Dead Rising 2: Case Zero Xbox 360 Review

September 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Publisher – Capcom – Developer – Blue Castle Games – Genre – Action – Players – 1 – Age Rating – 18+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A

Rather than releasing a traditional demo to get people interested in the impending release of Dead Rising 2, Capcom have tried something different this time around, releasing Xbox Live Arcade game Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, which acts as a prologue to the upcoming sequel.

It may very well be a ploy to get more money out of people, but to be fair Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is still more than just a demo that you buy and is a condensed version of the full game, allowing you to get a taste of pretty much all of the things you’ll be getting up to in Dead Rising 2 and, as a bonus, you can even increase your level up to level 5 and carry it over to the sequel.

It’s set two years before that game and documents protagonist Chuck Greene’s early encounters with the zombie masses, prior to him getting to Las Vegas for the events of Dead Rising 2. Chuck and his daughter Katey end up in Still Creek, a small town crawling with zombies, and the main premise of the game is Chuck’s attempt to find Zombrex to temporarily halt the zombifying effects of his infected daughter, as well as to find a method of escape to get out of the town before the military storms it.

The visuals are never technically impressive, but are largely adequate enough, though blighted by occassional framerate issues.

It’s certainly not as dark as it sounds, as Dead Rising 2: Case Zero retains the comedic elements that granted so much charm to the original game. All manner of weapons can be used against the zombie population, many of which exist merely for laughs ahead of effectiveness, whilst the gore is more funny than disgusting. Chuck can also drink alcohol to increase his health and if you drink too much, he’ll spew his stomach contents on to the ground. Then there’s the fact that he can don different clothes and it’s rather amusing seeing Chuck taking on the zombie hordes whilst wearing a dress.

Also familiar to those that played the original game is the time limit and just like last time around, this is going to be a divisive facet of the game. At least for your first run through, it grants a layer of tension, though people that like their games to give them the freedom to explore and such to their hearts content, will most likely feel pressurized to the level that they simply won’t enjoy the game. Once you find your bearings though, you’ll realise that it’s a generous time limit, giving you plenty of room to see much of what the game has to offer.

Whilst following the main story will see you searching Still Creek for the aforementioned Zombrex, as well as parts to repair a motorbike. In the roughly two hours it takes for the game to end, the main story can however be completely ignored if you so wish and the time can be spent doing other things and, despite its compact size, Still Creek has a fair amount to do.

There’s survivors waiting to be rescued of which will grant you a big PP (it’s essentially exp in case you’re wondering) bonus and plenty of weapons to be scavenged and used against the masses of zombies. Just like the original game, there’s enough content here that many people will find themselves playing it for three or more times to see and do everything.

Much of that will be familiar to people that played the original game, but Dead Rising 2: Case Zero and in turn Dead Rising 2 itself, features changes and some new additions, of which arguably improves the game.

Just one example of many types of killing utensils that Chuck can come up by combining two items in a maintenance room.

You no longer have just a single slot to save your game, of which will please those that found the original game’s save system cruel. It allows for greater experimentation, but could disappoint those that found that having to choose the right moment to save somewhat increased the tension.

Chuck doesn’t possess a camera, so unlike last time around, you can’t take photos to gain PP. Replacing it is the fact that, by combining two items at a maintenance room, you’re now able to craft combo weapons. There are some truly outlandish creations possible and killing zombies with them will reward you not only with satisfaction but also additional PP, the amount of which is determined by the weapon that you’re wielding.

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero has not only carried out its job well and made me all the more excited for Dead Rising 2, but at the same time it’s also an interesting take on a demo and one that is is well worth the 400 Microsoft points. It’s merely a glimpse into the sequel, but gives you a good idea of what to expect from it, that being a game that is much the same as its predecessor, though with some excellent new additions that could very well make for a better game.