by Christopher Park
previewed on X360
Can't Stop Now; This is Zombie Country
Zombies have seen a sudden resurgence over the past couple years, practically to the point of over-saturation. They are always a viable antagonist – they outnumber the player, a lack of a human conscience lets you blow them apart with zero moral gravity weighing on your shoulders and lastly because killing things is the most straightforward way of interacting with a video game. Dead Rising 2 seems to really get this in spades. Building and reworking on some of the fundamentals established in its predecessor, Dead Rising 2 looks like it should be wholeheartedly welcomed into the zombie sub-genre.
Set in Fortune City, a knock-off of Las Vegas, Dead Rising 2 follows the example of the original by giving you a lot of zombies to deal with. The city is a bad place for mankind (the living variant) and you play as Chuck Greene, who is mainly motivated to save his daughter. That's... that's about it. Zombies are running amok, they are in Fortune City and you are going to kill them all. That is about all that Capcom has told everybody as far as plot details go.
Whether Frank West will make an appearance is still unknown, whether or not Chuck Greene will ever wield a camera is unknown and generally, Dead Rising 2's story is full of unknowns. You are in a zombie infested town. You play as Chuck. Chuck wants to save someone. The rest we will figure out.
I've Covered Wars Ya Know.
As far as it comes to details on how the game will play, however, there is plenty to chew on. The biggest and most defining feature of Dead Rising was arguably how you needed to manage your time. It was an extremely esoteric system, but it also gave the game a sense of urgency and a unique flavor to the general design of it all. Killing zombies is cathartic, but just zombie-killing alone was not what made Dead Rising. The time management mechanics have been confirmed for Dead Rising 2 because the developers know how important it is to the game. Blue Castle are seeking to improve how time will be handled, but there is little known about what will be changed or altered other than that there will be a greater variety in the mission you will undertake.
Variety was something Dead Rising was already pretty good at, especially with the zombie massacring. There were a lot of ways to kill zombies. Lawnmowers, dinner plates, the Megabuster, katanas. A lot of ways. Dead Rising 2 will appropriately expand such a subtle and delicate concept by adding in objects such as roulette tables, dirt bikes with chainsaws attached to both ends and trophy moose heads for some moose-tackling. Certainly there is a lot of potential with the new setting. Slots, various alcoholic beverages, chips. Whatever. Dead Rising 2 looks like it's simply expanding the two basic components of the original, time and killing, so that they are simply better. The only real disappointment is the lack of a camera to take snapshots of some life-and-death situations with. It was a strangely compelling aspect of the original and just as sadistically morbid as you took pictures of people who were either about to be eaten or were already being eaten for the sake of journalism. It's hard to wonder what mechanic will replace Frank's camera, or if it will be replaced with anything at all.
American Gladiator, Eat Your Heart Out
A newer detail, which was revealed at TGS '09, was the inclusion of a multi-player mode. Zombies are being utilized as a form of sport and entertainment in Dead Rising 2, as you will be able enter the arena with four players and fight for supremacy - which is simply a matter of getting the most kills. There is no indication of a co-op mode for the single-player at the time of writing, but this new multi-player mode certainly sounds promising as a competitive, cathartic experience.
Interestingly enough, the game will be released on PC, alongside the Xbox360 and the PS3. Looking back at Capcom's previous porting works with Street Fighter IV and Resident Evil 5, there is a good chance the PC port will wind up coming much later after the console releases. There is also the chance that it will end up being just as good, if not better, than either console version, because that has been the general rule with Capcom's delayed PC releases. Whatever the case may be, the game's still a long ways off and everything that has been shown looks good.
More zombies, more ways to kill them - 'nuff said
Dead Rising 2 sounds like an expansion on everything Dead Rising did. More zombies on the screen, more ways to kill zombies and more ways to use your most limited resource – time. Add in a multi-player mode and there is a concoction for a stronger and better game than the original. We'll see when it finally hits the shelves, but Dead Rising 2 is surely looking good.