Wednesday, September 01, 2010


So I was home sick yesterday... not infected by a zombie outbreak, just fighting a little stomach flu. So I turned on the old Xbox and whattyaknow- I got to fight some zombies...
Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, a pay-demo was up for download.
In a word: Definitely buy this for 400 points if you are considering the full game. That's about the cost of an HD rental from XBLive, and it takes about 3 hours (if you knew what you were doing) to race through the storyline.
The Specifics
A couple of years ago, Xbox released "Dead Rising" a "zombie" survival 3rd person game that saw you as a photographer trapped in a Mall (shades of "Dawn of the Dead" trying to gather supplies, rescue others and get the hell out of Dodge- or Williamett (something like that, I forget the exact town name). The game featured typical third person view, but had the nifty feature that you could pick up nearly anything to bash zombies with- cash registers, guitars, benches, even potted plants. And the "zombies" were actually infected humans, controlled by tiny bug-queens that could be captured and squished- causing nearby zombie heads to explode. The game had a super-long plot, featured lots of great gore, and very little firearms.
DR2:C0 is more of the same. The plot is you're a famous motorcycle rider, ala Johnny Blaze. Your daughter got bit by your wife who was already turned. You're giving her shots every 12 hours to keep her from turning. Some asshole steals your truck as you refuel in some po-dunk town, abandoning you and your little girl. You hole up in a gas station, and you have 12 hours to search the town to find more medicine and either wait for the Army to show up, or find another vehicle and split.
New weapons abound in the game. My personal favorite is the claymore sword, which is for some reason in the gun shop in town. There's also Bowie knives, M16s, handguns, shotguns, hunting recurves, chainsaws, spiked baseball bats... lots of zombie bashing fun.
Like before, the zombies are semi-docile, bewildered flesheaters by day, but at night become aggressive and chase after you. You can open and close doors, effectively barricading yourself in various buildings, and time passes about 5 times faster than normal. After you locate (or buy from the local pawnshop) some Zombrex medicine, then you're off to repair a trail bike to ride out of town. The whole mission has to be completed in 11 hours of game time, or just under 4 hours of real time.
Survivors include the pawnshop owner, some crazy, rattlesnake-jacket-wearing redneck sniping zombies from a rooftop for fun, a gambler couple from nearby Vegas, etc. etc.
I had a blast with it for three hours. Then I started getting frustrated and read the walkthrough online so I could finish the damn thing.
Game strategies are to jump, duck, weave and run through the bewildered crowd of zombies. There's too many to shot them all, and the game will just respawn them anyway.
Left4Dead is better, because it's all shooting and blowing stuff up. This is more of a scavenging, fighting zombie game than a shooter. Still, it's a lot of fun for a few hours.
What is this game lacking?
Vehicles: They're everywhere, abandoned through the large map. In DR1, there was a motorcycle, convertible, panel van and even an open Humvee you could drive to plow through the crowds of zombies. The demo ends with you motorcycling away, dodging or running over zombies, but I still want a steamroller, or a tank or something...
Destructive Enviroment: I appreciate I can shoot out windows, and open and close doors, but why can't I plant a propane tank next to a locked door, shoot it and create a new entry? After Bad Company 1&2, I NEED destructible enviroments.
Climbing: You can climb and jump and so forth in this like Mario, but for some reason you can't climb chainlink fences, water pipes, or trees. I know I'm a big guy and climbing a chainlink fence is probably pushing the boundaries of reality, but in the game you're a thin extreme bike dude who should have no problem shinnying up the wall of a building Jackie Chan-style. Why tease me with climbing onto dumpsters, but thendeny me climbing a frickin' fence?
Running: Apparently, Chuck Greene (the hero of the game) is carrying bars of lead in his pockets, because he never does more than a wimpy jog-walk. When you're on the roof of a building, the streets teeming with zombies and a distance of only 10 feet separates you from the roof of the gun store, you should be able to take off in a dead run and leap across the roof gap, like something out of Starsky and Hutch. Even I can run faster than Chuck Greene.
Fire: Frankenstein was afraid of fire. Even Lego Indiana Jones has fire. Why is there no damned fire in DR2? I saw it in DR1. Why can't I light a building on fire and watch the zombies burn? Why can't I create a barrier of burning fuel on the road to hold zombies at bay? I guess this would fall under the whole destructive enviroment thing...
Ammo: Where the F*CK IS THE AMMO? When you're in the hunting store, there's boxes of it sitting out, but you can't pick them up or reload. You empty your M16 into a crowd of zombies until it runs dry, then you throw it on the floor. WTF? Have the game designers heard of bayonets? Even the police station is devoid of ammo. When you kill a zombie cop or soldier, you can't scavenge ammo off them like in GRAW. VERY frustrating.
Coolest parts of the Demo:
On the roof of the building you start in there's a Barret M82A1 anti-vehicle .50 cal "sniper" rifle. Find the rooftop ladder, climb up and get it. It's not good for up close, but it's rounds can take out three, or four or more zombies in a row. Firing into the densely-packed streets sends zombie limbs flying and is clearly the most awesome part of the game.
All the gambling machines around town (the game is set in Vegas) can be smashed and broken, causign them to spit out money. The same for ATMs. That money is used at the pawn shop- once you rescue the shop keeper.
Overall, I think I'll pass on the full version of DR2 and just stick with this pay-demo when I want to cave in some undead skulls. And this demo just made me wish more for a version of Left4Dead that featured only common infected for my sniping fun.

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