Just Stay Dead: A Review of Dead Rising 2

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So we all know my opinion of the first Dead Rising game. I dinged it heavily due to escort missions, limitations on weapons, and above all, a ridiculous timer affecting everything I did. Now that Dead Rising 2 is out, how do I feel about a largely unchanged sequel? Well, that’s what you’ll have to read on to discover. Frank West the reporter is gone, replaced by Chuck Greene, a dude with a sweet jacket. Is a sweet jacket enough to make me like him better? Let’s find out.

"So, uh, I've gotta go kill zombies for a while. You stay here and don't turn into a zombie or anything, okay?"

From everything I’ve seen of Dead Rising 2- screenshots, trailers, and gameplay footage- the graphics have gained a significant boost. Reviewers keep knocking the game for the graphics, saying they aren’t as good as they should be, but from what I’ve seen, the game looks infinitely better than its predecessor. I’m actually a big fan of the way the game looks, as if a slight color overlay was placed on the new graphics. I’m just seeing more colors in this title than I saw in the previous one. Things looks smooth and the game plays smooth for the most part. I’m not going to take a point off or anything for having slight showdowns when hundreds of zombies are on screen at the same time. Just being able to do that is enough to allow for some mild slowdowns.

The gameplay is essentially the same exact game previously seen. Chuck can pick up just about any and everything to deal zombie-death with, though in this installment the number of items have increased quite a lot and varied themselves even better than before. While Chuck doesn’t have the ability to take snapshots like Frank did (good), he does possess the much more useful skill of combining items to form super items, such as a boat paddle and a chainsaw, or boxing gloves and kitchen knives. These stronger items deal more damage and last longer, two aspects I’m happy with. It’ll become a somewhat obsession to collect new combo cards to see what you can combine together.

I think I have my favorite right off the bat.

However, the controls still suffer from the downfalls of the first Dead Rising. Like Frank, Chuck is perfectly capable of wasting zombies by the street-full, but as soon as a psychopath shows up you’ll be lamenting the loose controls in favor of something that works properly for the situation. Encounters with the psychopath characters are frequent and usually unexpected, meaning that you’ll need to be in the habit of saving every single chance you get since much of the time you’ll go into a psychopath fight unprepared with awful weapons and no health. The psychopaths are a needed evil in the game, I guess, but they just aren’t fun to deal with. Killing zombies is satisfying, but killing psychopaths is just an annoyance between the good parts of the game.

The 72-hour timer is back for no good reason, though this time hinging the plot on a relatively interesting concept. Chuck’s daughter has been bitten by a zombie and is infected. If she doesn’t get regular doses of Zombrex, she will change into a zombie and die or something. That’s your main worry in terms of time and as something to base a timer on, that’s not too bad. Why the arbitrary 72-hours, I’m not sure, but whatever. You’ll still be asked to fight psychopaths and save survivors, but their AI is slightly improved over last time, meaning escort missions aren’t the most awful thing in the world. They’re still pretty awful, but things could be worse. The story and specifically the dialogue are more or less forgettable, but when you’re talking zombies, there is no need for a story.

You can kill zombies by ramming into them while wearing a moose head. That's great.

As a single product, Dead Rising 2 is a pretty good deal. There are some multiplayer modes, the best of which being a co-op campaign mode that makes the game far more manageable, as well as some competitive modes that are a one-play-then-done sort of novelty. Everything comes down to your opinion of the first game. If you hated the timer, the escort missions, and the wonky controls, Dead Rising 2 is just more of the same. If you loved the first game, you’ll love this one even more. If you were on the fence about the first one or this one, just give it a pass. No need to encourage this sort of behavior. I mean, I for one could do without zombies for a while. Say like maybe, forever.

Want more game reviews: Check these out:

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About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

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