Friday, September 3, 2010

Does being undead have to be so dour?

I swear, some people (and companies) should not own computers.

Back on topic, once I got over paying $5 for an extended demo of Dead Rising 2 I had a pretty good time, mostly because I have paid more than $5 for "full" XBLA that don't last as long and don't allow you to save experience and money for the full game later. This is a trend that was started Fable Pub Games and I approve, as long as the game itself is a good on its own. Every good and/or bad about Case Zero (and Dead Rising 2, by extension) can be summed up by saying this is still Dead Rising. Very little has changed, and everything that I learned in the first game is still applicable, so running around with a carton of orange juice and a mannequin torso are still perfectly sound strategies. More emphasis is placed on weapon customization this time, to the point where kills with jury rigged explosive devices net you more experience than normal. I don't know if driving nails into a propane tank works the way hey show it, but I can't argue with the results.

On the down side it is still Dead Rising. There is a great deal to explore, even in this little demo town, but the time limit is completely unforgiving. You game is going to end after a specific amount of time, and it is not near long enough to rescue all the survivors and keep you daughter from being taken away by the evil military, at least not the first time. Like the first Dead Rising you are allowed to accept death with a smile an restart the game with your accumulated experience. I managed to avoid this unpleasant option the first time and i sure as hell don't want to go for it now. This time they have given you three save spots instead of one, but it is still possible to get into a time restricted problem that you cannot get out of. For example, I took a little too long beating Zed, the shotgun/pitchfork wielding manic whose gas station I was hiding out in. After I finally took him down I was still missing the last piece of a motorcycle I was building (in spite of there being about a hundred perfectly good cars around, but never mind that). I only had about two minutes of real time left before the game ended, so I frantically ran around the town searching for handlebars. I found them being wielded as a makeshift weapon my two biker dudes hiding behind the grocery store. I am sure that there was some quest they would have wanted me to do to get the handlebars, but there was no time.

So I beat them both to death with a spiked bat.

This kind of freedom in quests is welcome, but it does represent a slightly darker tone in Dead Rising 2, or at least in Case Zero. Dead Rising never took itself seriously, and most of Case Zero doesn't either, but when the main character's infected daughter looks up at her father with innocent eyes and asks 'why did mommy bite me?' things begin to veer a little too close to World War Z for my tastes. Don't get me wrong, World Was Z was awesome in an depressingly awful way, I just prefer my zombies with a side of humor, not nihilism.

I tried to play Blur again, I really did, but the last thing an arcade racer should do is feel bland, and that is exactly what it did only a few races in. Oh well, that made time for DJ Hero before Singularity shows up for the long weekend. I plan to celebrate Labor Day by shooting people and manipulating time, so nothing out of the ordinary, really.

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