Dead Rising 2: Case West Review

By Lauren Alessandra on January 10, 2011

With the success of Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, it was hardly surprising when Capcom announced that there was a second downloadable title on the way. However, unlike Case Zero which prequels Dead Rising 2, Dead Rising 2: Case West takes place afterwards, as it follows Chuck Greene in his attempt to clear his soiled name. Frank West makes his first appearance since the first game and teams up with Greene to help clear his name by infiltrating a Phenotrans facility. Of course, no Dead Rising game would be complete without its ensemble of zombies who moan, bite, strangle, and vomit all in hopes to make you their next meal.

The game starts where Frank and Chuck first meet. Although the news reports state that Chuck is the cause of the zombie outbreak, Frank chooses to believe in Chuck's innocence and so they head into the Phenotrans facility and are promptly greeted by a bunch of blood thirsty zombies. As the story progresses you learn more about the connections between Phenotrans and the outbreak and even more sinister things the facility has been up to.

Since this is a sequel to Dead Rising 2, in order to fully understand the plotline, you really need to have played the other games beforehand. There are some characters featured that this game gives no information about and expects the player to already know, which is fair enough considering this is a DLC, not a full sequel to the previous game. However, even with this prior knowledge, the game doesn't really have much substance. Aside from the ending, nothing really happens throughout and the few cutscenes there are don't really actually add anything. The inclusion of Frank West is nice though and while it is a bit random, he meshes in well and also helps out quite a bit when fighting through zombie traffic jams.

To those familiar with the series, the gameplay of Case West is almost identical to the previous Dead Rising titles. When fighting without any weapons, Chuck can use either his regular punch attack or by holding the attack button, he can use a special move which will knock over multiple zombies. There also plenty of skills which Chuck can learn as he levels up. These can be used while holding a weapon even though most of them don't require one. Stomping on a fallen zombie's head is just one of the many things you can do. With each successful skill move, you are then able to earn PP which will allow you to level up increasing strength, speed, health, inventory, and give you even more skills to choose from.

With that being said, the fighting in this game still focuses heavily on using weapons and, thankfully, there's always something lying around for you to use in order to bash some drooling zombie's face in. When first starting out your inventory can hold up to about 5 items but this increases as you level up. You can choose from huge selection of weapons that can be anything from a massive novelty syringe to a can of whipped cream. You can even stuff a zombie with a grenade, if you desire, then stand back and watch as their limbs burst and their blood splatters everywhere. For those who like range weapons there are also a few guns to choose from such as a shotgun or a hand gun, but you have to be aware while you are shooting that you don't get snatched from behind.

Also, there are the custom weapons which you are able to combine in a maintenance section which can prove to be quite useful. In this game there are 7 new additions from Dead Rising 2, including the Shocker, which you can make by taking a defibrillator and two trays, or a lighting gun, which can be made with a cattle prod and a pulse rifle. Some of these weapons have two attacks much like the regular weapons and can go from just killing one zombie at a time to killing a whole slew of zombies at once. With the custom weapons, your character will gain much more PP with each zombie kill.

Another way to gain PP would be helping people in-between the main story missions. Since the game gives you a lot of time to spare, rescuing people and getting things for them seems to be the best way to go. With each one you can gain considerable amounts of PP, allowing for easier level ups and less boredom while waiting. Or you could also run around and kill security officers and zombie wardens which can actually prove to be quite difficult since they don't die very easily always have an endless supply of bullets and cattle prods to stop you. The only logical way to go up against a security guard without getting hurt would be to use a gun of some sort, however, the guns in this game caused more problems than anything else.

Aiming is extremely sensitive in this game so in order to actually shoot anything specifically you need to shift the left analog stick very softly to wherever you need it to be. However, you also need to consider if how much time you have before either your opponents' gun shoots your life to zero or a zombie catches up to you and starts nibbling on your ear. It's much easier to simply take the hits from the guard and use a heavy melee weapon to take out these annoying guards. That or just ignore them all together

The play area is very small and it's pretty easy to get around aside from the occasional zombie build-up. In each area there are always a ton of zombies to go around and kill. There are no markers for a lot of the people you need to save so it's better just to run around a lot and listen for anyone crying for help. The way point marker also is a huge help for finding mission objectives, however, it's not always the best at telling you exactly where something is. This problem normally happens when you need to climb stairs or when you are looking for a smaller object in a room.

Graphically, it's on par with the full Dead Rising 2 title, just a little bit more condensed. There are less zombies and naturally, the area is much smaller. The music is quite minimal too, with nothing really standing out aside from the Dead Rising main motif. You'll hear music when combining your items and when you go into the cafeteria there's normally something playing, but it's not something that you will remember very easily.

The big draw of the game is the ability to play co-operatively with a friend. This can be done with random people who will just take control of Frank West in your game. However, in terms of the single player experience, it's rather short and aside from just killing zombies, the appeal won't last that long. Trying out all of the different skills and custom weapons might help to prolong the experience for a little bit, but it's not going to last too long. You can also try and find the various costumes for Chuck to wear too.

Final Thoughts

Dead Rising 2: Case West is a bit of a disappointment really, because aside from the co-operative play, it doesn't really offer anything else that's original. Sure, there are a few hints at a story and there are some new custom weapons, but that's about it. If you've never played a Dead Rising game before, it's worth checking out, but if you have, there isn't much to see here.

The return of Frank West
Some new custom weapons
Slicing up zombies never gets old
Co-op is a nice touch
Very small amount of story
Gun mechanics are still as poor as ever
Lacks any real originality
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