Dead Rising 2: Case 0

Capcom Delivers A Deliciously Light Appetizer
by Jeff Cork on Aug 31, 2010 at 07:01 AM
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Blue Castle Games
Rating: Mature
Reviewed on: Xbox 360

Dead Rising 2: Case 0 is an odd proposition. It straddles the line between being a standalone experience and a demo of its big brother, Dead Rising 2. The fact that it does both things so effectively is one of the bigger surprises of the year.

The original Dead Rising won over fans with its sandbox zombie-slaying gameplay, while taking a fair amount of heat for its myriad faults. The save system was unforgiving, the unrelenting passage of time made it tough to dink around, and gunplay was janky (or par for the Capcom course, depending on your perspective). With the sequel, Capcom and Blue Castle Games have added two more save slots and addressed the combat shortcomings. Chuck Greene, the sequel’s new hero, can walk around while firing guns. It’s standard stuff for most games, but with Dead Rising it feels like a revelation.

Players wary of plunking down $60 for Dead Rising 2 can test the game's new mechanics in Case 0 for $5. If you were already planning on buying the sequel, you'll get a few bonuses as well. Case 0's story bridges the narrative gap between Dead Rising 1 and 2. There aren’t any earth-shattering reveals, but it sets up the dynamic between Greene and his daughter Katey and transfers your character progression into Dead Rising 2. When I fire up the sequel, for example, my version of Chuck will start off at level five. He’ll also have a Mohawk and will be dressed as a diner waitress, but that’s another story.

Case 0 features most of the major elements of the sequel. By the time the end credits roll, you will have created a few new weapons using the game’s new workbench feature, escorted some survivors (and enjoyed their improved pathing and AI), given your daughter a timed dose of anti-zombie medication, scoured the zombie-filled streets for parts to repair a motorcycle, and battled a psychopath in a junkyard. And, of course, you will have slaughtered hundreds of the undead with improvised weapons as varied as dinner plates, baseball bats, and pushcarts.

For better or worse, however, you can burn through the entire experience in a few hours. Case 0 is a relatively short experience, but I found myself going back to it several times afterward to search for more weapon components and to smash my way through a few hundred more undead. Poking crowds of zombies with an electrified rake hasn’t gotten old.

Aside from its meager scale, there’s not much wrong with Case 0. If you loved the first game and are salivating at the sequel, picking this one up is a no-brainer. Skeptics should check it out, too. If nothing else, it’s a great representative slice of Dead Rising 2 – for better or for worse.

Dead Rising 2: Case 0 cover
Dead Rising 2: Case 0

Case 0 provides a nice (if not shallow) overview of what players can
expect when Dead Rising 2 lurches out

Game Informer's Review System
Concept Show off Dead Rising 2’s new gameplay systems in an effective cross between a paid demo and standalone game
Graphics It won’t win first prize in a beauty contest, but Blue Castle has succeeded in cramming loads of zombies onto the screen
Sound Still Creek is a pretty quiet place, even for a ghost town. Splattering zombies sounds great, though
Playability The controls are refined, though climbing can still be a matter of trial and error
Entertainment Case 0 provides a nice (if not shallow) overview of what players can expect when Dead Rising 2 lurches out
Replay Moderately high