Dead Rising 2 should come with an advisory before the game begins, and all it should read is ĎDo not attempt to finish Dead Rising 2 in one playthroughí. It should be a government mandated - a Surgeon Generalís mental health warning, printed in large letters across the
top of the case, with a picture of a crazy person next to it.
Because DR2 is the kind of game youíre meant to play over and over again - you wonít get it first time, and you shouldnít feel bad about that. Youíre supposed to die at least a couple of times, and getting upset about it will just ruin your experience.
And I know what youíre thinking - a game that expects you to fail? But I want to play through it in one sitting - I want it to be as realistic as possible! That brings me to the other thing about DR2.
The question I hear the most from people about the game is this - how did Dead Rising 2 get an MA when L4D2 was refused classification in Australia?
The best answer I can give is usually Ďyou can combine a Servbot (a Lego man looking Mega Man character) head with a lawn mower, put the resulting combination on your head and a head butt your way through hordes of zombies.í
Basically, Dead Rising 2 is ridiculous. You can tame a tiger, make a beer hat (combine beer and a construction helmet), play virtual golf and kill zombies with anything you can get your virtual hands on. Like an apple, a shower head, a giant Lizard hat, a gumball machine... the list goes on.
The ridiculous nature is the draw for Dead Rising 2 - and also itís saviour when it goes before the censors. Nothing diminishes the violent nature of chopping zombies in half like doing it with a light sabre you made, MacGyver styles, by combining a torch with some gems.
And yet, despite the ridiculousness thereís a fair bit of substance to Dead Rising 2 - easily more than the hectically paced and similarly ridiculous Dead Rising. The angle of forcing Chuck to return to visit his daughter once every 24 hours provides a compassionate angle as well as a compelling reason to return to the safe house.
Further, the social commentary behind Dead Rising 2 is better - where the first game focused on the classic anti-consumerism message from Dawn of the Dead and threw in a dose of anti-media for good measure.
Dead Rising 2 kicks things off with an aggressive look at the nature of reality TV and anti-gambling is the biggest focus - walk through any casino and youíll see a zombie shuffling in front of a slot machine... itís easy to think it hasnít ever moved from that position.
Dead Rising 2 takes place in the casino town of Fortune City, so the anti-gambling message is a bit of a no-brainer. For those not aware of the idea behind Dead Rising - you kill zombies. Literally tens of thousands of zombies. You do this partly because moving around without killing them is nigh impossible and partly because itís hilarious fun.
Itís fun in doses though - you have fun in between doing things youíre supposed to do, which is where the advisory I spoke of before comes in. When you start the game your character will be overwhelmingly crap - no health, only able to carry a couple of items and no dodge abilities (or jump kick).
When you fail, you should start the story over - itís a ĎNew Game +Ē, so youíll keep your PP (XP), levels and money when you do, which means you can better complete your missions the next time. Youíll also have an understanding of what youíre supposed to do - and what you can expect when you attempt to complete each mission.
Time management is a huge part of Dead Rising 2, so knowing the most efficient way to get survivors to follow you to the safe house (or which survivors are actually psychos) will give you a lot more time to just goof off and have fun.
Itís a bit of an interesting way to make a game - you want to do all of your chores as early as possible so you can get back to playing.
Not everything is good - and Iím not just talking about the fact that I hate having to do my chores. Thanks to the thousands of zombies on screen at once itís not uncommon for the frame-rate to take a massive hit at times - and this is in a game which doesnít look all that special to begin with.
It doesnít look bad - itís just nothing to write home about. Youíd be surprised to find this too - the epic loading times are the gameís greatest downfall. This is a game you need to install - itís Ďoptionalí on the 360, but donít let that fool you. Unless you have plans to spend a third of your life reading hints and tips on DR2 loading screens you absolutely must install the game to your hard drive.
Even with it installed the game still has abnormally long loads when transitioning between areas. Itís particularly apparently when youíre saving survivors - should someone lag behind when you go through a door you have to go back through, get them to join you and then return through the door again.
Once again though, the game gives you the tools you need to avoid this - survivors who are ready to transition are marked on the HUD. Thatís basically the sum of the Dead Rising 2 experience really - itís a game which gives you everything you need to have fun, it just doesnít tell you how.
For the people who know what to expect, Dead Rising 2 will be a fantastic zombie slaying experience. Itís full of humour, satire and atmosphere and as long as you play by its rules itís also full of fun. Those who go in expecting a free-for-all genocidal rampage will be disappointed - at least they will until they realise what theyíre supposed to do. Oh, and the loading times will piss everyone off - but itís worth it.