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23 September 2010

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero

There’s one major problem with the games Capcom makes, most primordially a problem with the gameplay style. They are not bad, they are not unplayable, they are just un-evolved. Megaman is a game series so stagnated in gameplay evolution that they took it back to the 2D side-scrolling roots in 9 and 10 and nobody noticed (people were very happy actually, me included). But there was a nagging issue I had with the game, and that was the fact that there was no evolution.

Then we have their zombie games, which I can utter the words “zombie” and “games” with quite a lot of smugness. Zombies were invented and created to represent our loss of humanity due to the invasion in the current modern world, which has worked in books and movies. In videogames zombies serve the purpose of being something the player can shoot at, besides Nazis and old ladies. Not a single videogame has given a message about zombies, just putting them in front of us so we can kill their undead asses off.

While this is something I appreciate a lot (it doesn’t try to teach anything and it’s very self aware of it) there are few zombie games out there that actually pleased me. With zombie games I mean games that are just about zombies. The Resident Evil series is a series about zombies in the same way that Finding Nemo is a movie about monsters. Resident Evil has not only zombies but monsters, mutations, creatures, and humans that get infected and become “The infected” but then they also turn into freakishly well designed wretches. So videogames that are just and only about zombies and nothing else are very rare to find, and only two of them come to my mind right now: One is “Zombie’s ate my neighbors” a hilarious co-op SNES game based around saving cheerleaders and killing zombies with super soakers; and the other one is “Dead Rising” for the Xbox 360.

While many people complained about Dead Rising I call it right now to be one of the best games of the last decade. You can complain about the time limit, the saving stations, Otis the security guard who keeps calling you every fucking five seconds to remind you how clothes look pretty on you and how female zombies nom your crotch, but it still was an imaginative, immersive, fun, exciting, amazingly well developed, fantastically well acted, tremendously well written B-Zombie movie. What surprised me of all this is that it came from the mind of Keiji Inafune, the guy who created MegaMan. So Dead Rising became one of the exclusive titles that made the 360 a console target to many envies and red rings of death, despite all its issues. But hey, every good game has its issues, that is why they are good, and memorable, and somehow we keep going back at it like a baby with a pacifier.

So, why the hell and I talking about all this? Because a new Dead Rising game is coming out, and to celebrate that Capcom is going to charge you 400 Microsoft Points to try the Demo!

Actually that’s not true, and it’s unfair, but I do it to shut up every one of you who is saying that. “Dead Rising 2: Case Zero” (of the most number-filled title of the year) is a game that tells the story of the main protagonist of Dead Rising 2, a stunt motocross racer called Chuck Greene. He is running away to Las Vegas to keep his daughter safe, so his purpose is more noble than Frank “I covered wars, you know?” West’s which basically was “I will make photos and then run away…or not, depends on what the player wants me to do”. So “Dead Rising 2: Case Zero: Parallel 9” ’s character is already more likeable and relatable being his motivation and purpose a human one. He arrives with his daughter to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere when his truck gets stolen. He has to keep giving his daughter a drug called “Zombrex” to keep her from transforming into a zombie and build a motorbike to get the hell out of the town before the army comes around and guns down what’s left of his family.

Now, here’s where the game starts to shine, so before going to the bright parts let me talk about the not so bright ones. We still have that time limit bullshit that kind of ruined the first one’s sense of freedom, but at least here is justified. You are carrying an about-to-be-turned-into-a-zombie kid, you have to keep her alive, safe, and away from the army men, so you are reasonably on a rush. The town is pretty small, but what the hell you expect from a place in the middle of the desert? I have seen smaller places than that, and you can trust my word. The music is forgettable to non existent, so don’t expect that drowning shopping mall from Willamette. In this case you just have some riffs during action sequences and a somewhat inspired boss fight music when you fight the one and only psychopath of the entire game. I guess as an appetizer for what’s yet to come to us on Dead Rising 2. It’s also incredibly short, whether you play it good or bad, you will finish each play through in around 2 hours.

But here’s where the bad parts end. The rest of the game is so polished that makes my mouth dribble for the sequel. I will speak about every good point progressively, so I will start with the first one, the controls. Looks like Capcom took their heads out of their asses and started playing games like “Dead Space”, “Mass Effect 2” or “Gears of War” and now you can fucking finally move when aiming and shooting. Thank God for that! The turret mode of aiming is what kept “Resident Evil 5” from being more enjoyable, and now we can do it in “Dead Rising 2”. Well done. The second thing that makes this dem-I mean, this game so good is the freedom they give you when making new weapons. The gist of this game is that the main character can take whatever two objects and combine them into a weapon of zombie mass murdering, but this is somehow half assed as only the items marked with a wrench can actually be used. But no big deal, right? I will ignore that since this game lets you put a canoe paddle and two chainsaws, or a pitchfork with a shotgun. It makes you feel you are playing as MacGyver! And the final point, the best one of them is the gaming-price ratio. Nowadays it feels like you have to pay a lot of money for games that are mercilessly short. For example, “Kane and Lynch 2” (the punching bag of the current game critic circle) is a game that costs 60 € and you can finish it in like 4 hours. “Dead Rising 2: Case Zero: Parallel 9: Coordinates 42” is like 5 € and it will give you around 10 hours of game time, if you go for unlocking its 6 different endings, save everybody in town, find every combo weapon and kill as much zombies as you can.

Such offer cannot be ignored by gamers. Capcom is not selling something for an outrageous price like they did with the multiplayer mode of RE 5. It feels like they took the advice and complains of the fans and applied them to this game Bioware style. I don’t know if my recommendation carries any weight, but here it is, as I heavily recommend anyone of you to get this game. Looking forward to…Oh Christ, “Dead Rising 2: Case West”? It better let you do a rocket launcher with toilet paper rolls, because I am already dreading that one. Still looking forward to Dead Rising 2 though!

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