Zombies are everywhere in games nowadays, it seems like you can’t start up a game without some kind of zombie trying to kill you, it is a relief to come across Dead Rising 2 which gives you a different set of zombie problems, figuring out what is the best way to kill them.
You have a massive range of weapons to use, anything from pistols to chainsaws to giant cuddly toys can be picked up to fight with, and that is before you get to the combo system, a neat trick which lets you put various weapons together to form an uber-zombie slaying tool. It could be a baseball bat with nails sticking out of it or a lizard mask with a firework sticking out of it.
Unfortunately there are some limits to the system and you will only really see the benefits of a combo weapon when you find its Combo Card which lets you gain extra experience points for every zombie killed. You can make the combos yourself if you know the formula but this simply unlocks a ‘Scratch Card’ which doesn’t give you the full benefits of the proper Combo Card.
It is a bit of a letdown to find your innovation isn’t rewarded fully, as it is when you find you often stick to the same set of weapons because of their durability and attack speed. However much fun it is to play a spot of golf in the middle of a casino you are just asking for a zombie to jump you from behind, fortunately in most cases frantic mouse wiggling will save you from taking too much damage.
The real fun lies in co-op, surprisingly enough I haven’t had any issues with GFWL yet in Dead Rising 2 which has made playing around with friends ludicrously fun. Having two versions of the lead character Chuck running around wielding cuddly toys and some of the most random costumes ever to exist is nearly perfect, there is just one small problem. If you are playing co-op just to have fun fighting the zombies you are still going to have to deal with mission timers. These are the things which fit in well with the setting but sometimes just get in the way of you having fun.
For example, in one situation I was attempting to rescue two eejits who had trapped themselves in the Arena offices after setting a fire in the doorway to their room to stop the hordes ravaging them. I looked at the timers and thought that I had time until the next story based mission started to get to the eejits and rescue them. After putting out the fire and freezing some zombies with the extinguisher I started the long trek back to the safe house with an eye on the ever shrinking timer.
As I approached the safe house with the two fools in tow I got a message, I had failed the story mission because I was unable to get back in time for the lady watching CCTV to tell me what she had seen. I still wonder why she was unable to simply phone me and say ‘Go here to find out more about the so-so flimsy plot’. Yes the timers do work well in making you prioritise what to do first, but at times they just don’t work at all well.
Multiplayer impressed me, I wasn’t expecting anything at all good, but it really is worth spending some time in. Four contestants battle through a series of mini-games competing for cash prizes which you can take back to the single-player game. It isn’t a world-beating multiplayer mode, but for the chance to earn some quick money it is worth checking out.
It isn’t a perfect game, but by god you can have some excellent moments playing it. Get it, dress up in some crazy clothes with a stupid haircut, grab a baseball bat and start killing some zombies.