Dead Rising 2

The world has changed drastically since 2006. Back then, _Dead Rising_ was a huge hit, placing Frank West in a shopping mall full of zombies, with three days to solve the mystery of their appearance and escape. Whilst the game was based on countless B movies, with a stereotypical plot, dodgy voice acting and hordes of mindless, shuffling zombies, it garnered an A rating from all who played it. The game had its issues but felt like a cult classic. Now, it’s back for a second outing – but can it address the issues of the first game and retain the magic of smashing zombies in the face with a parasol?

From the outset, _Dead Rising 2_ seems to copy its older brother perfectly. The plot is as ridiculous as ever, managing to fulfil all the stereotypical characters we have come to expect whilst delivering some of the blandest voice acting since Lara Croft in _Tomb Raider II_. Chuck Green, your character, is a decent bloke, mutilating hundreds of zombies in the game show ‘Terror is Reality’ in order to pay for drugs for his daughter (who, surprisingly enough, will transform into a zombie if she doesn’t receive her daily Zombrex). On top of this, his wife was killed by zombies and he’s constantly tormented by other participants in the show. No wonder he lets loose with a chainsaw with so much anger.

Willamette Mall has gone, replaced with the bigger and glitzier Fortune City (which looks and feels like a Butlins’ take on Las Vegas). Before you latch onto the word ‘City’ however, be warned – _Dead Rising 2_ isn’t open world. In fact, it’s just a bigger mall, with an outside space (like the original) with different malls and boring casinos surrounding it. The charm of the first game, of walking into a shop, being able to pick up a cash register and throw it at the nearest zombie is still here, but the casinos don’t seem to follow the same formula. There are plenty of chairs to throw around and slot machines to play, but they aren’t as fun as the mall-type setting.

_Dead Rising 2_ can’t even escape the confines of the first game. With 72 hours until the army roll in, Chuck has to help other survivors, defeat psychopaths, medicate his daughter and prove his innocence (as he is blamed for the mass zombie outbreak at the beginning of the game). This leads to a system that gives you the freedom to enjoy concocting new ways to kill zombies whilst restricting you heavily with other obligations and a stringent time limit. Especially on the first play through of the game, where running equates to strolling through treacle, this can seem virtually impossible. If you fail to medicate your daughter, or follow a lead in time, the story stops. You can carry on playing reaching an ending where the definition of ‘fail’ can’t even comprehend how much Chuck messed up, or restart the story, a hugely frustrating endeavour if not for the fact that experience gained carries over. On the plus point, it forces you to follow the story and once you have completed the game, the restrictions fade away.

With no restrictions, this game is fantastic. Fortune City is begging to be explored, as weapons can be combined with others to form nail bombs, fatal wheelchairs and a zombie attracting stick of dynamite. It’s great fun experimenting with different weapons and they all give more experience for kills, plus last longer before breaking. Furthermore, starting the game at a higher level makes the game easier and more enjoyable. On the first play through, some psychopaths are virtually impossible to defeat, unless you come stocked to the brim with painkillers (two bottles of vodka, mixed) and powerful weapons. Even then I usually resorted to hiding in shops or behind scenery, which isn’t the funnest way to spend 10 minutes whilst a fat man in PVC runs around with a giant pink chainsaw. Trust me, the game is that ridiculous.

But that’s what makes it fun. Sure, the draw distance is awful. The zombies are a bit boring in comparison to Left for Dead and Red Dead Redemption’s new DLC Undead Nightmare (which is BRILLIANT). The multiplayer is dull (but useful for gaining money quickly) and co-operative gameplay only succeeds if you aren’t playing with a fat, 10 year old American.
However, when presented with a playground littered with shuffling, moaning undead creatures, you can’t not have fun. For people new to the series, pick up Dead Rising first. It’s cheap and brilliant. For gamers who have seen everything in Willamette already, give this a go. Mowing down zombies with a chainsaw equipped motorbike has never been so enjoyable.

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