The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Dead Rising 2 introduced the world to Chuck Greene, a former
motocross champion who faced unspeakable danger for the sake of his
young daughter. Unlike Frank West, the hero from the first game, Chuck
wasn’t armed with a camera. Instead, he brought a healthy dose of
weapon-crafting ingenuity to the zombie-lined streets of Fortune City.
Chuck was a great character, but fans missed Frank. In Dead Rising 2:
Off the Record, players get a chance to see how the events from Dead
Rising 2 would have played out if the photojournalist had been there. As
it turns out, this old dog has a few new tricks.
Even though he’s
been down on his luck in the intervening years between Dead Rising 1
and 2, Frank is still an avid photographer. As he navigates through the
slightly modified storyline, Frank gets a chance to capture the
conspiracy on film. The mechanic from the first game is largely the
same, though players can fire away without having to worry about their
camera’s battery life. Chuck doesn’t have a corner on the duct-tape
market; Frank can also construct the hybrid weapons that made Dead
Rising 2 special, including some diabolically clever new gizmos.
additions keep the game fresh for fans as well as appealing to green
players. There are a few new psychopaths to battle, including some
familiar faces and references that superfans will get a kick out of.
There’s also an entirely new area to explore: the space-age Uranus Zone.
This amusement park is filled with loads of environmental kills and
minigames, and fits in nicely with Fortune City’s overall theme of tacky
For Off the Record, Capcom Vancouver stripped
away the second game’s Terror is Reality mode. This multiplayer-only
feature was a great idea in theory, but it was plagued by long queue
times and a host of performance issues. The main appeal of this mode –
being able to earn cash and transfer it to your campaign’s progress – is
still in the game, only in a much more appealing package.
mode is back in Dead Rising, and it’s available from the start. Each of
the game’s three save slots tracks progress in both the story and the
sandbox. When you load a save, you can choose to either forge ahead in
the campaign or kill time (and a few thousand zombies) in Off the
Record’s free-form counterpart.
Dead Rising veterans should have a
basic idea of what to expect here. Unlike the mission-driven storyline,
there aren’t any objectives to complete in the sandbox mode. Instead,
players are free to explore Fortune City at their own pace. Capcom has
also added challenges to the sandbox, which provide a welcome series of
goals. These optional tasks unlock as players slaughter more and more of
the undead, and players who meet the set requirements can score some
cold, hard cash. These challenges include the expected kill-fests, in
which Frank has to tear through as many zombies as time allows, but also
provide some surprises. You may have to round up as many “massagers” as
possible before the clock runs out, or show off your parkour skills by
quickly reaching an out-of-the-way spot. Players can join in their
friends’ game as well, with player two assuming the role of Chuck
(complete with camera), as opposed to a clone of Frank.
transfers seamlessly between these two modes, addressing one of the
niggling issues some players have had with the Dead Rising series.
Previously, it was possible to find yourself woefully underpowered if
you didn’t level up enough between missions. At that point, you were
essentially forced to start the story over again from scratch, with the
consolation prize of retaining your character’s progress. Now, with
sandbox mode, you can just slip over to the open-world playground, paint
the floor with zombie blood for a few hours, and then continue the
campaign with your newly buffed West.
The inclusion of the sandbox
mode makes Dead Rising 2: Off the Record more than just a retread with
slightly modified cutscenes. By itself, it’s an incentive for Dead
Rising 2 players to pick it up. If you haven’t gotten around to playing
the sequel yet, this is definitely the version to get.
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.