Thursday, 14 October 2010

Dead Rising 2 Review

-Ahoyhoy internets, DaveHowitzer here, with a little announcement! It's time to introduce a brand new member of the CSNS family, my very good friend Steve the Llama who will be our new commentator on all things videogame. expect some reviews of the most kickass new console games in the future, starting off with his awesome Dead Rising 2 review. Check it out, give him some comments and support a borther trying to live the dream.
Love Dave-

Ah… Dead rising, if ever a game deserved a sequel it was this. For me, Dead Rising was one of the best things about the 360 (aside from perhaps Mass Effect). A combination of aneurism inducing difficulty (in parts) along with a simple yet addicting formula as likely to get you hooked faster than the finest Class A wonders available on the streets of Glasgow. Its premise simple, funny and brutal all at once: pick up random crap, kill zombies with said crap; repeat. Unusual features like the limited 72 hour game cycle, real time events which didn’t wait for you and the ability to spit with the power of a 9mm handgun all add to make an experience to warm the heart of anybody who loves to slay the undead.

            That is not to say Frank West’s odyssey of slaughter was not without flaw or niggle. Boss fights could be unfairly difficult until you levelled up a HELL of a lot; and at times the pace really goes out the window as you’re forced to hang around the safe zone for a cut scene to trigger for fear of missing it (and therefore the whole story) rather than... well having fun. In a nutshell the game really shone by the 4th or 5th play-through; by which time you were high level, knew all the boss strategies and could really just start messing around with it.

Get on with it!!!

But yes we’re not here to reminisce about our golden time in Frank West’s shoes, nay we are here (or at lest I am) to discuss Capcom’s latest effort Dead Rising 2. I will give my humble opinion on the game and its many features; don’t worry, I’ve covered wars you know. 

Chuck Green- a man of subtlety
Dead rising 2 takes place 5 years after the original’s Willamette outbreak. Zombies have reared their half eaten heads all over the US with the latest city to fall prey being Las Vegas. It is in Fortune City; America’s new playground of gambling, greed, gluttony and girls, we find our new hero ex motocross star Chuck Green. Chuck is competing in the controversial game show Terror is Reality in order to win money for his infected daughter’s zombie retardant medicine Zombrex (no really). All of a sudden, the zombies are let loose and fortune city is overrun with shambling hordes of ex-holidaymakers.

            It is here we begin the 72 hours before rescue in which chuck must prove his innocence, keep his daughter alive as well as save anyone he can. Sound familiar? In this respect yes, DR2’s story aspect is almost identical to DR1. Go here, trigger cut scene, kill psycho(s), save hapless idiot(s) all followed by a healthy dose of “Return to the security room”. To avoid the inevitable howls of “OMG SPOILERZZZ!!!” I will say no more on the story. Only that if you didn’t like the way the case files worked in DR1, you’re not gonna like how they work in DR2.

            Boss fights all have separate strategies and weaknesses to exploit, while at the same time retaining individuality and difficulty… until you discover that golden combo of knifegloves and an inventory full of yummy bullet-wound-healing food. In all honesty only the final two bosses require more than the time proven “Rush him!” tactic with they themselves being controller smashingly difficult. Dying at their hands will (and did for me) result in screams of “OMG HAXXX!!!” coupled with foaming streams of profanities and other iterations of gamer rage at a scale without peer as yet on this planet. Of course practice makes perfect, as with any game, but honestly those first few tries will have you fuming. Like I said about the story, you didn’t like psycho fights in DR1, you will not like it in DR2

            DR1’s successful ‘pp’ levelling system returns with a few tweaks and a whole plethora of new skill moves and abilities. Here Capcom made the right choice, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. On that note developer Blue Castle made the decision to completely omit the photography aspect of DR1. Personally I never used it and felt it was tagged on. It’s not missed.

            By this point you must be thinking “man, DR2 doesn’t sound anything special.” Well in those areas above… no, they are only marginally better than DR1 (if at all). However at this point in the review I would like to tell you why you should, categorically must buy DR2 if any iota of you’re being like to see a zombie killed in both hilarious and sadistic ways. The “grab any weapon you can” idea behind DR1 was a major selling point for the title, however was ultimately limited… compared to the sequel that is. DR2 has so many weapons you will never tire of experimenting with them. They range from your typical ghoul slaying lynchpins such as face smashing baseball bats and skull popping sledgehammers; to the downright silly including a weapon ,which for decency’s sake, shall simply named a “massager”. I will never tire of 52 card pickups in a zombie’s face. The standard grab it and go weapons are all fine and good, the game would excel with these alone. Combo weapons however are where you will find the most downright fun in DR2. Many of the items stockpiled and littered around Fortune City can be combined with one another to create quite simply some of the most fun and devastating weapons in gaming. I could blether for hours on them there are so many… it’s impossible to get bored with them. Each one is brilliantly devastating and brilliantly funny; be they efficient zombie crowd clearers or simple lol-inducing precision death dealers. Freeze guns, Drills with spears… Paddlesaw! Need I say more? My advice to you… DO NOT look up combos on the internet. Half of the fun is from the sheer giddy joy you get when random experimenting produces something fun and original to maim, kill and indeed burn with.

            After my first play through of DR2 I had mixed feeling. The pedestrian story mode left much of the frankly huge Fortune City unexplored; so much of the game had been missed. My suggestion to you is that in playing dead rising 2, get the story out of the way on you’re first play through. This will raise you to a respectable mid way to max level, giving you a choice selection of cool moves as well as greater health and a boosted inventory stock. There are hundreds of other much better things to do in this game than the story! Save people, battle psychopaths (the death scenes make them worth it), vandalise posters, build ludicrous weapons and yes kill A LOT of zombies. Dead Rising two is at its absolute best when you simply set out, don a silly outfit, wield an equally ridiculous weapon and get to the slaughter. I can highly recommend Dead Rising 2 primarily to anyone who enjoyed the first game. Many of the niggling issues are either gone or fixed (shooting has been improved astronomically!)  Secondly to people looking for some over the top, eccentric and often hilarious carnage; you could do a lot worse than buying this game. Trust me the amount of replay you will extract from this game in the long run far justifies your £40.
            Now I don’t believe in scoring with a number… a game could be 10 out of 10 but still a genre you hate. Instead I will conclude with an image I feel best sums up the feelings of frustration, horror and comical joy that I experienced playing DR2:

You can't spell Slaughter without Laughter
And Remember... Llamas are for life.

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