Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dead Rising 2 Review

The multi-platform sequel to a popular 360 exclusive, Dead Rising 2 builds on the same formula as the original. You play as a reality show competitor turned scapegoat for a zombie outbreak at a Vegas-like resort. You are working to find out who is really behind the outbreak while also keeping your doctor medicated so she can survive the ordeal.

Through the game you will encounter survivors to save, psychos to kill and hundreds of food/clothing/weapons to fiddle with. The focal point of this game is zombie genocide. You will have the opportunity to kill loads of zombies that are littered throughout the plaza.

This is the addicting part. The collecting and exploring is fun but the real fun is finding the new and creative ways to kill zombies. You can use traditional  melee weapons and guns as well as a multitude of other items. One of the greatest additions to the game is the ability to combine weapons. You can use this to take something that is an everyday item, like a mask, and strap a battery to it to make it a zombie electrical current. The combining of items is rewarded by giving the player more experience per zombie kill, and the weapons have a longer durability. There are very few games that offer such a wide range of choices on how to play. That is quite a feat for any game to accomplish.

Durability, as well as a few other quips, have polarized the gaming community and their opinion of this game. Here are some in-game quirks that may deter you from enjoying Dead Rising 2.

Dead Rising 2’s durability system allows for the game universe to feel more realistic and to keep the player from being unstoppable. If each weapon in the game did not break, the player would not need to explore and experiment with the weapons in the game. The durability also adds a layer of anxiety to play. It is a blast to tear your way through crowds of zombies.  But when your weapon breaks and you find yourself surrounded and defenseless, you’ll feel more anxious. That is the important part about this game mechanic. Without the weapons breaking, you’d never need to try out new ones. Also, due to the durability of weapons, the game gives emotional depth to the player's experience. You can go from having fun to fearing for your character’s life, all due to this mechanic.

Dead Rising 2 can suffer in the minds of some because of the choice to include time in the game. The main storyline, as well as the side quests are all available for a set number of in-game hours. This requires players looking to complete all the quests to make strategic decision on what events to complete, and in what order. Whether it’s heading back to the Safe House to give your daughter medicine, or having to risk the lives of the survivors following you just to complete the next story mission, the in-game time system can lead players to make some tough decisions. This makes what seems to be a open world adventure game into something more like a survival action. 

When writing about this game, I fought with these decisions and how they affected my opinion of the game. In the end, they helped create emotion, a sense of urgency, and most importantly, weight behind each decision. The story is shallow, but the experience is interesting and the game is a blast to play. This game is perfect for zombie fans, and great of anyone looking for a unique gaming experience.

This is a difficult game to suggest to everyone but with the inclusion on co-op story mode and a Gladiator-style online multi-player game, Dead Rising 2 is a deep enough experience worthy of a full price purchase.

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