GSY REVIEW | X360, PS3, PC Friday, September 24, 2010 | 12:30 PM

Gamersyde Review: Dead Rising 2

Gamersyde Review: Dead Rising 2

After four years of a long wait, we are finally given a sequel to Dead Rising. While other franchises are released on a very regular basis, people had to be very patient to be able to play Dead Rising 2. The hardcore fans had a sneak peak at the game a little while ago when Case Zero hit Xbox Live, but it is truly today, on September 24, that everyone will be able to jump into what really is a homage to the George Romero movies. Have the developers managed to keep what made the first game original and challenging and has the game remained true to its roots? All the answers in our fully detailed review of the 360 version.




Zombieland

Even though the hero of the first game will be mentioned in the course of the story, West will not return here and so we are presented with a whole new protagonist. Chuck Greene is indeed traveling the USA with his daughter Casey and is about to face the worst possible ordeals in order to protect what is left of his family. His wife, one of the victims of the outbreak in Vegas, is unfortunately not part of the trip and she even gave them a horrible farewell present. Bitten by her own mother, Katey is indeed kept in the world of the living thanks to a very powerful drug called Zombrex. A drug that she needs to be given every 12 hours to prevent her from turning into a zombie. Zombrex will then be at the center of Chuck's preoccupations during all the dramatic events that fall upon Fortune City.

Because such a treatment costs money, the poor father has decided to take part in a sadistic TV show in which the contestants have to kill the highest amount of zombies to win the jackpot. Obviously, things are going to go really wrong and all hell will soon break loose in Sin City, leaving no other choice to Chuck than to fight for his own survival. In the 72 hours that will follow the outbreak, Chuck will not only be forced to clear his name from the accusations that present him as the person responsible for the outbreak, but also to find Zombrex for his daughter. As you can see, drama and tragedy are at the core of the storyline, which is counterbalanced by all the craziness and humor of the combat that awaits the player.



I will survive

The first time you discover the chaotic world of Dead Rising 2, it is difficult not to feel the same sense of loss than the main character. Much like Chuck, the player arrives in a place he does not know, in the middle of a crisis that seems almost too big to handle. Added to that, the feeling of urgency and danger never leaves as the clock keeps ticking, getting Chuck closer to the point of no return. Time is indeed of paramount importance in the game, and exactly like in the first episode, you will have to learn to live - or should I say survive - with it and deal with it. Every second you lose just visiting the many shops or wandering around aimlessly is a second lost forever that can very well turn out to be your downfall. Events happen at a given time, so when you hear about some survivors that need your help, you must think fast. Saving them is however not exactly what you could call a selfless good deed, as every time you bring someone back to the safehouse, you are granted some experience points that will allow Chuck to be better, stronger, faster without having to spend 6 million dollars. It works pretty simply: Stacey Forsythe calls you each time she sees something on the screens of the control room and you just need to pick and choose.

Most of the time, it does not get more difficult than simply following the arrow that is pointing you in the right direction, talking to the survivors and then bringing them back to the safehouse. Sometimes, they will need some convincing before they agree to come with you, or they will ask you to carry them or find something/someone for them. The good news is you no longer have to go nuts when they are with you, as the AI finally knows how to handle itself. Unlike the first game where you lost many of the survivors on the way back, it happens really seldom here, which comes as a relief I can tell you. Sure, it is not always easy to talk to them while surrounded by a massive crowd of hungry zombies, but aside from that, saving people is a lot more closer to a nice walk in the park than before. Like I said, it is also clearly worth your while as not only will you gain some experience, but you can also make money, discover very useful shortcuts etc.



Psychos

Unfortunately for Chuck, things are not always so easy in Fortune City, and he will also get to meet a very "nice" bunch of nutcases among the survivors of the outbreak. In such cases, spare your breath and get ready to fight, trying to make them see some sense is a just a lost cause anyway. The different characters you will encounter are obviously completely over the top and remind you of those of the first game: crazy, but most of all, lethal and deadly. A cannibal cook, a virgin groom, a weird fan or even an angry postman, these are a few examples of what to expect in the streets of Fortune City. Now just like before, you should be aware that you cannot meet such people without being prepared. Indeed, they are all much tougher than the rest of the enemies of the game, and there is real challenge to beat them. Sometimes, it is actually impossible to defeat some of them if your level is not high enough, because you have not gotten the dodge move yet for example, or because your life bar is too short to give you a chance of survival. The weapons you choose to carry are also very important if you do not want to see a game over screen way too often. The difficulty is that you never know what to expect until you get there, so I'd advise you to visit the restrooms as much as you can to save your game, just in case.

Thankfully, you are now given three different slots to do so, which makes Dead Rising 2 less frustrating than its big brother. Like for the standard survivors, there will always be a timeline to respect if you want to meet them, which means you won't always be able to gain enough experience to stand a chance. If it were to happen, then just put away your pride and tell yourself that revenge is a dish served cold. Indeed, the main principle of the game is that it is not possible to do (or see) everything during your first run. The experience you have gained at the end is kept if you start the game again, making things a bit easier the second time around. The idea is that you have to learn from your mistakes and that too much confidence can lead to a certain death. Know your enemy before going into battle.



72

In the middle of all this mess, Chuck will also have to investigate the reasons of the disaster, and keep looking for some precious Zombrex for Katey. Falsely accused of being the person responsible for this nightmare, Chuck has 72 hours before the Army gets to Fortune City to save the day and arrest him. Allies appear and enemies stand in his ways as he progresses into the story and much like with the psychopaths, being prepared is always key to success.

That being said, completing the main cases is never really difficult. Sometimes, you will obviously have to retry a few times before you nail a sequence, but overall, it seems to me it is a lot easier than in the first game. The best proof of that is that I managed to get the A ending at my first try, which I am not sure was possible before. Even in Case Zero, it was possible not to complete the main objectives in time. So unless you miss a rendez-vous, you should be able to get to the end without too much trouble. If you are too late for a main quest mission though, then you will not be able to find out the truth. No game over in such a case, you can continue to play the game and gain experience if you do not wish to load an old save. Even if you run out of time and cannot bring back some Zombrex to Katey, you are proposed to go on anyway.



Shopping

But Dead Rising 2 is also about these moments where you can completely lose it and yield to the madness of zombi slaughter. With such a huge crowd of undead people, you can let yourself become a real butcher and choose your meat the way you like it: bloody, boiled, fried, minced? You name it. Anything can be used as a weapon, from the silliest and most harmless object to the goriest one, usually reminding of the good old movies of the genre (Peter Jackson's Braindead comes to mind). Considering the size of the environment and the number of shops, you will have your share of exploration and a good amount of possibilities, provided you are a bit imaginative that is.

Which brings us to one of the new features of this sequel: the creation of original weapons by combining two different objects. Take for example a pair of MMA gloves, combine them with nails and you will get a very nice Wolverine touch. A leaf-blower can also be turned into a deadly weapon if you put some jewelery inside it, transforming it into a kind of jewel-thrower. There are so many different combinations that it is just impossible to name them all: the beer-helmet, the "blambow",(bow + dynamite), the Freedom Bear (Robot Bear + LMG) are just a few of the many examples I could give. The main challenge is to unlock the combo cards revealing the correct recipe and then find the appropriate objects. You can also simply try things and see if they work, after all, the use you make of your own free time is up to you.



Weapons are not the only things you will find in Fortune City though: food and drinks are vital if you want to increase your chances of survival. Like in the first game, you can mix two drinks together to create potions that can give your character momentary abilities, like a better resistance to damage for example. In the same range of ideas, magazines are scattered around the shops and streets of Fortune City, giving you different types of bonuses as long as you carry them around in your inventory. Sometimes it can give you a 25% experience bonus for killing zombies, or a 50% health bonus when eating food. Quite logically, the most interesting ones will be harder to find and will require a bit more exploration of your surroundings.

Eventually, and though there is no real point in doing it other than the simple fun of it, you can treat Chuck like a little girl's doll and dress him up in the worst possible outfits. Once again, there you have all the necessary ironical counterpoint you need and you have come to expect from a Dead Rising game. There is indeed nothing like watching Chuck in a tight mini skirt while he's chopping off zombies and doing his best to protect his daughter. It is even more fun as Chuck gets to keep the outfits you pick in the cutscenes, which is just priceless.



Clothes do not make the man

Gameplay-wise, things have gotten a lot smoother since the first Dead Rising. It is now possible to move whilst aiming with a firearm, and even though it is still far from feeling like playing a Third Person Shooter, it is still a nice addition. The game not being about using firearms from beginning to end, the fact that it lacks the precision of modern shooters is not that big a deal. That being said, the choice to make Chuck such a vulnerable character in the beginning may cause some frustration for some players. Because his skills are reduced to the minimum (speed, health, moves), Chuck cannot always deal with some of the situations he encounters. Again, I'm talking about the optional bosses that require more or less skills before you can confront them. The same can be said about the "real time" aspect of the game, without which is would not be Dead Rising. I am pretty sure some will be annoyed by the pressure that weighs on their shoulder, so newcomers might be a bit frustrated I guess. It is however what keeps the game interesting and what will have you come back for more after one playthrough.

On a technical standpoint, it is hard to forgive some of the game's issues. True, the increase in the number of zombies on screen has to be taken into consideration. However, it is still no excuse for the low framerate and the major slowdowns at times. It will never affect gameplay and it is not always that bad either, but it is 2010 after all. What's more, the game's graphics are clearly not among the best out there. The blurry backgrounds in the most open environments are a bit of a shame for example. Yet, the different shops are all filled with details and interactive objects you can pick up, use, throw etc. The created world is then totally believable and you soon forget about the first mentioned flaws.

The major problem the game suffers from is, to me, the fact that Fortune City is divided into several areas that are separated by awfully long loading screens. Every time you leave one of these areas, you have to wait for what seems to be an eternity, from 20 to 30 seconds even. Now just imagine how you feel when you realize that, after waiting for the next area to load, you have to go back to the previous one because one of the survivors has been left behind. In such cases, you can be forced to wait for a minute and a half (three loadings) to continue your way to the safehouse. At a time when games open loading-free open spaces, it feels a bit oldish, and it breaks the pace of a game where urgency is the main theme. And don't think installing the game on your hard drive will make things faster. It also takes a bit longer to save in this game than in all the other titles, which, when you combine to the rest, means you have to be a little patient when playing Dead Rising 2.



Verdict :


Dead Rising 2 follows exactly its predecessor's steps, but the 3 slots save system makes it a bit more accessible. However it's still a big challenge to achieve secondary missions and to beat its optional bosses, so don't expect to fully finish the game at your first try. The replay value of Capcom's title is one of its main assets with a lot of interaction with the world, a bigger map with more zombies and a lenghty adventure. Time management gives the game its full particularity as the player has to make some choices. Free time can be used to rescue survivors, or maybe you'll prefer to explore Fortune City in order to find some precious items.

Captivating, though sometimes also frustating, Dead Rising 2 should delight the numerous fans of the first episode, in spite of a few disappointing technical issues. For the others, the experience shoul be less traumatic, thanks to the new save system. Moreover, they should also enjoy the new cooperative mode if they feel they are not up to the game's challenge. No excuses for refusing to give it a go then. There's also a more competitive multiplayer mode since you can play "Terror is Reality", the TV show that opens the game. The interesting thing is that the money you earn in this mode can be used in the story mode. Unfortunately we weren't able to test those two modes, so we can't give our precise opinion. However it should without a doubt be warmly welcomed by most, if not all, gamers. To sum up, Dead Rising 2 may no longer be the surprise the original game was in 2006, and some might actually think it is way too similar. All things considered though, it's still a very solid game in the genre it created, thanks to a rather compelling story and a great atmosphere.

Early Developments
Escort boy
Psychopaths
Main cases
Zombie slaughter
Fashion victim
Environments & loadings

All comments

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Commented on 2010-09-24 13:00:59
nice review getting it today for pc.
because then the teachical weak point are gone^^

ps:have you played the co op?
Commented on 2010-09-24 13:02:29
Good review Drift. You pointed all good and bad things like a pro lol Just stared playing it and as a newcomer to DeadRising (played the first one for a very short time) I couldnt agree more with Your writing here. Yes its frustrating as hell and loadings are so ridiculous ( go back to get survivors that got stuck somewhere and then again go to previous area is really something You want to avoid lol) Just got to used to gameplay mechanism and then maybe I'll enjoy this game (and its loading screens xD)
Commented on 2010-09-24 13:12:26
Can we please see some Ninja DLC gameplay?
I read that the character animations changes to a more "ninja-like" when you use the outfit, so I want to see it, youtube has nothing.
Commented on 2010-09-24 13:14:01 In reply to Sath
Sorry, don't have the outfit. And I think you have more than enough gameplay footage for this game now. ;)
Commented on 2010-09-24 13:24:49 In reply to Driftwood
Posted by Driftwood
Sorry, don't have the outfit. And I think you have more than enough gameplay footage for this game now. ;)
Oh, its okay.
I hope someone uploads it on youtube.
Commented on 2010-09-24 13:45:00
shame about the framerate. It was a let down in case zero, and i really hoped the main game would of ironed it out.

I take it this was the 360 version? did you also play the ps3 version and have it show the same issues? or additional issues? Maybe at the start of reviews you guys should make a short side note on which version was reviewed, and if other editional versions were tested..

And don't take offense at that Drift. I know you can be a sensitive little flower.
Commented on 2010-09-24 14:01:32 In reply to bleachedsmiles
No offense taken.

Well, given the fact that we usually don't get the games in advance, when we do, we obviously can't ask for several versions. So basically, most of the time (in almost all cases actually) we can only talk about the one copy we get. Then I confess I did not mention the version I played because I thought it would show in the videos. Now, for those who do not want to see anything before playing the game themselves, I should have said it was the 360 version. To be fair, it is something we do sometimes. I did not think it would matter that much here. Plus, since I talked about the choice of installing the game or not, I did not think people would believe it was the PS3 version (on PS3 you either have to install the game or you simply don't, but you can't choose to do it like on 360). :)

Is my answer sensitive enough? :D
Commented on 2010-09-24 14:11:07
I suppose i can let you off abit if gameplay video footage clearly shows which version is playing.. although if it's a game i'm interested in i personally stay away from all footage shown.

I think the only issue when the version needs to be mentioned, and for that matter when a version that hasnt been tested should be mentioned, is when talking about performance.

Also... i believe theres an optional install for GT5. SO THERE!
Commented on 2010-09-24 16:24:56 In reply to Driftwood
Yes you can... I do it all the time. Just like you can for PSP titles as well. How long has it been since you seen a PS3?! That has been an option for at least a year or more...
Commented on 2010-09-24 16:29:45 In reply to aang001
Posted by aang001
Yes you can... I do it all the time. Just like you can for PSP titles as well. How long has it been since you seen a PS3?! That has been an option for at least a year or more...
More than two years thank you and, sorry, but to my knowledge, you can't install a game like Uncharted 2 even if you want to. I'm not talking about PSP. If I'm wrong then I'm sorry, great news. But you don't need to take that tone with me and patronize me. Thank you.

Maybe if Sony stopped adding new firmwares every 2 weeks, it would be easier to figure what you can or can't do.
Commented on 2010-09-24 17:27:33
So, same old loading times, same old dumb AI, same old mediocrity...WITH ZOMBIEZ!!!1 No thanks.
Commented on 2010-09-24 17:35:52 In reply to broman
Posted by broman
So, same old loading times, same old dumb AI, same old mediocrity...WITH ZOMBIEZ!!!1 No thanks.
Same dumb AI? Did you even read the review?
Commented on 2010-09-24 17:58:16 In reply to broman
Posted by broman
So, same old loading times, same old dumb AI, same old mediocrity...WITH ZOMBIEZ!!!1 No thanks.
lol

This time escorting survivors IS actually FUN! The AI is way, way better now. :D

Blue Castle fixed the things that didn't work and keep the rest ones from the first game. DR2 is exactly what one sequel should be - more fun than original with a lot more stuff to do!

But yeah...haters gonna hate.
Commented on 2010-09-24 20:52:53 In reply to Seth
Posted by Seth
lol

This time escorting survivors IS actually FUN! The AI is way, way better now. :D

But yeah...haters gonna hate.
Survivors AI isnt that bad all and when You get magazine that adds skills to Your team they can be pretty badass. Im during my first playthrough, didnt care for solving the story cases, just leveling up a bit and having fun.
Commented on 2010-09-24 20:59:59
@GeRaLTo - yup, i just give assault rifles to 3 rockers that escorting now. They kick the shit out of these zombies. Even one of the psychopaths was defeated from them and didn't count towards my achievement, coz it's not killed by Chuck and my notebook say only ''Located'' now. :)

got magazine that give me +25% PP from every escorted survivor. Nice.

Again, sorry for my bad english.
Commented on 2010-09-25 04:32:38
This message is in "Boulet Time" (TM), If you still *really* want to see it, click here

Commented on 2010-09-25 08:50:33
You must be kidding right ?
Commented on 2010-09-25 11:00:50 In reply to mustacio
@mustacio: again don't worry, when Gamersyde has to close because we can't afford to pay to keep it running anymore, you won't have to be bothered by the rare ads that make the site completely free for you.

How stupid is that comment seriously?

You know what, people like you (spoiled children who think we owe them everything and we should probably pay them for their visits here) are not welcome here. The team is composed of volunteers who give a lot of their free time to update the site so guys like you can stream or download (no ads when doing so \o/ but you still have to wait until the dl is over, what a disgrace!) high quality videos for free. Nobody makes any money, and the little money advertising brings is to pay for the servers that make it possible for Gamersyde to exist.

There actually are 5 people who are active on the site, but I am pretty sure someone as ignorant as you certainly believes it is the biggest team on the Internet, that not even GT can compare and they are also a lot poorer than we are. You must think we will soon be ruling the world thanks to the 30 second ads you are obliged to watch.

Now coming back to reality, if it bothers you that much to have to wait once in a while, don't anymore, just leave and never come back. Because after all, if you can't appreciate the fact that every single thing here comes for free, in the best quality on the Internet, maybe you should just create your own charity video games site so we can have a good laugh.

Hey, what do you know, here comes the little sensitive flower again. :)
Commented on 2010-09-25 17:03:17
^Well you do get free early games for reviews don't you?

Anyway, my strategy in this game is to completely ignore all story elements on your first run and just concentrate on grinding Chuck on skills. Then come back and start the game again with a buffed character.
Commented on 2010-09-25 18:50:51 In reply to Driftwood
Posted by Driftwood
@mustacio:
How stupid is that comment seriously?
You shouldnt even bother answering such ignorant comments mate, there are people who appreciate gamerysyde team work and they know how it is to run a site/write reviews and shit. Whatever happens You are the best GS.
Commented on 2010-09-25 18:57:56 In reply to plmko
Posted by plmko
^Well you do get free early games for reviews don't you?
Not always no I'm sorry to burst your bubble. Sometimes a friend of mine who works in a shop is kind enough to lend us a copy so you can have your videos. Sometimes I also buy it for me (Halo Reach, Darksiders, Tomb Raider Underworld, Infamous, Ghostbusters, Fifa, Dead Space to name but a few examples over the past few years). Publishers do not really give a damn about Gamersyde so why would they want to send us all their games?

But anyway, games are certainly not what would be the most expensive even if we had to buy them all (and we would not do that, we would simply buy those we want to play, which means you would probably get fewer videos). The equipment (cameras, computers...) that allows us to propose you high quality footage and cover game shows, the trips to LA, Tokyo or Cologne (so you know, we only go there the time the event lasts, it is not a vacation) and, above all, the servers, without which there would be no Gamersyde at all. Now that costs a lot of money for such a small site like ours.

You must also realize that anytime there is a presentation in Paris, I pay for the subway/parking lot/gas and I don't get my money back (and it's not that cheap believe me). It's not like Gamersyde is a big company that can pay for just everything. No expense account here. We are indeed lucky to receive a bit more games now than before (rarely in time for a review though), but it took some time and efforts. Now if you think free games should mean no ads, you're clearly wrong about how things can work in the long term. :)

But well, I guess I'm just losing my time again. Some of you guys think we owe you everything and that the little advertising we have is still unacceptable. There is certainly no way I can make you see some sense. So I'll get back to all my money and leave you with our commercial-packed-review. ^^

Thankfully, we also know that most of you guys support us and understand that we are doing our best, and we can never thank you enough for that. :)
Commented on 2010-09-26 02:13:10 In reply to Driftwood
Posted by Driftwood
@mustacio: again don't worry, when Gamersyde has to close because we can't afford to pay to keep it running anymore, you won't have to be bothered by the rare ads that make the site completely free for you.

How stupid is that comment seriously?

You know what, people like you (spoiled children who think we owe them everything and we should probably pay them for their visits here) are not welcome here. The team is composed of volunteers who give a lot of their free time to update the site so guys like you can stream or download (no ads when doing so o/ but you still have to wait until the dl is over, what a disgrace!) high quality videos for free. Nobody makes any money, and the little money advertising brings is to pay for the servers that make it possible for Gamersyde to exist.

There actually are 5 people who are active on the site, but I am pretty sure someone as ignorant as you certainly believes it is the biggest team on the Internet, that not even GT can compare and they are also a lot poorer than we are. You must think we will soon be ruling the world thanks to the 30 second ads you are obliged to watch.

Now coming back to reality, if it bothers you that much to have to wait once in a while, don't anymore, just leave and never come back. Because after all, if you can't appreciate the fact that every single thing here comes for free, in the best quality on the Internet, maybe you should just create your own charity video games site so we can have a good laugh.

Hey, what do you know, here comes the little sensitive flower again. :)
tl;dr LOL


but in all honesty, relax. i been coming to this site for a couple of years now and its one of my favorite sites and I appreciate it being free, but I was angry and needed to vent because I am getting sick of almost every site I got to now has 30 second ads every single video. gametrailers is free as well, very popular site, does the same thing. im voicing my anger, and most people just ignore it but I can see it has made you upset so forgive me. had a bad day.
Commented on 2010-09-26 07:53:31
I wonder why Capcom hasn't made these games available on the PC as of yet.

They do just about every other game.

[edit]
Oh! Looks like this one actually is coming to the PC, according to Wikipedia.

Awesome.
Suppose I should have looked at Gamersyde first, lol.
Commented on 2010-09-26 08:06:37 In reply to PlumbDrumb
Posted by PlumbDrumb
[edit]
Oh! Looks like this one actually is coming to the PC, according to Wikipedia.
Yup, this time they release it for PC and i hear the port is pretty damn good. :)
Commented on 2010-09-26 08:14:16
sweet
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About the game


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