~~~ Background ~~~
Dead Rising was released in 2006, telling the tale of photo-journalist Frank West’s endeavour to uncover the truth of a bizarre “outbreak” in a mall. Trapped for several days, surrounded by zombies, random survivors and an array of deadly, (and often comical) weapons, Frank not only fought for his own survival, but to uncover the truth behind the outbreak.
Dead Rising 2 sees the zombie-slaying torch passed onto a new protagonist – Chuck Greene. Armed only with his ingenuity (and assorted deadly/comical weapons left lying around the place), as well as his parental instinct to keep his daughter Katey safe, Chuck picks up the banner left by Frank and goes up against the horde.
~~~ Case Zero ~~~
‘Dead Rising 2: Case Zero’ is essentially a demo-prelude before the retail game comes out at the end of September 2010. It follows Chuck and Katey as they stop off for fuel on their way to Fortune City, (the setting of the main game).
Without giving too much away, Chuck finds and bike chassis and decides to rebuild it, therefore needing to find five key elements that anyone would expect to make up a motorbike, (you know, handle bars, a wheel, an engine, etc.) This forms the core of Case Zero.
~~~ Gameplay ~~~
Anyone who played the original Dead Rising will instantly find a familiarity to tackling zombies. There’s a wealth of weapons, from baseball bats to shotguns to broadswords. An interesting update from the original is the ability to combine certain items to create a combo-weapon, (baseball bat with nails stuck in anyone?)
For anyone who didn’t play the original game, the pop-up tutorials take you through all things relevant – for experienced players some of theses pop-ups have an element of “teaching granny to suck eggs”, but most introduce you to the new mechanics without being overly distracting. As an introduction to the game, ‘Case Zero’ works very well for new gamers, without alienating or overly irritating original players.
Roaming around the environment, slaying zombies, by and large has a very satisfying hack-and-slash aspect. One thing that I will say is that I was a little surprised by the quantity of blood that occurs from certain combo-weapons, compared to the original. For whatever reason, Capcom have decided to work hard to earn the 18 certificate.
‘Case Zero’ balances the hack-and-slash aspect of zombie-slaying versus the problem solving of locating bike parts reasonably well. I thought once in a while that game felt glitchy, (it wasn’t, but that was my impression). Whilst I never got to the point I wanted nothing more to do with the game, I did find myself getting frustrated by how under-powered Chuck was against the horde. I think this is most likely down to the fact that the last time I played Dead Rising, Frank West’s stats were maxed out and reverting back to base-level character came as something of a system-shock. That said, leveling up (within the demo-prelude, limited to Level 5) came quite easily and I don’t think anyone would really struggle through the core of the game.
~~~ Who’s It For ~~~
Anyone who didn’t play the original Dead Rising, ‘Case Zero’ offers an excellent opportunity to ease themselves into the game mechanics – as well as beginning an engaging story – without necessarily having had to of played the original game. I’ll admit that the origins of the “outbreak” aren’t covered, so new comers will be a little in the dark regarding the background, but Katey’s part in the story offers a universal hook that I think most people will be able to latch onto.
If you played the original and didn’t enjoy it, I doubt there’s anything significantly different to make you change your mind. You still have to slay zombies, you still have the race against time and you still have to rescue survivors – if theses elements bored you to tears, you should avoid the demo-prelude and most likely, avoid the full game. For players of the original, I think there’s enough improvements, (such as being able to read the on-screen messages, as well as the combo-weapons) that would help maintain your interest as well as keeping the overall experience reasonably fresh.
~~~ BlueMidgetPanda’s Thoughts ~~~
All things considered, I enjoyed ‘Case Zero’. The 0riginal Dead Rising is easily one of my favourite current-gen games and I’m eager to get my hands on Dead Rising 2. That said, as something I paid money for, ‘Case Zero’ isn’t without its flaws.
For a start, playing through was, at times, a little frustrating because the goals felt a little undefined. On top of that, having paid some, (admittedly a small amount, but an amount nevertheless) of my “hard-earned cash”, it’s exteremly short – I think if there had of been two days worth of cases I’d feel less “hard-done-by”, but as it is, I was a little underwhelmed by the overall result – I think an extra twenty minutes more would have been all it would have taken for me to felt that I’d of gotten value for money and I think it’s a shame there wasn’t more consideration gone into the length. That said, the shortness is my only genuine critism of the game.
~~~ The Bottom Line ~~~
If you’ve never played Dead Rising, but have been curious, ‘Case Zero’ is an excellent introduction, offering you a good overall view of how the game plays and what you should expect from the full retail version. If you’re not prepared to pay for a demo, I’d recommend at least downloading the trail version just to try. If you hated the original, or were never even curious, then give this a miss – there isn’t enough of a shift from Dead Rising to change your opinion.
Shortness aside, fans (or fanatics) or the original should definitely give ‘Case Zero’ some of their time – the core of Dead Rising is still, but polished enough to make it entertaining and, for me at least, a little bit new.
This Community Content article was created by BlueMidgetPanda, a member of our community. Community Content is your way of getting long-form writing and opinion out to the Midlife Gamer audience, an open platform to get something off your chest. For full guidelines on our editorial standards and how to create your own post, click here. The views expressed within are those of the author and not necessarily the opinions of the Midlife Gamer Staff