Dead Rising 2: Case Zero Review

Maybe more of than any other game, the original Dead Rising garnered a lot of mixed reactions from yours truly. I love the concept: zombies flooding a mall and killing everyone in sight, with only a handful of people fighting to survive. Smashing everything in sight WITH everything in sight? Awesome! Government conspiracy storyline? Cool! A tough-guy journalist who’s covered wars, ya know? Sweet! The execution, however… left me wanting more. Namely, the game was paced slower than the zombies themselves. I need a little more urgency in my game, not just 72 in-game hours to get everything done and get out.

Dead Rising 2 Case Zero Logo

Thankfully, from what I’ve played in Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, the highly-anticipated sequel should answer my prayers. Playing as Chuck Greene, an Evel Knievel-type daredevil who’s also good with a wrench, your main goal is to protect your daughter Katey at all costs. The problem is, she’s already been bitten. Luckily, someone developed Zombrex, a medicine that can halt the zombie infection’s progress, giving your daughter (and you) hope for survival.

The main goal of finding and administering medicine leads to this gameplay fact: players no longer have to worry about filling 72 in-game hours with objectives, as that window has been cut… by 60. See, the doses of Zombrex MUST be administered in a one-hour window every 12 hours. If given too early, the patient dies from a highly lethal overdose. If the medicine is too late, then let’s just say that you’d better have a gun. The new 12-hour limit makes gameplay flow much faster than in the previous game, as you have to make sure you do as much as you can in that twelve hours before you have to backtrack to Katey. After finishing the 2.5-to-3-hour episode, I thought I’d only been playing for about an hour. This helps everything else about the game, from the easy combat to the storyline and everything in between.

Speaking of combat, it’s simple: press X for a fast attack, and hold X for a stronger attack. The left and right bumpers cycle through weapons, and if you have a weapon that shoots or is thrown, left trigger will aim and right trigger will throw/shoot. The lack of complication is essential with all of the havoc surrounding Chuck. Weapons are just as varied as the last game; everything from a handung to a sword to a road cone to a moosehead can be used. The newest weapons lie in the combinations, where two weapons can be fused into one mega-weapon. Here are some equations to remember: Baseball Bat + Box of Nails = Spiked Bat; Propane Tank + Box of Nails = IED; Paddle + Chainsaw = Paddlesaw. This prologue has a total of nine different combinations, each with its own perks and level of devastation.

Chuck Greene

Everything that I loved about the first game’s play mechanics is still here, and everything that needed to be tweaked is tweaked for the better. One thing Case Zero does very well is set the table for the narrative. Let me put it simply: you’re going to love Katey Greene like she’s your own daughter. She’s cute, she’s sweet, she’s very tolerant of all these medicine shots, and there’s one conversation between father and daughter that will make you scream, "NOO!! WHYY?!?!" I know I did, and it makes me want to kill every zombie bastard I see.

It may be downloadable, and it may be a prologue, but Case Zero is essential for Dead Rising fans, and here’s why: any level-ups, stats, Weapon Combo Cards, etc. that the player accrues during Case Zero will transfer over to the full Dead Rising 2 game. You may have to reset your Prestige Points, or PP, but I’m going to love already knowing how to make a paddlesaw as soon as I start DR2. It’s this feature that separates Case Zero from a glorified demo, as it now has some value to those ready to tackle Fortune City at the end of September.

While it may seem that Capcom is trying to pull a fast one on us by making us pay for a demo, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is much more than that. Rather, it’s a full downloadable game on Xbox Live (it lasts just as long as LIMBO, after all) that allows you to get a head start on a highly sought-after title. Of course, it is also a window into what can be expected from the full game, and if Case Zero is any indication, Dead Rising 2 will be paddlesawing its way into the 2010 Game of the Year talks with no problems.

5 out of 5



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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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