Capcom's Dead Rising was released back in 2006 and it succeeded in bringing a lighter side to the zombie apocalypse. It's now four years later and Dead Rising 2 takes the stage to give us a similar experience, but with more zombies, more weapons and more carnage. This time though, there's a new kid in town and he's called Chuck Greene.
Having lost his wife in the Vegas outbreak, Chuck is now trying to keep his daughter alive. She was bitten by a zombie and requires Zombrex medication to surpress the transformation. Unfortunately, Zombrex isn't cheap and in order to acquire the funds to keep his daughter safe he's forced into competing in a reality game show called "Terror is Reality." Chuck manages to win the show, but somehow zombies are unleashed on Fortune City and Chuck is being framed for the outbreak. So, he's now in a much worse situation than before and he still needs the Zombrex for his daughter - sucks to be him.
From this point on, players have to manage their time well. A 72-hour clock begins ticking down to when the planned rescue takes place and Chuck has to secure Zombrex for his daughter every 24 hours. What players do outside of that main objective is entirely up to them. There are key story events and also side missions which arrive via a radio transmitter. They're all time dependent though, so if the time expires, that opportunity is lost. Most of the side missions involve rescuing survivors, solving a problem for someone or escorting them back to a safe house. There are also some missions which involve taking down some psychopaths.
Dead Rising 2 has made these tasks a bit less arduous thanks to some improved AI. There's nothing worse than babysitting stupid AI, so it's a blessing that if a player can make it through a crowd of zombies, so will the AI. There are of course the odd survivors that need more help but players can actually just carry them making things far less stressful. The Psychopaths on the other hand are a bit more challenging. Approaching any without preparation is a surefire way to die.
It's worth noting that even with all this going on, the pacing of Dead Rising 2 is good. Keeping tabs on objectives and rescuing people is much easier this time around as there's always something to do, and it doesn't need to be done at lightning speed. The only thing that's really required is proper planning.
Pretty much anything that the player finds can be used as a weapon, whether swung, thrown, fired or exploded. That's not really a new concept, but what is new is the customisation options. It's now possible to combine items together to make crazy devices like a drill hat that you put on zombies. Players can also get access to various vehicles, and a motorbike which they can customise to some degree with weapons and paint jobs. Combat is really simple too. One button pretty much does everything, though gun based weapons can be shot using a first person camera and by triggers instead. But more importantly it controls really well for the mass carnage players can dish out; only the guns feel a little clumsy at first, but players will soon find themselves comfortable with using them.
Graphically, it's not by any stretch a masterpiece but everything looks as expected. It fits with the art style so it's far from bad too. Especially when you factor in the zombies, which considering the amount on screen at any one time, can be ridiculous. It's scary how the zones feel bigger than the first game and yet the number of zombies around is still insane. Though loading times between zones still fracture the gameplay, it's clear why they have to be there. The voice acting for the most part is good during cutscenes, survivors get a bit monotonous after a while, and Chuck doesn't actually move his lips outside cutscenes. The Psychopath scenes are aptly creepy and do a great job of actually making players cringe.
Dead Rising 2 has a lot to offer after completion. There are online modes, which allow 4 players to compete for scores. These also award cash and experience for the single player experience. Players can jump into co-op with another player to do the story too. After the credits roll the game also continues with overtime mode, which adds even more content. Considering players can restart the story at any point as well, keeping anything important they earned, combo cards, special clothes, experience, skills it makes replaying the game extremely fun.
Dead Rising 2 is a great experience that features a fun and interesting story and a ton of weapons which can be used to kill countless numbers of zombies. Sure, the combat can get a little bit tedious sometimes, but the sheer variety of weapons quickly dissipates this feeling. With the online modes too, Dead Rising 2 becomes a game that's definitely worth checking out.