Dead Rising 2: Case Zero review
Remember having to escort survivors of the zombie apocalypse who were among the most helpless and stupid AI seen in video games? Remember the combination of annoying controls and odd camera angles that, at times, made Dead Rising more of a chore than an entertaining experience. Well, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero brings all of that back in this prequel to a sequel downloadable game.
The story of Dead Rising 2: Case Zero follows Chuck Greene whose main concern is taking care of his daughter, Katey, who has unfortunately been bitten by one of the walking dead. The only cure is a shot of Zombrex that she must get every 12 hours to help delay the infection from taking hold of her little body. As his luck would have it, while in an abandoned gas station looking for supplies, some jerk steals Greene’s truck along with his supply of Zombrex for little Katey. As for the rest of the story, it’s up to the player to write the final chapter to Greene’s death-defying story where he must search for Zombrex before the 8pm deadline and also, on top of all the mayhem, escape the town before the authorities come and find out that little Katey has been infected.
In case you missed it, here's the trailer to the Zombrex Dead Rising Sun, a live-action zombie series directed by Keiji Inafune, the producer on Dead Rising and Dead Rising 2.
The best Dead Rising 2: Case Zero has to offer comes courtesy of compelling weapon combinations such as a baseball bat with complimentary nails hammered into the side. In addition to the exotic weapons, collecting magazines allows players to boost the weapons or health of Greene, so long as the magazine is equipped; which would be awesome for mixing and matching within the inventory if there weren’t only four slots available. As a complete pain in the ass, the inventory is useless when we take into consideration that the equipped weapon counts as an item, as does the back-up weapon, so the players are only left with two slots for magazines that would be better utilized for the weapons in case either the primary or secondary breaks. With such a small inventory, Capcom should’ve explored the options of having the magazines showing up in the collections page rather than taking up space in the small inventory provided.
At its core, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is nothing but a short fetch quest title with zombies scattered throughout the environment. This would be ecstasy for a zombie fanatic such as myself, but when they are an easy obstacle to overcome – for comparison’s sake, they are on par with Night of the Living Dead – it’s rather unentertaining. On another note, it would be outstanding to have an actual run function rather than having to watch Greene trot as if he was in Baywatch; especially since he’s in a race to beat the clock so his daughter doesn’t become one with the zombie apocalypse. When it takes to 2-3 minutes just to get from one place to another, it’s easy to get very frustrated with how constricting the game is.
The expectations for exploration should come in at an all-time low since the time limit is constantly reminding players how long they have left with the title. There is not as much time as I would have liked to go on the random side-missions helping survivors; a fact that bugged the hell out of me, especially since I’m a completionist. When a game tries to have an open-world environment but doesn’t allow players to fully explore everything it has to offer, the time spent within the world presents itself as rushed and a second playthrough becomes a definite must.
Similar to the original, the controls dampen the gameplay of Dead Rising 2: Case Zero as well. I am not sure why my character strikes in one direction while facing another; or why the camera often becomes self-aware and moves on its own. When players eventually run into the boss battle, the title ramps up from frustrating to “oh, my god, I’m about to pull my hair out and turn off the console.” The boss battle doesn’t give the option of saving prior to the encounter, so all around, the mechanics and implementation of the controls draw one big question mark around DR2: C0.
It’s not all poorly designed as the mechanics and controls allude to. Slaughtering hundreds upon hundreds of the reanimated corpses is still just as creative and satisfying as it was in the original. On top of that, the variety of weapons should keep players preoccupied for quite some time. I also found myself in the casino more often than not having a good time bashing the slot machines. So yes, even though the core gameplay feels like it could have used some extra time and attention, there are still aspects that will leave you giggling due to violence.
All in all, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is fun and mildly entertaining for only 400 Microsoft Points ($5) but will run you about three hours of game time. I do think Dead Rising 2: Case Zero has actually done more harm than good because after playing through this DLC, it’s safe to say that many will leave with a sour look on their face and may question the purchase of Dead Rising 2 next month.