Friday, December 30, 2011

Review: Dead Rising 2

[This review was unfortunatly delayed last fall, due to a lack of content I decided to finish it up and release it now. Enjoy.]
I have been looking forward to Dead Rising 2 for as long as I possibly could have known of its existence. So now that it's here, it would be wrong of either of us to write the review without letting the other one doing so as well. With that said, enjoy the review!

  • Developed by Blue Castle Games - Published by CAPCOM
  • Reviewed on 360 - Available on PC, 360 and PS3
  • PEGI: 18+ / ESRB: M
  • Reviewed by: Tobbii Karlsson

The original Dead Rising had a story written in a way that reminded you of mystery novels or detective stories with cases unfolding and pieces falling together at each stop in the story. The sequel does the same but puts a little bit of an action spin on it all. If the first one was a mystery TV series, the sequel is more of a full length action film. That's not to say either is better than the other, both stories work well and the differences let them stand better on their own.

The atmosphere itself is tense from time to time but often lets you drift off into that goofy Dead Rising mood if you wish too, there's a lot of heart put into making sure the game plays out as serious as possibly giving the setting and it works really well. However, the last part of the game feels a little out of place and could probably have been done better. Without spoiling anything I will simply say that certain events could have been better off left out.

Dead Rising 2 doesn't look perfect. The graphics are certainly not bad, but they're not that sharp compared to what you would expect from a game in this time and age. Some effects, like flames, look terrible to the point that they remind me more of something out of an early PlayStation game rather than something released for our generation of consoles. With that said, the graphics are mostly good with a few issues from time to time, at least it all blend together very well.

The voice acting is great for most characters, some however have the classic Capcom decease of bad voice acting, one of those is early plot-central character Rebecca. The music is far from as memorable as the first game, but handles the job of setting the proper mood right and the rocking tunes for the psychopath fights are just awesome.

The game controls very much like the original Dead Rising. It still works great and the few adjustment such as the new dodging controls work just as well as you would wish them too. There are a few things like the use button feeling a little bit too universal that will annoy you from time to time, but aside from that the core mechanics work great. Aiming and shooting has been improved by letting you draw your gun with the left trigger, previously used for Frank West's camera, and shoot with the right trigger like any other game on the market.

You will also use the triggers to control the vehicles of the game rather than accelerating and decelerating with the face buttons as in the original, no big difference as they both work really well. However, from time to time you might experience a small delay in the attack mechanics, so far it hasn't been a problem for me while playing but it still deserves mentioning as it could be a problem for other players.

The biggest changes in Dead Rising 2 are the combination system and the multiplayer. The combination system lets you combine certain objects with each other to make improved weapons and such. It works good and there are a lot of combinations, there's no denying that this is a positive addition to the franchise that makes the game more fun and varied. The multiplayer comes in two varieties, the competitive game called Terror Is Reality XVII and the cooperative play in story mode.

The cooperative play works just the way it sounds, you invite your friend to play as a clone of Chuck while mowing down zombies. It makes the game even funnier and enjoyable than what it normally is and is a great addition. However, it does not come without flaws. Every time the host saves his game the coop comrade will be kicked out of the game and far too often will the game simply tell you that your friend was unable to join forcing you to reset your game.

The competitive play is very fun and holds a large variety of different games where you must kill zombies in odd ways. The games are randomized and you play four games per multiplayer round, however, the last game is always the same game called "Slicecyles". Most games are fun and there's bound to be more than one game that you will find funny, the problem lies in the games forced matchmaking.

You can only play with your friend if you play in public in which you get no money, no leaderboard ranking and no achievements. If you want to play ranked, it's matchmaking and only matchmaking, this is quite a shame seeing as Capcom let you play on manually selectable servers in previous games like Resident Evil 5. However, if you and your friend is currently in an "Xbox Party" the chances of matchmaking including you all greatly increases.

Aside from that the game plays like you would expect, the same save system and the same zombie killing. Dead Rising 2 still has the animation break whenever you change the look of your character, something that I personally find annoying as it has cost me a lot of my life plenty of times. However, if you keep zombies far away it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Dead Rising 2 plays great but it's far from as good as it could have played.

The original Dead Rising had a lot of replay value, adding multiplayer and combinations to the mix makes it even better. I am not even close to enjoying everything of this game and if the first game is any indication it will take a lot of playing before I have. There are several different endings and the addition of unlimited PP for leaderboard rankings lets you have a lot of fun with the game even after you've reached the level cap. There are few games that offers this much to do these days, and that's something I'm very thankful that Capcom and Blue Castle Games knows and understands.

Dead Rising was a blast, Dead Rising 2 is a bigger blast. While the game feels undoubtedly familiar, there's so much new fun stuff that it makes the little details feel like a new game in itself. Dead Rising 2 is one of the most fun games I've played all year, I just hope Capcom plans a Dead Rising 3 as well as I can't wait to see where they would take it.

Final Evaluation:
8/10 - Great Game

Tobbii Karlsson played Dead Rising 2 for a total of 20 hours.

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