Meet Chuck. Chuck is a handy man, professional Motocross rider, and most importantly of all a zombie-genocidist. He’s a very different protagonist than the first Dead Rising’s photographer Frank “I’ve covered wars” West, and for that reason the gameplay of Dead Rising 2’s single-player takes a very different focus.

Settling into the game for the first time, everything plays almost identically. Dead Rising 2 controls just as tightly as its predecessor. Chuck jogs around the Vegas strip, visiting shops and laying out the undead with sledgehammers to gain “PP” experience points to level up.

The locale of Sin City is in full effect in Dead Rising 2, as evidenced by my trip to a shady sex shop. Inside, I immediately made Chuck don a stylish pair of leather chaps and a vest. After I was looking stylish, I caught my eye on a huge, neon-colored “massager” standing proudly on the countertop. I immediately grabbed it and began laying waste to zombies with the dubious weapon. You haven’t truly humiliated the undead until you’ve thrown a giant rubber “massager” at their face. The humor established in the first game is alive and well in the sequel.

While Frank found some very interesting weapons to use against his zombie foes (augers, mannequin torsos), Chuck gets even more creative. If he sees a poster for an action movie with a hero wielding a flamethrower, he gets a sudden surge of inspiration. With his gained knowledge he can combine objects such as a chainsaw and a kayak paddle to create a dual-sided weapon of spinning steel that looks like the b*stard son of Darth Maul and Leatherface’s trademark weapons.

Chuck can also find new weapon combos by swinging into the pawnshop and purchasing jury-rigged instruments of doom. Here he can buy a propane tank covered in nails, which absolutely obliterates masses of zombies when detonated amidst them. Also available is a lawn mower with handles attached to it, a metal rake with a car battery hooked up to it, and boxing gloves with butcher knives strapped to them. I’ll let you use your imagination to deduce what each does in combat, but rest assured they result in devastating kills and a significant PP bonus.

After I mangled enough shambling corpses, a door opened to reveal a sight for sore eyes; a motorcycle with chainsaws attached to it. The slice cycle is absolutely devastating. If you thought plowing through masses of bodies with a car in Dead Rising 1 was fun, wait until you slice through them like a hot knife through zombie-butter. Good thing there were over 1,000 zombies in the packed strip, because the slice cycle levels crowds in no time. Blue Castle has said that they’ve managed to squeeze 6,000 undead enemies on the screen at once, so be prepared for massive opposition.

So far, Dead Rising 2’s single-player is looking incredible. If you were skeptical whether or not Blue Castle would be able to deliver an even more gonzo zombie-slaying experience, prepare to become a believer. Keep your eyes on Game Informer for more info on the game leading up to its August 31 release date for Xbox 360, PC, and PS3.