Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Game Review - Dead Rising 2: Off the Record

Trailer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILwLoR3OFU4

Wiki - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Rising_2:_Off_the_Record

Let me start by saying this:  This game is FAAAAN-TASTIC!

They fixed the save system!!! (You will only understand the significance of this if you've played a DR game in the past.)

It is essentially the same saving system, but now you have auto saved checkpoints at every loading screen.  It helps a TON!  (Although I did manage to save myself into one the infamous DR save situations where there's no way to win.)

This is a strange game in a lot of ways... 1. It really is the Dead Rising 2 world, with a few additions.  2.  The new area is called Uranus Zone.  And it keeps getting wierder from there.

Basically for this game, they're saying it's kind of alternate universe or something, where Frank West ends up the main character instead of Chuck Green.  It's a strange concept to build the game around, but it works. 

If you're played DR2, then this game is about 60-70% the same survivors, psychopaths, weapon placements, combo weapons, etc.  At first look you may think that percentage should be higher, like 85% the same.  But really towards the end they changed WAY MORE than stuff at the beginning.

Design - 17/20 - I'm thinking if I should score points against the game because it's essentially the same game as DR2?  But I think no, why should I, when it comes to design this is just like any other sequel.

If you like the meat and potatoes Dead Rising gameplay, then you're going to like this game.  It's all there.  Now with taking pictures, again!!

In my playthrough I experienced some classic DR moments, fighitng some psycho boss, about to die, run into whatever the closest shop is and scavenge for some food, munch on some brownies and maybe a burger from the trash and go back into the fight!  I love that.

Like I said earlier, most of the survivors are the same... some are new, some got their timing and or quest changed a bit, some moved.

Before you go thinking, "Bla.. I played DR2, skipping this!"  The story gets really crazy towards the end, at the beginning you'll be like "yea, yea...", I even skipped a few cutscenes that I had seen in DR2.  But don't get me wrong, TONS of stuff changed, and most near the end.  WIthout giving away spoilers, you will be shocked by what happens in the story. 

P.S.  Chuck is in here!

I've always loved the camera aspect of Frank "I've covered wars you know" West and it's back and better than ever.  There's one achievement to get horror, brutality, comedy and erotica in one pic... I went after this achievement!  I had 3 hookers with me, so I got erotic points every time I clicked on them.  Then I gave them some swords, that took care of horror and brutality as long as there was some zombies to kill.  Then I got a mask and put it on a zombie, that should be funny.. took the pic:  Hookers, blood and boobs everywhere in front of a zombie wearing a mask, but I didn't get humor?!  WTF  I was pissed and my window was closing, so I quickly looked around, found a dildo and chucked it into the fray and wildly took a shot.  Boom humor!!  I guess a flying dildo is funnier than a zombie wearing a mask.  Now I know!

A new feature I love and that DR needed was a sandbox mode!  No timers, no stress, just the whole world to play in.  That alone would be ok, but they decided to take it a step further and they added these challenges all around.  And to unlock the challenges, each has a number of zombies you need to kill.  So that gives the player incentive to kill lots of zombies to unlock challenges, nice!  Challenges are things like Kill as many zombies as possible in 30 seconds, score as much PP as you can in this time, races, etc.  It's fun and playable in co-op also.

Here's a good tip also.. Whatever money you make in sandbox mode carries over to the story.  And an even better tip:  There's a point in the game where you need to make a million dollars in a certain amount of time.  I just saved, quit, went to sandbox mode and made the cash, went back into the story and boom had it.  You're welcome!

I could go on and on, but I'll just re-iterate, if you like DR, you'll like this game.  If you're never played DR but are interested, this is the game to try out. 

DR is one of my favorite game series of all time and the sole reason I originally bought my 360.  I was extremely happy playing this game.

Tech -  16/20 - No crashses, some slowdown.  Responsive.  Jumping into co-op is no hassle and fun.  Survivor AI is WAAAY better than before.  The survivor AI is so much improved they have a crazy achievement to have the first survivor damage the final boss.  That means you're escorting her around the ENTIRE game!!  So insane I might try it.

Also bonus points, no game pushes as many zombies onscreen as DR; sometimes there's a sea of the motherfuckers!

Art - 17/20 - The zombies look great, there's not too many variations of em.  I almost wanna say there's less variety than before, but not sure.  The new area, Uranus Zone is cool and comes with a few new zombies.  A lot of the survivors got minor art tweaks also. 

Production - 18/20 - This game is a sweet package.  Cutscenes are good, VO is good, the writing is very good, especially when you think of all the thought behind "re-imagining" the story.

They did kind of go over the top.. How can an already over the top game go over the top?  Uranus Zone, that's how.

I will say one thing, the loading screen tips are so annoying, I want to slap whoever wrote them.. that's it.

Value - 16/20 - I went to buy a game (BF3 or Gears3) and was totally surprised to see this on the shelf, I knew it was coming but figured next year sometime.  $39 is $20 better than $59, and the game is priced nicely.  It shouldn't be $59, it's some old content.  I can see how some people will skip this, but I think if you like DR as a series and you skip this you're totally blowing it.  There's a good amount of replay value in all DR games, they are designed so you cannot do everything in one playthrough.  But this doesn't have the lasting replay value of some of the giant shooting games out there.
Total Score = 84/100

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