Dead Rising 2 Review

The original Dead Rising was one of the flagship titles for the Xbox 360, one of those must-have titles for early adopters. It was the GTA3 of zombie games and raised the bar for all next-gen games. With a compelling narrative dripping with the Capcom style and the ability to play as you liked, there were glaring flaws with that game but everyone knew that with a few kinks worked out, the imminent sequel would be perfection. That sequel is finally out, some 4 years later, and let's just say that true to the Capcom way, they didn't exactly knock it out of the park.

You play as a former motocross superstar Chuck Greene as he competes in a deadly realty show that involves zombies and chainsaw-fastened dirt bikes. Set in Fortune City, which borrows itself from Las Vegas, the zombies break loose before you get out of the locker room and from there you regroup with the remaining survivors at a base camp inside of a mall.

The first game was limited to a mall, a very large mall but there wasn't much in variety in the scenery and even the items grew old before too long. If all you ask for is something new then this game answers that call by giving you two small malls, four casinos, a park, two “strips”, and a few other areas to spice things up. From there you have tons of items on top of the seemingly endless mix you had from the first game. New are the combo cards, which you gain as you play and allow you to combine eligible items to make newer more deadly weapons. This isn't as game-breaking as it sounds, and really only pays off over time. Thanks to the limited inventory and the odd item requirements for some combos, you may end up just making spiked bats – the first combo – for a long time. It makes for a lot of fun when messing around at the level 50, but you still feel a little left out of this feature for most of the game.

Gameplay is very simple: you grab something and you use it to kill zombies. Like the first game, there are Prestige Points (PP) that you acquire by doing anything positive and they function as the experience points to allow you to level up and gain more health, inventory space, combos, abilities, etc. You start the game without some abilities and are very weak. If you played Resident Evil you know how Capcom loves to make you as vulnerable to mistakes as possible, but in a game with a ticking clock and thousands of enemies it may have been a better move to give you a little bit of a bone from level 1, rather than make you earn it all from the ground up. Big complaints with item management: limited inventory space, hard to navigate your inventory, and it's tedious to juggle items when you're full. But just like the first game you retain your levels in new games if you start on the same profile, or if you restart the story. Unlike the first game, gone is the one-slot save system that forced you to play with any mistakes you made. Now you can save to a few slots and not lose the story if you mess up the timeline. However, there are no checkpoints, so accidentally stumbling upon a psychopath and dying could result in you going back a long way to your last save – the game does give you the option to restart the story each time you die, as if that's an acceptable solution.

Also reviewed on:
  •  · PlayStation 4