, and must clear his name before the military rock up and purge the city of the Zombie masses.

The game is a relatively different story to the first, while taking place in a similar setting. You still rescue a colourful cast of survivors and have to take out the odd psychopath making life after the zombie apocalypse even more unbearable. I'd say the map is roughly the same size, and the gameplay mechanics very similar. The beauty of Dead Rising was that you could pick up pretty much anything and use it as a weapon. Dead Rising 2 goes one further, and you can pick up certain items and combine them, my favourite is probably the Knife Gloves, which is essentially some bowie knives taped to boxing gloves for some makeshift Wolverine action. This makes for an interesting gameplay dynamic, and some of these weapons are quite inventive. You get cards to allow you to make these items, although if you experiment yourself you can still make them, although you get less points. Also added is a periodic break in the story where you must find Katey Zombrex every 24 hours. You can find this by defeating some bosses, or buy it. Money is incorporated, which you can earn in game, although this is not a very efficient way to get it.

The game boasts an online multiplayer option, and it is executed rather well. Usually I avoid online play like the plague (har har), as the internet seems to be full of dickheads who spend more time playing games than anything else, making them impossible to beat. Add in a microphone so you can hear their inane chatter and it drives me to homicidal urges. The online play takes the form of the game show Terror is Reality, where up to four players compete in four random events. A few examples are "Zomboni" where you must run over zombies in combine harvester style vehicles and shoot the resulting zombie mash into open receptacles, "Pounds of Flesh" where you must wear a large antler helmet and attempt to flick zombies onto some scales, and "Ramsterball," where you must roll over zombies in large steal spheres. My favourite I think, is "Stand up Zomedy" where you have to grab as many props as possible and stick them to zombies. The first three events of TiR are random, but the final is always "Slicycles," essentially an event where you drive a motorcycle with chainsaws attached through crowds of unsuspecting zombies. I think what makes the online option of this game so good is that it's quite well balanced. You can come in and have a decent shot at achieving in it, and the best part is, you always walk away with some money you can use in-game. Finding Katey Zombrex isn't much of an issue when you can play a game or two of Terror is Reality and just buy it.

The game is decent in terms of difficulty. Bosses are not too hard to beat so long as you save responsibly and watch for your window to strike. It can still get frustrating, but you're usually well rewarded after the fight. It can seem a bit daunting trying to beat all of the psychopaths and save all the survivors, but I just did what I could during my first run through the game, and then attempted a more complete run on my second, where you keep your level experience, combo cards and skills. The great thing about Dead Rising 2 though is that it's actually a fun game to play. It was the same with Dead Rising, and DR2 is only improvement from there. Check it out.

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