Dead Rising 2

X10: Dead Rising 2 Hands On Preview - Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right, They Make a Weapon

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I don’t know about your house, but in my house, killing zombies for sport has become one of our favourite pastimes… it ranks right up there with shooting the neighbour’s cat with a BB gun for pissing on our prize-winning begonias. Luckily for me then (and that neighbour’s cat), nestled away in the hustle and bustle of this year’s X10 sat a handful of Dead Rising 2 stations with more than enough zombies to satisfy my sadistic-zombie killing needs.

I find myself compelled to mention that despite the change of development studios for this long anticipated sequel, nothing seems to have been lost in the translation. In fact, the game handles pretty much exactly the same as the original, but seems to have a more Western feel to the vibe of the game, moving away from the clichéd shopping mall of Willamette to a more fun-filled, tongue-in-cheek and outrageous Las Vegas-inspired Fortune City.

Our hands on set us against the clock in a short mini-game - a vertical slice of the game used to demonstrate a few key elements. The objective was simple, go out and gain 20,000 PP - the game’s experience - in a paltry ten minutes, using whatever you like, to unlock a short bonus round. 

Starting off with a trusty sledgehammer, we waded through the relatively sparse maintenance passages of Fortune City. Tapping X while holding one of the game’s many weapons will perform a “light” attack – although a light attack with a sledgehammer was pretty heavy – whilst holding X would get our new main man, Chuck, to perform a “heavy” attack. On this occasion the two resulted in two totally different moves, with the light attack resulting in a quick swipe and the heavy attack resulting in a slow, cumbersome stomp. The difference? The light attack may just be enough to down one of your brain-dead foes, whilst the heavy attack was more than powerful enough to crush the zombie’s skull, rendering the undead... dead.

The main mechanic that was really on show in this vertical slice of Dead Rising 2 was the game’s weapon creation system. Dotted around this small enclosed area of the strip were certain weapons that could be combined to provide some devastating, and equally exhilarating, zombie slashing weapons of mass eruption (I’m coining that phrase by the way). Of course, that being said, not all weapons work with this system… you can’t for instance stick a bench to one of the game’s “back massagers” - which is essentially a pink phallic shaped object; a dildo if you’re one for crude terminology. Incidentally the “back massager” is one of the benefit’s the game has seen from a change of developers. This smutty humour definitely has a place in Dead Rising 2, especially since Fortune City is based on Sin City itself, and you can expect to see this theme ring throughout your experience with the title.

Where was I? Ah yes, the weapon creation system. Only objects that are assigned a spanner icon can be taken to one of the game world’s many workbenches to take advantage of this wacky and wonderful system. In the opening 10 minutes alone, we’d already picked up a paddle and a chainsaw and bundled the two together. Then we strapped some knives on some boxing gloves - Wolverine style, dipped our baseball bat in some nails and filled our water pistol up with gasoline to make a potent flamethrower. Each weapon even has a glorious kill move if you hold down the X button for a heavy attack as well. If you’re stuck for ideas about what to create next, you can find combo cards that tell you what weapons are needed for certain creations dotted around the map. On this instance, an advertisement in the middle of the mini strip contained one of what we’re told are many.

Even if weapon creation system isn’t for you and you just want to pile into the masses of zombies without having to search for the ingredients of a super weapon, there are more than enough unique weapons lying around to fulfil that need. For instance, jabbing a set of rockets into a zombie’s head using the heavy attack approach will end in hilarity as the zombie becomes a walking time bomb. If all else fails, then the shop’s your best bet, selling a wide variety of weapons for varying prices - our favourite, the lawnmower than can turn a solitary zombie into a pile of mush with its heavy attack. The weapon system in a lot of regards is similar to its predecessor’s, with the ability to hold multiple weapons and of course, the degradability of said weapons. The weapons on the whole seemed to last for a good 30 zombie kills from what we experienced, but therein lies part of the problem, especially so with the homemade concoctions. It seems that you spend so long searching for specific weapons to assemble your weapon of choice, that when you finally do, they literally break a few short moments later. It would be nice to see Blue Castle Games balance this out a little more for the final retail version, making the time spent hunting for weapon ingredients worth it.

Killing zombies isn’t the only way to boost PP; you can also visit context specific zones for an added PP boost, although it will cost you. In this instance, a quick $1,000 will allow you to visit a “peep show” where you will net you 250 PP for about 2 seconds of work. Visit all 3 peep shows – which are next door to one another – and you get a 500 PP bonus. Don’t worry… when we say “peep show,” don’t expect to be grossed out by zombie strippers rubbing their junk and dribbling down their chests… it’s simply a cut away sequence.

Despite spending time making weapons, exploring, visiting peep shows and other zombie related decapitation, we actually made the 20,000 PP goal with a good minute to spare… naturally. All we needed to do now to see our bonus was to run down the clock… something that actually proved trickier than it should have been. My inability to run down the clock with my roadrunner antics nearly came back to haunt me. Emphasis on nearly.

In my time in the industry, I’ve come to realise there are two types of preview endings: those that end on a cliff-hanger and those that end with a bang. This was most certainly the latter. Our reward for achieving our goal you ask? Why, it’s one minute on the now infamous chainsaw motorbike, which is possibly more fun than anyone can ask for. Seriously.

The handling was simply a matter of accelerating and braking with the triggers. Use them together and you’ll be able to pull off some relatively small radial donuts… a perfect way to take out a cluster of those dim-witted adversaries. The highlight was most definitely just hitting break-neck speeds and slicing as many zombies as humanly possible. The end result is a blur of red mist and a huge grin on your face. An impressive way to end a positive first hands on for us. It’s clear that Blue Castle aren’t looking to change the formula too much as it’s clear it’s all about adding to what were some solid foundations… which is a win for us.

Check back later on in the week for our interview with Executive Producer, Rob Barrett, where we talk save systems, “back massagers” and their upcoming Xbox exclusive prequel.

Dead Rising 2 is out August 31st and September 3rd in North America and Europe respectively.


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Game Info


US September 28, 2010
Europe September 24, 2010
Japan September 30, 2010

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