A console port is bad enough, but when it's developed by Capcom, the desperation for a gaming overhaul is doubled.
+ Kill zombies wherever you want, whenever you want, however you want.
+ Fourtune City is a bigger place to explore.
+ The main potagonist is no longer a viagra addict.
+ You can mod the game, despite it being a console port.
+ Multiplayer co-op is a good idea.
+ The ability to create weapons could've been great.
- ...but its not, since most weapons are litterally useless.
- Unable to configure default keyboard controls.
- Bad framerate, and technically unstable.
- Graphics are muddy, and sound is terrible.
- Laughable adult humor. Saving a strip dancer from zombies? Are you serious?
- Playing 'Terror is Reality' is truely frustrating.
- The game's A.I. is so aweful that "friendly" A.I. attacks you.
- Forgettable characters.
"If you leave off the steroids, Frank, you can kill the zombies in less than an hour."
What do you call a toy helicopter that can kill people? A rotorsaw? Who knows. Anyway, welcome to Dead Rising 2. It seems you shouldn't have listened to the hype built up by the game because all you really see here is an ugly console port of what could've been classic. And I must say that a console port is bad enough, but when its developed by Capcom, the desperation for a gaming overhaul is doubled. It is a valid argument to say that there is nothing here for PC gamers other than alot of technical bugs and repetitive gameplay. But, on a scale from 1 to 10 if I had myself thinking that this was an ordinary game with the slightest bit of effort into the design for playing on the PC, it would be different. But Dead Rising 2 is just a mess and its disapointing that it got the same GS review score as Left 4 Dead which plays far better. That's a huge mistake on their part that I can't explain in this review, but I can tell you where it all went wrong with the latest and glitchiest game from Capcom; Dead Rising 2!
"Are you really going to go into the safehouse dressed like that?"
Frank West from the original Dead Rising, in my opinion, was a rerounding canidate for the worst video game character in history. Fourtunetely in the new installment, you assume the role of a completely different character named Chuck Greene. Chuck is aged and surrounded constantly by the game's many actressess like Frank but at least he looks and acts like a normal person, his skin isn't rotten, and his teeth don't have the hue of old Gouda. The old game's setting of a mall is replaced with both a mall and a casino ad size. Its called Fourtune City and its filled with zombies and loading screens.
Chuck Greene is a motocross contender for a Free-for-all point-scored sport called Terror is Reality. This violent underground activity pays cold hard cash to diehard daredevils for slicing up caged zombies (the same infected folks from Colorado) on mortorcycles with chainsaws attached to them. The game begins where members of an advocate group for "Undead Rights" called C.U.R.E. decide that they have had enough of zombies being mercilessly slaughtered and release the zombies from their cages. Bad idea. Of course, this results in the death of many people. Chuck Greene soon realizes that he somehow has been framed by a video camera for triggering the outbreak, so he's off to clear his name before the military arrive in 72 hours.
Many characters appear in the game along with Chuck. The main potagonist has a 7-year old daughter named Katie who was bitten by a zombie in the events of the prolouge DLC Case Zero, and she is kept alive only by the daily dose of a powerful drug called Zombrex. The other characters that happened to survive the outbreak and are holed up in the safehouse appear to be replacements of the original game's cast. This includes an agressively impolite security officer, a heroine news reporter, and a wannabe-prostitute detective agent. Chuck himself is fairly likeable, but everybody else talks and acts completely rediculous. Whether or not you like the cheese factor of purposefully funny voice acting or awkward flirting between characters is your business, but none of the characters have any personality to them. The original Dead Rising wasn't my favorite game of all time but it at least kept you excited about what was happening next a few hours after the inital outbreak. Dead Rising 2's cast can't even touch it; I played through the game without being able to care less about what would happen to anybody. This goes even for the survivors in the game that you encounter, which -- of course -- are more adult-directed figures.
"The devil sends the beast with broken katanas"
While the objectives are based in the storyline of the game, the big part of playing Dead Rising 2 isn't far off from its original and is all about the mindless slaughtering zombies that try to attack you in Fourtune City. There are pratically zombies everywhere in the city, though their numbers are never overwhelming. For this reason, players can simply decide where and when they want to start killing zombies in the game. Chuck has the ability to pick up all sorts of objects lying around - crowbars, axes, pipes, chairs, guns, chainsaws -- and he can use these things to kill them. Using such weapons simply requires you to click the left mouse button while aiming towards a zombie. And for the very first time in a Capcom game, the potagonist actually has the epic and completely overpowered ability to aim a gun AND move around at the same time. Good job Capcom; you make me so proud you bring a tear to my eye. This makes blasting zombies more interesting and much easier.
This is a dark humor game, so many weapons in the game that are supposed to be a crynical joke are like teddy bear heads, shampoo bottles, laser swords, bag purses, water guns, and leaf blowers. These are a few of silly weapons that are annoyingly common in Dead Rising 2, but while you can pick them up and use them, they do hardly or absolutely no damage to the zombies. Unfortunetely, there are FAR more useless 'fun' weapons than there are weapons that remotely hurt the zombies. Many weapons that actually inflect damage on your enemies are tedious to use. Take, for example, motorized weapons like chainsaws or cemente cutters; instead of being able to run through a crowd of undead with a violent machine revving in your hands, you have to left-click every single time to make Chuck do a single weak swip before slowly returning to his normal stance every time you want to attack. The same can be said for the sharp tomahawk weapon which has the radius of roughly one zombie per attack.
Dead Rising 2 gives you a 72 hour game structure and there is alot of mixed things about it. Chuck has so many things to do and try before the military arrive in 3 days and the game's story progresses through the time. Once your 3 days are up, the game ends and you have to start a new game. You lose your weapons and progress, but your points and stats are still retained and carried onto the online Leaderboard. To put it short, there is no option to play the game as long as you want, and that's a pity. It may have been an attempt to prevent you from exploring everything in one go and ruining the game for yourself, but that is not why it is frustrating. Its frustrating because all of the missions are time constricted. Katie has to be given zombie medication at 8:00 AM every day, and the rest of the plot-related goals all have certain times that must be completed dead-on. If you miss one goal (or even complete it an inch too late from the given time), the rest of the goals become obsolete and the game is effectively unbeatable. You can keep playing and hacking zombies if you want, but actually taking the punishement of trial and error to beat the game correctly is a largely uninteresting challange.
The game enviornment is broken down by different plazas of the cities; they are indicated by a sketchy backdrop far away and contained by loading screens. The game has lots of loading screens. Its not uncommon to wait for a loading screen, walk about 30 feet, and then sit through another loading screen or cutscene. The loading screens can take more than 10 seconds and these technical flaws tend to quake much of the enjoyment and smooth gameplay flow that you could've had with Dead Rising 2, or possibly discourage you from moving to areas that aren't critical to your goal.
In Dead Rising 2, Chuck starts the game as a cripple and gradually gets stronger when he gains experience by killing zombies, saving stranded survivors wandering about, completing objectives, or trying out new things around the city. When Chuck gets enough experience, he increases in level and therefore in speed, strength, skills, or health compacity. Even though the game ends in 72 hours, your levels and stats are carried over to the next game you play. By the time you reach the higher levels, the bosses and mission objectives that you previously thought were impossible become a snap. The level system limits to 50 which can be gained in just one week, but it is enough to give the player something to fight for.
The idea of an RPG leveling system feels like a cheap way to get the player to keep playing at first, but at the same time you can't wait to max it out and note the trail of unlockables along the way. The best part about the in-game leveling system is that it keeps the save system, a broken one, from drving you out of your mind. Save points are scattered everywhere in the game, but there are few too many to the point that they feel scarce. There's no autosave, so if you die, you have to start at the last save you visited with EVERYTHING you had (weapons, levels) reset. Its a grating trial-and-error mechanic because you will not know exactly where and when you can save your game but once you get more powerful and less liklely to die, this isn't as much of a problem.
Creating weapons is another big part of the game. In maintence rooms scattered around the game, Chuck can take up to two objects and combine them together to create a combo weapon. For instance, if he has a baseball bat and a box of nails, he can make a nailbat which does twice as much damage. If he has a football and a set of grenades, he can tape the grenades onto the football and make a footbomb-type weapon. Other combinations include a water gun and gasoline to make a flamethrower, a cannoe paddle and chainsaw to make a chainsaw-ended staff weapon, boxing gloves studded with knives or burning fuel and dozens of more possible weapons. Chuck collects Combo Cards by leveling up that will frequently give him ideas of the combinations he can make, but you can take anything you find lying around and combine it with another object to see what you get even if you don't have the card to it. It's fun.
Dead Rising 2's A.I. is beyond terrible. The survivors that Chuck will encounter in Fortune City can all be convinced to follow Chuck and fight the zombies alongside him. Chuck can set up waypoints or order follow commands to his followers but they hardly ever listen. Most survivors will run into a crowd of zombies unarmed and either begin to shove them or stand completely still and do nothing. When you use the follow command on a survivor, there is a chance he/she will just randomly start running away in the opposite direction. The game's A.I. is so aweful that "friendly" A.I. attacks you. One time in a non-scripted sequence, I was escorting a pair of survivors and when we were a few minutes away to our destination, the survivor with a shotgun suddenly blasted the head off of the other one and decided to start chasing me and shot me over and over again until I died.
Dead Rising 2 has a multiplayer mode included. You can play online in a competitive mode for Terror Is Reality while controlling the chainsaw-weilding cycles, and this is drab. Between the aweful handling of the bikes or the sheer luck-based gameplay, this is a drab mode and most people will want to leave it alone. The same is not true for the co-op play, however. Dead Rising 2 allows two people to mindless kill zombies together. This has the possibility of being downright hilarious because two friends dressed up in the exact same goofy attire can fight zombies in their own way or with each other; be it with machetes, shotguns, or teddy bears.
V. Presentation, (Graphics, Sound, etc.)
"Tempering the steel isn't pretty, even when you're killing zombies"
I try my best not to bring company bias into reviews, but it is starting to become clear that Capcom hates PC gamers. An example would be the controls in the port of Resident Evil 4 which were so bad that there was no exit button and mouse support, quite possibly the best thing about PC gaming, was not included. That trend continues in Dead Rising 2; while it does have full mouse functionality and works well with this, you are unable to configure in-game controls in Dead Rising 2. You're stuck with the controls that Capcom chose. Luckily, the movement controls (WSAD) and the 'E' key as the action button are semi-comfortable and are commonly default in most PC games (although I perfer to use the arrow keys and numpad), but the lack of customization is immediatly a huge minus. The biggest flonder of the controls is the way you have to wiggle your mouse back and forth when a zombie grabs onto you in order to shake it off. Wiggling the mouse was a horrible idea for a game input and it feels VERY uncomfortable and awkward. Its also not always responsive, and that can be said for some of the other controls as well.
The graphics of Dead Rising 2 are nothing special. The textures are extremely muddy and the game looks choppy even running on the highest graphical settings. AA looks like crap regardless of what setting you switch it to, and enabling Motion Blur simply slows down the framerate and does absolutely nothing else. An Alienware system was running the game and the framerate was still so slow that I could draw faster frames on a piece of paper with a pen. Bloom is okay for Dead Rising 2 but I don't recall seeing any HDR graphics or any other interesting lighting effects. There is no eye-candy in the game unless you count the half-stripped lady survivors in the game which, laughably, seem to have more graphical detail put into them than even Chuck himself. Sound design is worse, believe it or not. On high quality surround sound speakers, every noise in the game is weakly artifical and the weapon impacts sounds feel very soft and tame. Cutscenes were so inaudible I had to crank my speaker settings unusually high to hear what the characters were whispering about, but later I was frantically winding the volume down at the blazing noise quality of much better PC-and-console games like Mafia II and Fallout 3.
And it is possible that mentioning Dead Rising 2's adult-directed errotica would be giving it too much credit; the characters in the cutscenes pose in such goofy ways in an attempt to take this to such an extent that what would try to be funny and humorous just turns out to be drab and uninspired. Appearantly, whatever substance that has resulted in the infection of the populace to become zombies has also ramped up their sexual instincts as well, as female zombies always grab onto Chuck's crotch every time they attack. Duke Nukem 3D is a game that shows how sexual content can be merged with good gameplay and while I'm not a convential fan of such jokes, I can occasionally chuckle at a dark humor gag. I'm a freelance scriptwriter so I'm not a stranger to dark humor; it can be used well. Dead Rising 2, on the other hand, skews paper-flat by not using it well at all. Dead Rising 2 incorperates the elements of a cyber pervert's dream without constructing a decent enough game to support them.
"If I put this game disc into my paper shredder, how much PP do I get?"
Despite the obvious console port, rumors of Dead Rising 2 modifications and custom weapons have reached the internet. I'm not sure if this game is worth the perplexing nights of hard work like that, since once you beat the game one or twice you might already be done with everything it has to offer. This game is nothing to hold your breath over; its good for a bargain bin buy but it is not enough to make you get rid of the old Dead Rising (which deserves a perfect 10 by comparison). If you decide to buy Dead Rising 2, do me a favor. BUY IT ON THE CONSOLE.