Dead Rising 2 Update: Co-Op and Weapon Combinations

Because sometimes killing zombies by yourself just isn't the same.

For a game built around the dead-simple premise that killing zombies with improvised weaponry is more fun than using anything bearing the "military-grade" label, it’s nice to see that Dead Rising 2's most recent unveilings--weapon combinations and co-op play--are designed with a similarly down-to-earth approach. Co-op is a feature built into the game without an ounce of context explaining the presence of a second player, while weapon combinations allow for some ridiculously handcrafted tools of destruction. When not raiding in-game clothing stores to create the most absurd outfit we could find, those were the two areas of Capcom’s upcoming action game that we focused on the most at last week’s Captivate press event.

For those who don't follow the strategic dealings of big publishers, Dead Rising 2 is the latest in Capcom's recent string of Western-developed games. Though the 2006 original was created within the Japanese company's internal studios, Capcom has enlisted the help of British Columbia-based Blue Castle Games to develop this sequel. Thus far, it's a strategy that has led to some lukewarm results. Both Bionic Commando and Dark Void were the products of similar partnerships, and both were met with mixed reviews. Fortunately, Dead Rising 2 carries more reasons for optimism. The biggest one is that unlike the two aforementioned games, it's neither an original title nor a modern take on a retro classic. Dead Rising 2 follows on the heels of a somewhat recent and very successful predecessor, and that solid foundation gives it a good chance to become the most successful game yet to arise from this external development strategy.

So there's your caveat. What we've seen of Dead Rising 2 suggests a game that recognizes what made the original so great and doesn't try too hard to reinvent the wheel. The basic gameplay is largely the same, with you playing as one of the few survivors during a zombie outbreak with only 72 hours to make it to safety. Rather than being at a shopping mall, you're now in a sprawling Las Vegas-inspired casino complex. However, like most Nevada hotel-casino resorts, it's a place big enough to house more than just craps tables and roulette wheels. We split time between two areas: the Mayan-themed Yucatan Casino (which, in true Vegas fashion, somehow had a German bratwurst restaurant in it) and the Royal Flush Plaza shopping center, which felt a good deal like the mall from the original.

One area where the game veers most sharply from its predecessor is the inclusion of co-op play. You'll be able to play through the entire story either by yourself or with another player at your side. The pairing comes with a host and guest designation. The host gets to keep all the story progression for completed missions, while the guest keeps all the experience points, found weapons, and other various unlockables he or she stumbles upon over the course of the adventure.

While odd on the surface, we have to admire the matter-of-fact approach Blue Castle Games has taken with Dead Rising 2's co-op. For one, the story doesn't make any attempt to explain why a second player is able to drop into another player's game at any moment. Nor does the game bother with giving you the option to play as a different protagonist other than leading man/motocross enthusiast Chuck Green. Blue Castle simply realizes that open-world action games are more fun when you're able to share your creative exploits with someone else, and that’s especially true for zombie slaughter escapades like this one. It feels a lot like the co-op from Saints Row 2: only one character is visible during the cutscenes, but both get an equal cut of the fun--however much suspension of disbelief is required going into it.

The game will scale the difficulty to account for an added player, but Blue Castle maintains that there are distinct advantages to playing the game with someone else at your side. We're told that the most beneficial of these moments are boss encounters. Fans of the original Dead Rising will recall boss fights against fellow survivors, those who hadn't succumbed to the zombie infection but still posed enough of a threat that violent altercations became necessary. In Dead Rising 2, you'll encounter similar moments against deranged survivors, including one we were shown against a pair of attractive females clad in cocktail dresses who used abundant sexual innuendo to taunt the player during the fight. In this battle, the second player came in handy to balance out the fight and prevent a two-against-one scenario, though sadly, there was no defense against those occasionally cringe-worthy taunts. (We'd also like to point out how frequently we burst into laughter during the tense cutscenes leading to this fight. One of the developers had outfitted his character with a Groucho Marx mustache-and-glasses type of mask before the cutscene, and it was simply impossible to take anything seriously as the prefight dialogue unfolded.)

The other new feature we spent some time with was the weapon combination system. It's a feature we've covered before, but this time we got to see quite a bit more of it. Think of all the various and scattered objects in the game that can be picked up and used as weapons--everything from fire axes to stuffed teddy bears. Most of these objects have a partner object in the gameworld that they can be paired with to form a new, exponentially more ridiculous weapon. Our favorite, hands-down, was the weapon created from combining a stuffed bear and a light machine gun: the Freedom Bear. You just take your newly armed stuffed toy, plop him down in the middle of a zombie-infested plaza, and watch as he acts as a stationary turret mowing down any undead nearby.

Other weapons we got a kick out of included the Drill Bucket (stick a couple of power drills inside a metal bucket and jam it on a zombie's head like the world's most unsafe helmet), the Exsanguinator (attach radial saw blades to the spinning part of a vacuum), and the Blambow (combine a bow and arrow with dynamite to, well, you get the picture). There are dozens upon dozens more with varying levels of absurdity and effectiveness. There are two ways to go about making these weapons: either go with the trial-and-error method of taking two objects and bringing them to a maintenance closet workbench to see if they pair up, or unlock "combo cards" that tell you the weapon formula in advance. It doesn't matter which method you pursue, though racking up kills with a weapon you have a combo card for nets you double the experience points.

If there's one way we'd describe Dead Rising 2, it's "so far, so good." But there are still big question marks on the horizon, and the biggest is how the story will play out. We know Blue Castle is sticking with the same 72-hour timer system while expanding the number of save slots players can use, but we don’t really know much about the structure of the story missions and whether they’ll feel less stifling than the original’s. Hopefully we'll have a better idea of how those work as we get closer to Dead Rising 2’s August 31 release.

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Discussion

135 comments
harman26
harman26

WEAPON COMBOS MAKE GAME NICE AND BETTER THAN OTHER GAMES

art93
art93

man O man! i need to get this bad!! i got case zero and beaten dead rising over n over with only 1 achievement left, i must get this! afk...

darkzeroyosi2
darkzeroyosi2

there's a CooP multiplayer to PC but too bad its Online no LAN i guess they giving up those LAN stuff nowadays and why some of cool games are meant to be released in 2011? @_@' we're DYING here waiting, 2010 is a boring year they been releasing less cooler games bah!!!

Conduras
Conduras

how da hell can u duct tape nails on a baseball bat ? :D

kazumashadow
kazumashadow

they said we have 72 hours to finish but it is like real world time 72 hours? well i dont like timed missions and i think it could be a bit more time but 72 hours of fun seems pretty good

tokyoboywonder
tokyoboywonder

why don't game designers think that gamers actually have friends they wanna play with in the same room as them? Seems ironic that I have to play at home alone in order to play co-op...

jamerncc1701
jamerncc1701

i wish it was longer than 3 days why not 5 or 6 ... 7?

BigFH
BigFH

Looks really fun so far. I hope the mission structure works good.

R_Cue
R_Cue

the Co-op will only be online or also there will be an split- screen mode?

ur12b4got
ur12b4got

I'm stuck with the PC. I don't have a PS3 or Xbox360, so I hope the Co-Op be available for the PC version as well.

christerizer
christerizer

looks like a rehash of the first one with multi-player added hopefully the time based missions are done with because the game would have way more fans with out it.graphics don't look like they improved much either.hopefully its loaded with more than 50 hours of game play and a wicked leveling system like the first one.

redmachine
redmachine

I adored Dead Rising. Co-op all the way through Dead Rising 2? ya i'm in --- Big time.

badron11
badron11

As long as there's system link I'm in.

teknomonky
teknomonky

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

BallisstiXXX
BallisstiXXX

To all the people who are complaining about the AI: This is a tech demo show casing the accomplishments the developer made up to this point. Keep in mind it still has a way to go before it's finnished. Knowing Capcom, the final product will be much smoother.

methodguy
methodguy

yes! you can finally move while aiming your weapon

Perry-BoY
Perry-BoY

they never attack so whats the point....Yeah u can make ur own wepons but after a while thats going to ware off and ur going to actually want some gameplay, like some challange or something instead of just kind of funny? Atm l4d2 looks better than this but we shall c

sp1der81
sp1der81

looks awsome and cnt wait to make different weapons but till then im killing zombies with fellow gamers on left 4 dead 2

wario96
wario96

well WHEN i get a ps3 i just have to find a friend who has this game

redcloud12345
redcloud12345

my only problem with this and the first one is the zombies dont seem even remotely interested in the player. sure they kinda try to get you. but I want it to be like.. you shoot one. then the rest hear or see it. and they turn to you and start walking to you , about resident evil zombie speed. there is no real sense of panic in this it seems. it just seems you are walking around in them and they couldnt care less.

hierark123
hierark123

this actually just made me want to buy the game now

Wolf-5
Wolf-5

Co-Op zombie killing! Yes please!!

accretia27
accretia27

elvis and gordon freeman working together! hahaha

cossidae
cossidae

Hopefully it wont be as repetitive as the first. Though, that's kinda the impression I'm getting from this video. I guess co-op will be its saving grace.

aahov
aahov

cant WAIT to kill zombies with buddies. please come out tmrw instead

Gabe447
Gabe447

I can't wait :D i put a good 100hrs into the first one. :P

p4kman88
p4kman88

@ 5:26 "I DONT KNOW YOU! THAT'S MY PURSE!"

p4kman88
p4kman88

damn killing zombies is fun....killing zombies with friends thats priceless memories

XXGamerfanXX
XXGamerfanXX

I loved the first Dead Rising, which I still play it, and this game looks hella fun to play on CO-OP. Can't wait when this game comes out, It's going to be fun.

patriotsnake171
patriotsnake171

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

megatrunks
megatrunks

This game is all about fun but it looks too easy.

scotwolf
scotwolf

this is one of the games i am looking forward to this year. it's on my must buy list and can't wait it will be great fun

wario96
wario96

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Amauris96
Amauris96

this game looks AMAZING! Can't waittt [:

Wardogg101
Wardogg101

i can not wait for this game its going to be ace... loved the 1st game and i know the 2nd is going to be a success!! the co-op makes it all the more reason to be excellent!!

kleinster123
kleinster123

this has potential and could either be a really good game or a bad one. Any how it is shaping up pretty good considering that you can have a co-op player go through the entire single player campaign with you.

TheGreyArea
TheGreyArea

I think an Elvis Zombie would be more appropriate

FullMetalRoze
FullMetalRoze

Doubt I'd buy this game, because I never enjoyed the first one. :)

WoodzHorizon
WoodzHorizon

the entire problem of dead rising was that although there were thousands of weapons available only afew dozen were actually fun to use. making combinations could solve this problem. Or not

Crazyplayer042
Crazyplayer042

It looks nice for novelty, but the zombies are kinda stupid. They rarely seem to notice you unless you touch them. Also I realize that with so many weapons that animations can't always be top notch... but come on, how do you make a saw-blade vacuum, spiked bat, and electrified rake look boring? Millions of zombies to kill isn't a big deal if killing a few means you've seen it all.

leesempai
leesempai

(-_-) it's too much the same formula of the 1st game. Needs to be polished a lot more, like those animations always the same no matter what item you combine or the slow combos that fix the enemy position straigh in front of the player before doing the cut in half chop. The AI in the video also seems a bit zombie like :S

Jeff-Ryan
Jeff-Ryan

im gettin this game just for co-op mode!

sochio
sochio

it looks fun but the zombies look soooo easy i will preffer the zombis from resident evil 4 or 5