Dead Rising 2 - PS3 Review
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Zombie movies are among my all-time favourite horror movies. From the more comedic 'Braindead' and 'Sean of the Dead', to the serious yet still entertaining 'Dawn of the Dead' series, zombies provide an entertaining backdrop for any movie. Given that, there's no reason to believe zombies in a game can't be just as entertaining. Capcom seems to have realised this, and have released a game with more zombies than you can point an endless variety of pointy weapons at. Is Dead Rising 2 an instant classic, or should the dead be left in peace? Read on.
|Flamethrowers kill zombies - confirmed!|
The story picks up on the set of the 'Terror is Reality' TV show where our hero Chuck Greene has just finished mowing down zombies on his motorbike equipped with chainsaws. It's a dirty job, but one he's been forced into so he can earn enough money to pay for the Zombrex medication his daughter Katey needs to stave off zombification thanks to a zombie bite she took a while back. After collecting his winnings Chuck sets off to find Katey, but along the way there's a zombie outbreak, setting off a chain of events that comprise Dead Rising 2. Chuck is able to locate Katey and they make their way to a safe house, but not long after arriving Chuck discovers that he is being blamed for the outbreak, and someone has video to prove it. According to established protocol the military won't be coming to save any survivors for a full 72-hours so Chuck intends to use that time to clear his name. To do this Chuck is going to have to run around the zombie-infested Fortune City, which is another videogame take on Las Vegas, to find proof of his innocence. Along the way he will also need to procure a daily dose of Zombrex for Katey as well as rescue any other survivors.
There may be a number of missions to complete in Dead Rising 2, but there's no doubt most of your time will be spent laying waste to the walking dead. The safe house you're staying in is part of a large shopping center, which is adjoined by plenty of casinos, a shopping strip that runs through the middle of the map as well as the arena where the 'Terror is Reality TV' show is filmed. Every one of these locations has a veritable smorgasbord of makeshift weapons for you to pick up and use on those dastardly zombies. Just about everything you come across in-game can be used as a weapon - pot-plants, advertising signs, tables, chairs and vending machines may look like part of the scenery, but in a pinch they'll also help you clear a path through the zombie hoards. Luckily you'll come across far more useful weapons like knives, swords, guns, chainsaws, baseball bats and golf-clubs. You'll even come across a large range of novelty weapons like water pistols, a bag of marbles (watch those zombies fly), toy helicopters and innocent-looking robot bears. As well as weapons you will find food, drink and magazines around Fortune City. Food and drinks restore your health, and if you find a blender and combine any two food or drink items you'll make a more potent restorative that also grants you a bonus like reduced damage or increased speed for a short time. Magazines add bonuses too, and they apply for however long you keep the magazine in your inventory. The bonuses vary from things like extra gambling luck, increased durability to weapons of a specific type , or making any survivors with you harder to kill.
|Time to smack dat!|
One of the first things you'll learn in Dead Rising 2 is that you can combine specific weapons to make better, more potent weapons. For example the humble baseball bat becomes a zombie-killing machine if you add some nails to it, and zombies won't know what hit them if you combine the sledge-hammer and fire axe. Any weapon with a blue icon above them can be combined to make a combo weapon, and you'll have a lot of fun trying to figure out which combinations are going to work. The game will help you in this regard by giving you 'combo cards' occasionally when you level up, and others can be found around Fortune City (movie posters often give Chuck inspiration). Once you have a combo card, that weapon will give you a sizeable PP (DR2's equivalent of experience) bonus when you kill zombies with it. Particularly in the early stages of the game this is an excellent way to speed up your levelling-up. You don't need combo cards to combine weapons – if you come up with a workable combination you'll be given a 'scratch card', which shows you the combination is valid but doesn't give you any PP bonus – you need the combo card for that.
Most weapons, particularly the combination variety, have a standard and strong attack. The strong attack is launched by holding the button down and some of them are a real hoot. The baseball bat with nails gets slammed into the zombie's head and it takes Chuck a real effort to pull it out, whilst the broadsword will cleave zombies in twain vertically. Obviously this is not going to be to everyone's taste, and it's safe to say if this is not your idea of a good time then Dead Rising 2 is not going to be the game for you. It is full of moments like these and they provide much of the humour and entertainment to be found in the game. Chuck doesn't need weapons to be a zombie killer; his fists can be lethal enough, and as he levels up he'll unlock more and more melee attacks. Chuck really must like his wrestling because many of the moves he gets are taken directly from the WWE – there's the DDT, the elbow drop and the power bomb, as well as other moves more likely found in a street fight like the curb stomp. Chuck certainly has a ruthless streak, and he's more than prepared to unleash it on the zombie hoard.
|Visually Dead Rising 2 is fantastic.|
Interestingly, though unsurprisingly, it's not just zombies that stand in Chuck's way. In the course of his travels around Fortune City Chuck will come across people who have snapped due to stress at the zombie outbreak. These people are referred to as 'psychopaths' in-game, and defeating them will earn Chuck a healthy PP bonus. They are definitely harder to kill than your average zombies, so you'll have your work cut out to defeat them. Along with the PP bonus psychopaths will drop unique weapons, all of which are stronger and more durable than regular weapons, though just like regular weapons they have a limited life-span and will break long before you've had your fill of them.
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