Platforms: XBLA (400MSP)
Developer: Blue Castle Games
Dead Rising 2 is set to release later this month, but Xbox 360 owners can now get an exclusive head start on the proceedings. Before making his way to Fortune City, stuntman Chuck and his daughter Katey find themselves stranded in the sleepy small town of Still Creek... that's now awash with hordes of slavering undead. With nothing save his wits and the massive amount of wieldable objects cluttering up the place, Chuck will need to step up to the plate and discover a way out before it's too late. Or, you know, just inventively throw down on scores of zombies with common household objects whilst wearing a gingham dress, cackling insanely all the while. Whatever floats your boat.
The principle and premise will be instantly familiar to fans of the original. Chuck has to escape the town in a tight time limit, killing zombies and rescuing survivors for persistent experience and different endings. The small town has a fair few shops that provide hilarious props and clothes to enrich the experience, and even an actual pawnshop that vends useful items and hints. That's right: cash money is now extremely important part of the Dead Rising experience, and can be used to secure essential gear or partake in a little gambling.
Between sallying forth for parts to assemble a makeshift getaway vehicle, you'll also need to take care of Katey. She requires constant Zombrex injections every 12 hours, meaning that you'll constantly need to keep an eye on the clock and forage for the controversial drug in between dealing with the major objectives. Her voice acting is truly awful and the premise is actually shaping up to be more than a little annoying... though we'll hold out for the full game before making an assessment.
The combat can be mastered by simply hammering the X button, though holding it down occasionally triggers a context-senitive heavy attack. Luckily, the new combo weapons system really kicks things up a notch. Workbenches are scattered around the town and allow Chuck to assemble some ridiculously powerful weapons by combining a huge selection of items. Molotovs, spiky baseball bats and a hilarious beer hat make light work of tough situations... but quiver in fear, pathetic undead, for I have discovered the ultimate equaliser. Combining a household bucket with a power drill creates a cranial iron maiden, that literally drills a zombie's brains out when placed on their head. All hail the drill bucket. On a serious note, creating a combo item grants you a card that allows it to be replicated later- as well as extra experience for using it.
The town is fairly small, but actually manages to pack a lot in. It's a lot more vertical than the mall, with exporable rooftops and alleys adding a literal extra dimension to the proceedings. There are survivors to find, cool weapons to try out and a surprising amount to explore. Most gratifyingly, experience and combo cards will be carried over to Dead Rising 2, meaning that you can start with (up to) a level 5 advantage from the get-go. The time limit is extremely tight, but with an insane level of replayability and persistent charcter upgrades, this is an absolute bargain for 400 Microsoft Points.
- Surprisingly detailed town and backstory
- Home made combo weapons make for epic kills. Go Drill Bucket!
- Massively replayable zombie destruction and transferable experience for 400 MSP? Bargain.
- Restrictive time limit
- Fairly long load times
- Katey is one of the most annoying game characters in recent memory
The Short Version: Case 0 offers a bite-sized yet meaty chunk of Dead Rising 2 action. It's a capable and fun little game in its own right, with a plethora of laugh-out-loud moments and plenty of the inventiveness that the franchise is famed for. It's a must-buy for fans of the series and well worth checking out by casual fans who want to see what all the fuss is about.