Developers: Blue Castle Games, Capcom
Format: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Things You Might Like
- Customisable weapons
- Online co-op
- Large text font for easy reading
- Plenty of zombies to kill
Things You Might Not Like
- Reading whilst killing zombies is tough even for seasoned multitaskers
- Human enemies are still outrageously difficult
- Bland, predictable story
- Bland, uninspired voice acting
- Bland, anticlimactic soundtrack
- Bland, boring cut scenes
While killing zombies is fun for a few hours, Dead Rising 2 lacks the real hook it needs to make it fun for days.
3 out of 5 Hunks of Meat
Jonathan David Lim
One thing Capcom is famous for is making sequels that are unequivocally better than their predecessors. Mega Man 2, Street Fighter 2, Resident Evil 2 — not only are they great sequels, they’re often considered some of the best games ever made. Given this kind of track record, one would think that a sequel to the fatally flawed Dead Rising would be the next big thing.
Of course, it is hardly fair to review a sequel without giving a look at the one that came before. So here’s my quick, mini-review of Dead Rising: it wasn’t all that great. In fact, it was pretty terrible.
- though the ability to restart the game with your current stats is a huge plus, it hardly seems to make any difference in the long-run;
- the game is just too difficult, asking you to complete nigh impossible tasks, such as fighting a Jeep on foot, all the while pushing through hordes of zombies;
- and there was a rather serious problem for gamers who didn’t own HD-ready TVs, which made mission objective texts unreadable, and gaming frustrating.
Usually, when a game has such glaring problems as these, the developer would seek to take note and fix them. This time around, though, only the third issue is resolved — instead of tiny text near the bottom of the screen, mission objectives are emblazoned on the screen in impossible-to-miss block lettering.
Of course, this only brings up new problems. While the first game’s text was so small it was easier to ignore, this time around it’s not. Reading can become a real hassle when attempting to keep the ghouls at bay. Would it have been so hard to record voice overs for these irritating bits of dialogue? Or was it an issue of funds? Coming from Capcom, the latter hardly seems likely.
What is most likely is the fact that since the game was actually developed by Blue Castle Games, and only published by one of the best game developers in the world, it didn’t get the full treatment it deserved. This also might explain why they decided to not fix the issue of insanely difficult human enemies (a skinny hippy with a shard of glass is somehow more dangerous than a wall of zombies 100 feet deep), and why levelling up is more of a chore than a reward.
On top of this, the story is weak — typical save-your-daughter-before-she-turns-into-a-zombie fare — the voice acting is barely on par, and the soundtrack is nothing to write home about. All of which cumulate into one boring cut scene after the other, each one accompanied by long loading times.
Still, it’s not all bad. Its redeeming factor is the inclusion of the new weapons combo system, which allows you to duct tape together separate objects into one super-weapon. This is perhaps the only reason to actively level up, as with each level comes a new combination. Unfortunately, the ability to create your own combos doesn’t exist, so it becomes more of a matter of waiting around to discover what you can do, as opposed to trial-and-error experimentation. This, I feel, would have made the game a lot more fun.
The online co-op is also a big draw; the ability to drop in and out of either a friend’s or a stranger’s game to help them along is a nice inclusion, and makes killing human enemies far simpler. Of course, as always, you run the risk of dropping in on a player who either takes things too seriously, or not seriously enough. There is an option to keep invites private, if you’d rather not deal with pushy twelve-year-olds.
It’s a little depressing to think that, after so many great sequels, Capcom is putting out games like Dead Rising 2 that effectively break from tradition. But at the same time, it’s a relief to know they aren’t wholly responsible; only half. I don’t think I’ll be playing Dead Rising 2 for very much longer. Maybe Plants vs Zombies is more my speed.
So from my further reading and watching of numerous Dead Rising 2 reviews, it turns out you can experiment to find weapon combinations. Huh. If only I’d known that sooner. Another thing I would have liked to know how to do was the dodge roll, which would have been extremely helpful in that first boss battle.
Too late now, though. I’ve returned my copy of Dead Rising 2 and exchanged it for a few Blu-Rays which I will more than likely review in the coming weeks. Yippee!
Jonathan David Lim
Review by Jonathan David Lim, editor-in-chief.