Video Game Review: Dead Rising 2
I mostly review things that have been available for a while. It’s rare for me to hurry out and get The Latest Thing, so when I review something, it’s after the whole marketing blitz. Bob Harper’s DVDs were the rare exception, and that was just kind’ve coincidental timing. I still write the reviews, though, for two reasons. One is that I want to, and I don’t care whether it’s timely or not (next week: the Robocop Movie Review!). The other is this: if you knew you wanted it when the product came out, you bought it already (and it’s always more fun to read a review if you own the product or have seen the movie, since you can either get your opinion reaffirmed or get properly worked up over the review’s idiotic points), and if you didn’t want it you aren’t going to based on a review, OR you were undecided, and this, THIS is my chance to tip you over the edge in one direction or another and help nudge you into the proper choice in the matter. But, yeah, mostly for reason #1.
Dead Rising. It’s a video game franchise based on zombies and malls, two great pairings. The first was successful and fun and goofy and gory, but with some of the most god-awful annoying gameplay mechanics in the history of man like a shitty save system, an unforgiving game clock, unreliable camera movements, and a few other problems. It was still a hell of a lot of fun, though.
Dead Rising 2 takes Dead Rising and cranks everything up to 11. The fun. The gore. The goofiness. The annoyingly shitty gameplay mechanics. Everything. They made a game that’s really fun, and then decided that it’s too fun for you to actually play.
Make no sense? Allow me to ess-plain.
OK, as part of the game, you have to uncover The Horrible Plot The Horrible Corporation Is Doing To You For No Apparent Reason. Fine, whatever. But you see, the military is showing up in 3 days, and you need to go through the plot in that period of time. 72 hours? Plenty of time right? Sure, if the game’s clock didn’t run about 5 seconds of real time into 1 minute of game time. So you have a LOT less time than that. You don’t solve the plot? Game ovah.
Besides the big plot missions, there are also side missions, where you find survivors and kill psychopaths and all that stuff. You literally have no spare time. The game includes dozens of stores with dozens of unique items that can be used as weapons, from showerheads (jam ’em in a zombie’s forehead, they stagger around with blood pouring from the showerhead) to giant Lego-like heads (plop ’em over the zombie’s head and they stagger around blind looking rawther silleh) to a pair of chainsaws strapped to a kayak paddle. Good times. Except there isn’t much of a chance to actually just fart around doing stuff, not if you want to actually, you know, play the game. That part of it is maddening.
Other things are a pain. Over time, you gain the ability to do a handy rolling dodge. You do it every time you push in the left-stick. A spaz like me, however, does this every single time he’s under duress and needs to move somewhere, like in a fight, so instead of duking it out, I’m rolling around doing somersaults like a kindergartener on meth. A little frustrating. A few of the psychopath fights are just annoyingly hard. Wah wah wah I suck at video games.
Overall, it’s a fun game, if you’re into that sort of thing. I happen to like choppin’ up proper slow-moving zombies, so it works well for me. If, however, killing zombies isn’t your higher calling, then it’s unlikely that you’ll gain much enjoyment at all from the game, or the series.