Copyright Adam Schlosser

Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser

Posted by Pip

R9M14- You Can Be Both

The Dealer's gang doesn't have time for compliments! She has a world to save then enslave! Or at least ransom.
It looks like Lust and the Dealer shared more than just a copied body. Maybe hatred of Envy runs in DNA? DemoNA? There's something there...

Quick Review: Dead Rising 2: Off the Record- We continue our look into the dregs of the PS3 with Dead Rising 2: Off the Record! I never played the first version of Dead Rising 2, so rather than being an expansion pack, this is my first go around Fortune City. I really like Frank West as a character. He's one of the few well-done “every man” game protagonists. He's kind of a schlub, he could stand to lose a few pounds, he's petty and a bit of a jerk at times, but he does the right thing, helps people, and takes charge when you need it. He doesn't have any special powers, he's not great at anything, and he's most certainly not the guy you'd hope to have by your side fighting against the zombie hordes, but that's exactly what makes him a likable character. So Frank West gets my appreciation, but the game Frank West is in is a chore to play.
Several core game mechanics sap any enjoyment there is to be had in romping around a Not-Vegas, fighting zombies, and fighting zombies with knives taped to a boxing glove. I hate timers in games and DR2 is built around a timer. When you have a mission, you frequently also have survivors to find, but you're too pressed for time to do it all. I got to a point where I was ignoring all the survivors because it was too much of a time sink and they were a pain in the butt to rescue, so I saved all my time for the story missions. When you don't have an active mission, there's a lot of waiting around. You kind of just mill around waiting for the clock to advance so the next mission unlocks. Maybe you're doing some tedious grinding for money or experience, but the clunky combat isn't fun enough to enjoy for its own sake. The map arrow gets confused easily so trying to navigate what should be a lively and fun world is a pain because the arrow paints a mostly nonsensical path that has you zig zagging for no discernible reason. It takes a few laps through an environment to learn when you should stop looking for guidance. The guide arrow also doesn't display for about half a minute when you first enter an area, so even when you have a waypoint set, you still need to frequently check your map for directions. The game has an odd abundance of loading and delays. Sure there are a lot of zombies and objects in the areas but nothing is so grandiose that it should take this long to load. Far too many mediocre sandbox games have good enough loading times for Dead Rising's to not stand out. It even takes a long time to save your game between how long it takes the game to look for your saves and then overwrite one with your new progress. As previously mentioned, the side missions aren't fun because you have to lead survivors back to the base. This means that not only do you wind up walking through the same areas over and over, fighting the same enemies over and over, and losing and having to re-craft the same weapons over and over, but the survivors are weak, slow, and stupid so you in no way want to actually save or help them. Mid-way to my “screw it, let them all die” approach to the game, I took a “run straight for the exit and if the escortee lives, that's great, if not, there are more where he came from” coping mechanism but that just meant I spent time standing around level exits waiting for the survivors to catch up. The sandbox aspect isn't fun because of the clunky melee combat and your weapons breaking due to the weapon durability system. What's the point of scouring the map for items used in crafting weapon combinations if they're just going to break anyway? Even when you do have a souped up baseball bat with nails in it, you still aren't plowing through the zombie hordes. You typically only knock enemies down but don't kill them, so you have to wait for them to stand back up to whack them one or two more times so you can kill them to get the experience points.
Dead Rising 2 is a game that challenges you to like it. Between the slow pace of leveling up, the clunky combat, the escort missions, weapons breaking, and the timer, it's just begging for you to hate it. All it needs is an encumbrance system to really drive in that final nail. But what's already there was enough for me to call it quits. I stopped playing after finishing 3 cases out of maybe 8? It just simply isn't fun or entertaining. I beat the Wii port of the first game and kind of liked it in an odd, cheap way, but this one I wasn't willing to stick with. I liked the story, I liked Frank, but I hated actually playing the game and most of its mechanics.