What do you get when you mix together a wheelchair, a car battery, an assault rifle and a trusty roll of duct tape? Maniacal laughter and lots of dead zombies most likely. The long-awaited sequel to Dead Rising makes its debut just in time for the Halloween season. From the get-go you will be treated to silly B-movie voice acting, a cheesy and ritzy Las Vegas setting and hundreds of different ways to creatively engage the undead in gory melee combat.
Being a sequel, Dead Rising 2 has a good number of references to the first game. You would probably have to be familiar with the events to fully understand the story. Players take on the role of motocross legend-turned-professional zombie killer Chuck Greene. Green is participating in a brutal reality TV show called “Terror Is Reality” set in the garish and glamorous Fortune City.
It is not all for kicks and giggles as the outbreak of zombies around the country has left his daughter Katey infected, and he has to earn prize money to continue buying her medicine that will keep her zombification at bay.
Unsurprisingly, events take a turn for the worst, and Fortune City ends up under zombie siege, leaving Chuck to fend for himself, his daughter and other survivors throughout the city for three days until the military lends a hand.
All of this begins to take on an increasingly convoluted tone as conspiracies are unraveled and friendships are betrayed. It is hard not to see some overtones of social commentary throughout the game, but it is done in a matter that is clearly meant to be taken as comedy. The game’s overall design and control scheme has not changed drastically from the first Dead Rising. The mission objective have players performing quests, helping survivors and fighting human psychopaths in addition to discovering the real cause of the zombie outbreak.
This is good for players who loved the first game, as many aspects such as AI companions, the saving system and controls have been tightened up and improved. One of the biggest draws in Dead Rising 2 has to be the combo system, which allows players to mix together various items with the help of duct tape in order to create deadlier and crazier weapons. This combo system opens up a whole new set of Chuck’s arsenal that he can use to create nail-bats, explosive footballs, paddle-chainsaws and much more. The graphics are not anything spectacular compared to recent games. Still, there are some technical improvements such as an increase in the number of zombies on screen and a new physics engine that allows bodies and parts to go flying everywhere.
The voice acting is well directed and competent even with the number of cheesy horror movie dialogue and one-liners present. There is certainly some satisfaction to be had when the multitude of undead groans, and meaty, brutal sound effects come together.
While there is little to complain about for players who enjoy this mindless gameplay, one of the annoyances would be the boss fights that the psychos present. The fights are sometimes tough, but certain bosses have attacks that are incredibly cheap and keep the battle going on far too long.
Multiplayer was not explored due to technical issues, but playing the main story through co-op and competing with other players online seems like it would be fun.
Dead Rising 2 is hardly the thinking man’s game with its horror B-movie feel and tubs of gore, but it does not try to be. This game easily falls into the category of a sequel that improves on the original while cutting out the awkward bits, leaving players to enjoy their zombie-slaying sessions with far less irritation and more blood-soaked glee.