Dead Rising 2: Case Zero

Gamescom 2010: Dead Rising: Case Zero Hands On Preview - A Bite-Sized Mini Adventure

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A few eyebrows were raised when Capcom decided to release a mini version of its upcoming sequel to the well received Dead Rising. Even more so when it was announced that the “demo” would also be a sizable chunk of this supposed Xbox Live Arcade title. However, after a chance to go hands on with both the arcade title and its retail big brother at this year's Gamescom, we think it may well be money well spent after all.

Clocking in at a mere 400 Microsoft Points, it may well be one of the cheapest gaming investments for quite some time. For the same price as Pac-man, you can get a few hours of some zombie killing carnage and an instant boost when you start the real thing in just over a month – although Capcom were keen to stress they still love the ghost gobbling, yellow blobbed gaming legend.

So what do you get for your investment? Simply put, this game is a prequel of sorts to Dead Rising 2 and details how our hero, Chuck, and his daughter end up in Fortune City. All of the elements that are present in the main game can be found here too. With five case missions to solve, an overriding need to find some Zombrex for your daughter and a bunch of survivors to either help, kill or trade with, it’s the fitting bite-sized adventure for September’s fully blown sequel. It’s also the perfect time to sample the frankly awesome weapon combination system and see how the combo card system truly works.

Without giving too much away from a story perspective, Case Zero has the same feel as its predecessor, but with superior visuals and tighter controls. It also seems a lot easier to navigate between missions and use the map to find points of interest. All of the fixes seem like minor ones over the original, but do serve to make the whole thing a smoother experience and mean you are never caught cursing the camera, the save system, controls or your next door neighbour.

The length of time you spend with Case Zero is entirely up to you really. You cannot use it to level up indefinitely as that would make Dead Rising 2 ripe for abuse, but you can get a feel for how the PP system works and take some valuable experience across – the PP system is the game’s experience meter which fills for every zombie you kill, every mission you complete or survivor you find, etc.
As you level up you will get new combo cards for creating weird and wonderful new weapons, plus boosts to your health and fighting moves amongst other things. Another neat touch is the ability to earn cash as you go along, either from destroying objects or helping out people with loaded wallets. This money can then be used to buy key items, hints and weapons of zombicidal destruction from your friendly neighbourhood Pawn Shop – quite why a shop would stay open though in zombie ground zero is another matter.

You can also, wonderfully, kill and maim an absolute bucket load of zombies in any number of gruesome ways. Creating your first nail bat or electric rake will see you mow down plenty of the zombie horde, and the fun kicks up a notch when you use a drill bucket for the first time. Of course you could be boring and snipe them from the top of a safe building – but where is the thrill in that? It is much better to go toe-to-toe with them armed to the teeth with a wrench, sledgehammer, bowling ball or an electric rake. The more ridiculous, the better.

The real beauty of this bite-size experience is the fact it gives you a taste of the full game with only a very minor outlay, so you will soon know that zombie carnage is for you. For those that get sucked in, there are a bunch of achievements that help you to sample everything on offer and the fact you can carry over experience, cash and combo cards to the main game is a bonus.

If you focus purely on completing the main missions you could probably blitz through the whole thing in an hour, but that would be totally missing the point. Instead you should take time to explore Still Creek, help out survivors and raise a bit of mayhem. The whole point of Dead Rising is the fact that you can pretty much do what you like up to a point and the main missions can be little more than optional should you so desire. Obviously the full game will have a far greater range of weapons, missions and foes to contend with, but this tasty morsel should give you a great indication of what to expect, for a fraction of the price, at the end of next month.

When this Xbox Live Arcade exclusive drops next week, chances are it’ll be downloaded by the masses without a second thought and that’s for a very good reason. With some background story, a new environment and a sample of what’s to come, Dead Rising: Case Zero is shaping up to be the future of game demos. After all, it’s much more interesting to release an all-new bite-sized game that covers all the facets of a new game than it is to cut out a level of the main game and just shove it in your face. After a few hours of pure unadulterated fun with Case Zero, there is no doubt that afterwards anticipation for Dead Rising 2 will be at fever pitch.

Dead Rising Case Zero is out August 31st for 400 Microsoft Points.


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Game Info


US August 31, 2010

HDD Space Required : 825 mb
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