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Dead Rising 2 E3 Hands-On Preview

In 2006, before the explosion of zombie-themed games with the word "dead" in the title (Left 4 Dead, Dead Space, House of the Dead: Overkill etc), Capcom's Dead Rising brought a fresh new approach to the genre. Taking a more comical and over-the-top approach to zombies and setting it in a location that clearly was an affectionate homage to Dawn of the Dead was a great move and helped make the title a lot of fun and one that was difficult to put down. Dead Rising 2 takes place in a new location, Fortune City, but still contains the ridiculous and entertaining combat as well as a host of new additions.

Dead Rising 2 Screenshots

Despite the popularity of the original title's protagonist, Frank West, he has been replaced in the sequel with a newer and sportier model, a former motocross rider called Chuck Greene. Set 5 years after the events of Dead Rising, the story focuses on Chuck's quest to save his daughter who has been infected with the zombie parasite, along with what seems to be the majority of the US population. As the game progresses Chuck will be forced to either find or buy a medication, "Zombrex", which slows the infection preventing her from turning into one of the undead. To further complicate matters Chuck is being pursued by a mysterious female journalist who seems to be attempting to link him to the spread of the infection, although whether she will serve as the key antagonist remains to be seen.

Dead Rising 2 Screenshots

We were lucky enough to get a lengthy hands-on with Dead Rising 2 in the title's new co-operative mode, which was huge fun to play. This mode is available in the game's single player campaign where a friend can join you online as a duplicate Chuck Greene rather than a new character. Both of you are able to earn experience as you kill your way through the zombie hordes and can essentially do whatever you like. You can choose to pursue some of the various side-quests and missions available (which act like the "Cases" and "Scoops" from the first title) or you can simply grab as many weapons as possible and conduct a zombie massacre.

Dead Rising 2 Screenshots

While the photography mode that formed a key element of the first game is no longer present in Dead Rising 2, you still earn experience points which allow you to level up from killing the undead. One of the new additions in the sequel is the ability to create customised weapons that are usually not only sick and twisted, but absurdly fun to use. During the playthrough of the demo the number of weapons available was astonishing and a similar number of standard weapons to the original title and around 60 or so buildable ones are promised. These manufactured death-dealers can be created at any maintenance bench as long as you have the components but will break fairly quickly. In order to get the most from them, you can buy weapon cards which will extend the lifespan and durability of these weapons and give you an experience boost at the same time when killing with them.

Dead Rising 2 Screenshots

As these butchering devices are so satisfying they deserve to be discussed in some detail, as most of them combine surreal comedy with the warped mind of a serial killer. The "Paddle Saw" takes a kayak paddle and straps two chainsaws to each ends, allowing you to slice and dice your way through crowds with ease. Elsewhere propane tanks can be studded with nails to make a brutally effective explosive, water pistols can be filled with petrol to make a flamethrower and a vacuum cleaner can be added to a circular saw blade of all things. However, the crowning glory of warped brilliance is the child's remote control helicopter which when used normally attracts the zombies with its loud noise. Adding machetes to its rotor blades then turns an innocent aerial toy into a hovering decapitation machine which gorily mutilates anything in its path: it's great.

Dead Rising 2 Screenshots

The zombies themselves are back in force, now populating the screen in even greater numbers than before. There was a lot of variation in their design and there was an odd charm about seeing them ambling around the various locations, before succumbing to their fate: again. The settings themselves look fantastic; with Fortune City being Las Vegas in all but name providing a backdrop with huge potential for carnage. Wherever you go in the levels weapons can be found in abundance, from the packs of playing cards on the blackjack tables to decorative broadswords that line the walls of certain casinos. When we headed outside onto Fortune City's equivalent of The Strip it was really impressive, with hundreds of densely packed zombies on screen creating a pretty epic experience. There are also plenty of location specific hijinx to get up to, including riding a mechanical bull in the midst of the undead and experiencing the consequences of drinking too much alcohol.

Dead Rising 2 Screenshots

Dead Rising 2's support cast is comprised of similar characters with both survivors and psychopaths being found throughout the larger game world. Survivors all have different personalities with some joining you straight away while others will request you help them, all of which is familiar from the previous title. During our time with the game we encountered a few of these characters and their AI seems much sharper than the first title, although there were a few accidents with some of them. While trying to defend one of them from a group of zombies, a few wayward hits turned them against me, forcing me to fight them off, but this carried with it the added benefit of a shiny new shotgun. Sadly, we never bumped into any of the new psychopaths but if they are as colourful and outrageous as the first title then there will be a lot to look forward.

The variety of the weapons available in the game and their customisability should help to add a lot of replayability to the title, providing you with different ways to approach the game's situations and to dispatch your foes. Having listened to the criticism levelled at the first game, developer Blue Castle Games have added a further two save slots, providing a total of three. Hopefully this will mean less frustration when aiming to save all survivors and should help prevent having to restart due to complications towards the end of the game. With a release in the next few months there is a lot to look forward to, so be prepared to take a trip to your garage to look for potentially deadly weapons, especially if you have a few spare chainsaws and a kayak paddle.

evilgiraffeman | 17th June, 2010
Angelfromabove's picture
This is a really great preview thanks Giraffe.
We have the first one but it was lent out to a friend before i could get the chance to have a play unfortunately.

Looking forward to this, it seems like a lot of fun. Light hearted zombie killing sounds good to me!
Dead Alive's picture
Playboy, eh?

I'll be getting this as the original was good fun for random mess abouts.
Kaostic's picture
I can't wait for this. This preview has made me want it more. God dammit Giraffe!

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