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October 24, 2010
Dead Rising 2 - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
24/9/2010THQCapcomBlue Castle12-4
Media HDD Space Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Getting personal with a zombie.
Rescuing survivors by getting them back to the safe house is another way to earn major PP bonuses. One of your friends in the safe house is keeping an eye on the security monitors and she gives you a heads-up whenever she sees someone who needs some assistance. Quite often survivors won't join until you've met some criteria, for example one girl won't come with you unless you find her mother first, another won't follow you unless Chuck is in his underwear, while others want Chuck to help them with a specific task before they'll follow him to the safe house. The PP bonuses are big enough to make up for any inconvenience the survivors cause you, and some will even give you a monetary bonus of their own for being saved. Money isn't crucial in the game but it can be used to buy ready-made combo weapons, as well as Zombrex and other items at pawn shops operated by enterprising looters.

Although killing zombies and rescuing survivors will take up a large chunk of your time in Dead Rising 2, there is also a story for you to complete. As mentioned earlier Chuck is out to prove his innocence and he only has 72 hours to do it. All missions in the game whether they are rescuing survivors, taking down psychopaths or helping Chuck prove his innocence, have a limited time to complete. Quite often you'll have four or five missions on the go at the same time, and it's just not possible to complete them all so you'll have to prioritise them. Interestingly you don't have to complete the story missions to complete the game failing one of these missions does not result in a game over screen. Instead you can continue playing the game and levelling Chuck up, but you can no longer undertake story missions and you will receive a very unhappy ending when you do complete the game. You're also free to restart the game at your current level any time you like. Both of these things are, if not unique, then certainly rare in videogames and I got a kick out of both of them. Failing the story missions gives you the perfect excuse to spend the full 72 hours killing zombies without distraction it may not be practical but it's a lot of fun. The story itself is interesting without being thoroughly engaging. You can expect a few twists and turns, though most of them aren't really surprising, and do little more than put more bad guys on Chuck's radar.

There are a couple of multiplayer modes in Dead Rising 2. Firstly there's a co-operative mode where someone can join your game (or you theirs) and help you out for a while. Only the host player is able to save their progress in this mode - the guest gets free experience and some fun, but nothing else. Co-op play is a lot of fun if you have someone who wants to help you out; killing zombies with two Chuck's is a lot more deadly than just the one. However if the other player is running around doing their own thing the gameplay falls flat neither player can go to other areas of the map, or enter story sequences without both players being close together. Perhaps because of this it can be hard to find a co-op game to join. There were plenty of times I tried to join another player's game to help out, but instead received a 'host rejected your invitation' message.

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Not Wolverine, this is Dead Rising 2!
The other multiplayer mode is 'Terror is Reality', which is an extension of the game-show you participate in at the beginning of the game. You participate in four mini-games with scores from the first three games determining each player's handicap heading into the final game. Whilst the first three games you play will vary, the final game is always 'Slicecycle' where you mow down zombies on your motorbike with chainsaws. At the end of the four events each player is given a certain amount of money for their performance. The good news is that any money earned here can be added to your single-player campaign, making this a good way to earn extra cash for the more expensive in-game items. Both modes ran smoothly in my time online, and both can be a lot of fun in the right circumstances. I don't think either mode will bring many users back long into the future, but they are welcome additions and do provide an opportunity to enjoy the mayhem with friends and other like-minded players.

I had a whole lot of fun playing Dead Rising 2 but the game does have a few issues worth noting. Firstly the game cannot be saved at any time; instead you have to make your way to a restroom to save. There are plenty of these around Fortune City but it's still a bit frustrating to be limited like this, especially when you're on a tight schedule. Also, there are only three save slots for your saved games. Ordinarily this would be fine but given you can restart the game with your current level intact at any time, there's a good chance you'll have a couple of games on the fly at any given time. Further to this there was one mission (6-4 I'm looking at you) that was impossible to complete with the time I was given because I completed the previous mission with so little time left, and the time carried over to the next mission. This meant I had to re-load an older game, but if you have just the one saved game ou'd have had no choice but to start again, which would be a major bummer given how close this mission is to the end of the game.

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Using a Swordfish as a weapon.
There was one design choice in particular that left me scratching my head Chuck can't run. Well he can, but only if he is pushing something like a wheelchair or trolley in front of him. On his own, Chuck is physically incapable of running at top speed, which in a world suffering from a zombie outbreak is an entirely curious omission. The last issue I had was the loading times; going between areas on the map can take around thirty seconds. Given the amount going on in the game this is forgivable most of the time, but it's a major pain when you have survivors in tow. If you leave an area without them being close enough to you you'll leave that area without them. This will happen a lot because you'll get caught up in the action, but the result is thirty seconds of loading before you realise your mistake, then thirty seconds back to the other area to pick them up, followed by thirty more seconds going back to where you want to be. If this happens a few times (and it did to me) you'll soon find yourself getting annoyed. A little warning message saying 'you are about to leave without your buddies, would you like to proceed' would have saved a bit of frustration here. With all that said these issues pale into insignificance compared to the fun you'll be having, so don't let them put you off.

Graphically the game is impressive, though there are definitely some rough edges. Towards the end of the game there are literally hundreds of zombies on-screen at any one time, and the game almost always chugs along smoothly. There is some occasional slow down but it is easily forgiven given the amount of on-screen action, as well as noticeable screen-tearing but this won't interfere with gameplay at all. The camera works well and it is quite rare to find it out of position. When it does happen it's usually as you're going through a doorway and the camera can't seem to decide which side of the door would offer the best view. There are also times when zombies get stuck inside walls, or fall halfway through the floor, but again these moments are rare and (for me at least) instantly forgivable. The environments look great and much of it is interactive too you can play slot machines and other mini-games in the casinos to earn (or lose) a few bucks, and the stores all contain realistic items most of which can be used as weapons. The sheer number of items that can be picked up and used as weapons is very impressive and really adds to the gameplay experience. Fortune City may not be the biggest game world out there, but it feels authentic and it's a lot of fun to explore.

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Yes, even a wheelchair can become a weapon in Dead Rising 2!
The sound effects are pretty cool in Dead Rising 2; the zombies sound much like they do in the movies, and the various weapons have excellent effects too, from the gratifying 'ker-chuk' noise your baseball bat with nails makes as it lodges into a zombie's skull, to the rusty-sounding chainsaw and lawnmower and even the electric rake they sound perfect and in many cases add a further layer of humour to what is an already funny game. There isn't much music in the game, but what's there is decent enough. The voice-acting is a little bit wooden, but the script has to share some of the blame for that. Often when Chuck dispatches a psychopath he'll have a one-liner to say, much like Arnie in his 80's movies. Unfortunately they are largely horrible; take for example Chuck's line to a psychopath who falls onto a buzzsaw "I saw what you did there". Ugh! The voice-acting is by no means terrible, but it just isn't in the same class as something like Uncharted, or Mafia 2. There is also a lot of text in-game that isn't voiced at all. Most incoming messages to Chuck are just text on the screen, and given the hectic nature of the game it can be tough to find a moment to read it. This is hardly a problem (the map-marker will direct you where you need to go), but it's a bit surprising that they aren't voice-acted.

I can honestly say I haven't had as much fun playing a videogame as I did playing Dead Rising 2 in a long time. The game is almost perfectly pitched for someone like me who enjoys nearly endless beat 'em up action with an irreverent sense of humour to boot. The first time you place the drill bucket on zombies head, or when have to stave off zombies with the ineffective water pistol because you have nothing else on-hand or when you cleave a zombie in half vertically these are laugh out loud moments. The variety of weapons and zombies of ever increasing speed and number mean you're not going to get sick of zombie-killing any time soon. Just when you think you might have had your fill you'll find another weapon like the electric chair or light-sabre, and before you know it you'll have lost more hours to the game. There are a few graphical issues but they pale into insignificance and you'll hardly notice them. The story isn't going to knock your socks off, but again, you'll be having too much fun to care. Obviously Dead Rising 2 is not a game for everyone - it's violent to the extreme - but for anyone who thinks destroying hoards of zombies in a multitude of humorous ways is going to be their kind of game I recommend Dead Rising 2 without hesitation.

Review By: Mike Allison

GRAPHICSAn amazing number of zombies on-screen at any one time, and a fully-realised and interactive game world. There are some technical issues, but to be honest you'll hardly notice.
SOUNDAn amazing number of zombies on-screen at any one time, and a fully-realised and interactive game world. There are some technical issues, but to be honest you'll hardly notice.
GAMEPLAYIt's you, a ton of deadly weapons and an almost endless zombie hoard to destroy. Honestly this game is just so much fun to play that I had to be chained to my desk in order to write this review...
VALUEThe story will take 12 or so hours to complete, and given you'll never complete every mission in that time you'll almost certainly play again. Multiplayer adds some longevity. There's multiple endings too.
OVERALLThis game struck a chord with me, and I imagine it will do the same to a ton of other gamers too. It's violent, funny and more fun than almost any other game I can remember. If killing zombies sounds good to you then you should definitely pick up this game.

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