The bulk of Dead Rising 2 involves running around the map, rescuing survivors, and killing psychopaths until you trigger the next cutscene. It may sound repetitive, but there's enough variety in these simple activities to keep you on your toes. Survivor rescue is not as easy as it sounds. You receive distress calls informing you of stranded humans in need of help, and you have to convince them to come back with you to the safe house. Sometimes, it's as easy as talking to them for a minute before they decide hanging around with zombies is a bad idea, but at other times, it takes more convincing. You may have to strip down to your knickers or provide a tasty beverage, and there are enough preposterous requests to keep you guessing. Thankfully, their artificial intelligence has been greatly improved from the first game, which removes the aggravation of saving their hides. However, as adept as they usually are at following you through the zombie horde, they are painfully slow at times, which makes an already stressful game that much tenser. But it's still a lot of fun finding every last survivor, and it takes a bit of practice before you can round them all up in one go.
6276645Fights in bathrooms aren't very hygienic.None
Psychopaths serve as the boss fights in Dead Rising 2, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that man is worse than zombie. These deranged lunatics show their true colors when chaos rules the day, and their dark backstories make it satisfying to finally kill them. For instance, one of Chuck's former motocross competitors has lost his mind now that law and order have disappeared. He fashions chainsaws on his motorcycle and plows through everything that moves with creepy glee--even humans who are unfortunate enough to cross his path. Each psycho has a unique tale of depravity, and finishing off these sickos cues a morbid scene of their ultimate demise. Unfortunately, it's in these battles that the sluggish controls are exposed. There is a slight delay when you try to dodge or attack, and up-close melee attacks don't always register. You can overcome this drawback with a bit of patience, but it's a shame the controls in Dead Rising 2 aren't more precise.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Dead Rising 2 has to do with how it urges you to play through the entire game multiple times. Because of the pressure of the ticking clock, it's almost impossible to see everything your first time through. Going back a second time with a powered-up Chuck and a better grasp of the level layouts makes it much easier to complete the main objectives and thoroughly explore your surroundings. There are tons of hidden secrets to uncover. Extra boxes of Zombrex, drivable vehicles, shortcuts, and all sorts of fabulous weapons can be found in the darnedest places, and it's well worth your trouble to comb the environment to see what gems you can unearth. One thing that may hold you back from repeat playing is the atrocious load times, which continually try to derail your fun. The city is broken up into a number of malls and casinos, and you have to suffer through a long load time every time you enter a new area. There are other technical issues as well, such as pop-in and screen tearing, which detract from the simple joy of slicing a zombie in half.
Freeze rays may look dumb, but at least they're effective.
If you don't want to slay zombies and rescue survivors by your lonesome, a handy cooperative mode lets you tackle the campaign with a friend. Although it's certainly interesting to have a buddy by your side as you unravel this conspiracy, it feels strange during the initial play-through. This is a narrative-heavy game in which your actions decide the ultimate ending, so having someone else along for the ride encroaches on your expression. Although co-op doesn't make much sense your first time through, it's a great idea when you replay the adventure. Combining your destructive might against the undead zombies and uncaring psychopaths is cathartic, and getting help makes rescuing survivors much easier. There are some limitations--most notably the inability to explore the city separately--but as long as you don't mind having your buddy nearby the whole time, this mode can be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the competitive offering, Terror is Reality. This pits four players in American Gladiators-inspired minigames, but loose controls and forgettable scenarios makes this dull. You do get to transfer the money you earn here into the main game, which lets you buy premade combo weapons and extra Zombrex, but that's not a big enough draw to suffer through this mode.
Dead Rising 2 delicately balances wanton destruction with thoughtful objectives. Just about every aspect of this game is entertaining, ensuring that you're having a good time whether you're fighting psychopaths, rescuing survivors, or just trying to find hidden secrets. The weapon-creation system continually rewards you with unique ways to kill your brain-starved foes, but it's the tight structure that provides the main draw. Because you're continually pushed from one objective to the next, you don't have time to dwell on small problems. It would have been nice to be able to put a waypoint on your map, and the driving controls are still horrible, but it's worth putting up with these issues just to experience the brutal joy that is buried within. There are a lot of zombie games out there, but this game proves that killing brain-dead foes can offer more than just mindless fun. Dead Rising 2 is a great sequel to one of the most original open-world games available.