Dead Rising was a popular hit with fans back in 2006, so popular in fact, that when Dead Rising 2 released in 2010 it quickly became the fastest selling Xbox Live title at the time. Several years have passed since players were invited to return to the zombie slaying action in Fortune City, and with the years passing zombie games aren’t that much of a new thing any more, with many developers cashing in on the successful genre and its rise in popularity. But there is something about kicking objects into massive hordes of zombies to see how many it takes down, that just never gets old. Which is why I jumped at the chance to return to the misfortunes of Fortune City, as Dead Rising 2 arrives on Xbox One.
Dead Rising 2 takes place five years after the events of the original Dead Rising, with players taking on the role of Chuck Greene, a former motocross champion forced to take part in the game show, Terror is Reality, in the fictional town of Fortune City, Nevada. Your task? To win the prize money required to buy his daughter Katey her expensive Zombrex medication – a daily medication that suppresses the zombification process in infected survivors. After the show, the large supply of zombies are released into Fortune City, with Chuck framed as the cause of the new outbreak. As Chuck and Katey arrive at an emergency shelter, Chuck promises the initially reluctant security guard that he will ensure Katey gets her Zombrex on time till the military arrive in three days’ time to rescue the survivors.
As if running around a zombie infested casino town in order to find Zombrex wasn’t enough to deal with, players must also work alongside the instinctive and story focused news reporter, Rebecca, in order to prove his innocence to the world whilst hunting down the real cause of the zombie outbreak. This is done in an identical way to the original Dead Rising, with players following missions known as cases that play out at specific times over the three days. Dead Rising 2 case missions work much the same way as the original, with the failure of a single case file closing down the rest of the story. But with save points much more frequent this time around and prompted saving opportunities popping up after completing missions, Dead Rising 2 will have players less likely to be repeating large chunks of gameplay or losing any amount of progression that afflicted the original.
Whilst gameplay is pretty much identical to the original outing, Dead Rising 2 has a large number of improvements over its predecessor that can make for a more enjoyable experience. Whilst the addition of save points during the main story is a delight, the real game changer is the custom weaponry. You see, whilst Dead Rising 2 retains many of the classic items seen so far, as well as adding many more, being able to throw these items together in a maintenance station to create a custom combo weapon that deals damage to the masses, makes for a much more desirable zombie experience. Throughout the game I often found myself fascinated with sticking a drill in a bucket before attaching it to a zombie’s head, or attaching katanas to a pair of boxing gloves. These are just a couple of basic combos, and more advanced options meant sticking several items together at once to create crazy weapons capable of taking down hundreds of the flesh eating monsters in one go, is most definitely possible.
Another brilliant addition to the series in Dead Rising 2 is the inclusion of multiplayer. This comes in two forms – competitive and co-operative. Whilst the competitive side is certainly a great option for those looking for something a little extra after finishing off the main story, my time with it was severely limited to just a few games due to a sheer lack of players taking part. This is a real shame as the options it brings certainly add good value to an already great game. For the competitive section, players take part in the previously mentioned Terror is Reality game show in which players chase down and kill zombies in order to gain money. Each game takes place over several rounds with points earnt from each placed into a table system to define the winner at the end. Money from this can then be taken back into the game’s single player and adds a nice way to save up for optional Zombrex found throughout the various shop outlets throughout Fortune City.
The other multiplayer option is co-op and this is the way in which I played most of the game. In co-op, players are able to team up to play through the entire game together; this includes all case files as well as the overtime mode that is unlocked by earning one of the six endings. One thing that must certainly be praised is just how well the co-op works, because whilst many games that offer co-op gameplay remove features to ensure a perfectly smooth gameplay experience, in Dead Rising 2, everything seen in single player works exactly the same when teaming up. The only real difference being that players are able to revive each other with food should they go down, and being able to work together to tackle all the different missions and bosses throughout the game, makes for a truly enjoyable experience.
Of course, being a remaster there is the inclusion of full 1080p visuals and all the other fancy stuff for those that are interested, but for me a good remaster is a game that not only offers a great gameplay experience, but also offers some nice new content to the fans. Unfortunately, this isn’t something offered in this latest iteration of Dead Rising 2, and that is most definitely a shame, but even with my not so demanding wishes for new content ignored, Dead Rising 2 still has a lot to offer and is certainly worth playing.
Whether you’re looking for a good helping of zombie madness before Dead Rising 4 releases this December, or just in the market for a top notch zombie title, those willing to part with a little cash in order to pick up Dead Rising 2 will not be disappointed.