Dead Rising 2: Off the Record Review
Extra Features: Online Co-op (2 players), Leaderboards
Capcom has recently released Dead Rising, Dead Rising 2 and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record with upgraded content for current systems. Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is a reimagining of Dead Rising 2 - what if the same events occurred, but, instead of Chuck Greene, Frank West was the main character? The game has the same overall plot of DR2, but it makes a few changes to the dialogue and some plot points here and there to accompany Frank's involvement. The game is considered non-cannon to the official plot of the DR series.
After the Willamette incident, Frank West rises to celebrity status after exposing the truth behind the zombie outbreak. Due to frequent scandals and controversies, Frank West's new status vanishes and he must find another way to keep his place in the spotlight. Frank travels to Fortune City and appears as a special guest on the Terror is Reality (TIR) game show in the hope of reviving his name in the media. From that point, the basic storyline for Dead Rising 2 takes over, but some parts do change a bit.
Off the Record fixes a lot of the problems that the original DR2 had. The game fixed the framerate and also added a few helpful additions such as a checkpoint feature. Off the Record runs at a near flawless 60fps on current consoles and looks fantastic. I did notice a few instances of slowdown, that brought the game down to about 10fps, but these instances were rare. Unlike DR1 and DR2, Off the Record really doesn't have much to improve besides the framerate since the game already ran really smooth on both PS3 and Xbox 360.
Frank West has access to all combo weapons that Chuck Greene had in DR2 along with a few more. The game has an entirely new section of Fortune City added called "Uranus Zone" and there are a few new bosses. Frank once again has his ability to take snapshots of situations with his camera. Players gain Prestige Points (PP) depending on how many situations are fitted into each photo. Different varieties of actions can be caught on film such as horror, brutality, erotica, and other types just like in the first game. If you're quick to the snap, you can gain shots that give extra points displayed by the "PP" icon just like in the original game. The photo feature is still a lot of fun to play around with.
The game does away with the TIR online multiplayer event and gives us a new sandbox mode. The sandbox allows one or two players to take on various challenges for extra points. When two players play the game, the host takes control of Frank West and the joining player controls Chuck Greene. The main story is still playable online with two players as well. Even though the sandbox mode is fun, it's a pity that Capcom didn't keep the TIR multiplayer since it was a blast to play as well.
Even though the story changes here and there, Off the Record still feels way too much like DR2 to keep me amused for long. Even though the game has a lot of extra content, I still can't get past the feeling that it feels like a DR2 Arrange Mode more than a new game. If you're coming into Off the Record directly from beating DR2, then you will most likely feel the similarities no matter how much new content the game has to offer. A good bit of the starting sections and main story stay the same. The new additions are nice, but I honestly get bored with seeing the same events unfold just like in DR2.
I don't see Off the Record as a bad or rushed game but it's definitely a game that will change depending on personal tastes. If you pick this game up without playing DR2, then you'll have a blast. If you enjoyed DR2 and are more of a Frank West fan than a Chuck Greene fan then you might enjoy Off the Record a lot as well. If you're like me and were happy with DR2 the way it was and feel Frank West is rather forced into the main story of DR2 with this game then you just won't get as much fun out of it. Off the Record is a great game and I do enjoy it a lot for the new additions but, just like in my review for the original game here on The Gamers' Temple, I still don't have as much fun with it as I did with the original DR2 since it all feels too similar.
+ Improved fps makes for smoother gameplay and cutscenes
+ Load times have improved
+ Improves many nitpicks with DR2
- Slight choppiness/slowdown at times
Final Rating: 85% - Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is a nice improvement on the original DR2, but it still feels too similar to DR2 for those that have already survived the Fortune City incident with Chuck.