We’ve done a lot of Dead Rising 2 coverage, but today was the first time it’s felt that we’ve played the game. Sure, we’ve cracked a lot of zombie skulls, combined weapons, and even battled a pair of twin psychopaths, but elements of the game have been missing up until now. Today, we got a chance to play the game from the start—cutscenes, survivors, and everything.

During our adventure in Fortune City, Chuck had a chance to rescue a few survivors. As with the first game, players can give items to these NPCs and issue simple navigation commands such as having them follow Chuck or head to a specified waypoint. The AI seems to do a better job handling the horde, particularly when they’re chasing after Chuck. That’s not to say that they’re invulnerable—they just don’t need quite as much babysitting.

One such survivor was LaShawndra, a woman in a yellow housedress. I found her standing on a bar surrounded by the undead. After clearing my way toward her, I hopped up alongside her to see what was going on. Her no-good husband had abandoned her, she told me, and she wasn’t very happy about it. I told her that I could take her to a safe place, and she went along, saying that she hoped we could find Gordon somewhere on the way.

After taking her to the safe house it was clear that Gordon did a good job of fleeing. I did track him down about 15 minutes later, and he reluctantly followed me. I gave him a nightstick to defend himself, and Gordon held his own against the zombies. Once rescued, I got a nice PP bonus.

Some of the characters I ran into were Rebecca Chang, a reporter for Channel 6 Action News, and a Terror is Reality contestant named Leon. Chang was on the lookout for a hot story, and Chuck’s “I’ve been framed!” tale piqued her interest. She led him to the security room, where she’d hoped to find surveillance footage of how the outbreak spread, which would clear Chuck’s name. Unfortunately, the tapes were gone and the guard was murdered—and not by a zombie. Looks like she’ll have to do more investigating. Leon used to idolize Chuck when he was a pro motorcross racer, but Leon thinks Chuck has gone soft. He even thwarts Chuck’s attempt to save a survivor by cutting the poor fellow in half with his chainsaw-enhanced motorcycle.What is this guy, some kind of psychopath? Oh, yeah, right.

Overall, it was great to see a bit more of the game. While it’s been fun destroying zombies for the sake of doing so, having objectives adds an obvious sense of purpose to the experience. We’re looking forward to getting a bigger chunk of that experience this fall, when the game ships.