Dead Rising came with what was, almost literally, a killer premise. You, stuck in the middle of a zombie outbreak, waiting for rescue. In a shopping mall. With a camera (‘cause you're a photo-journalist), and a mess of folk to save and plots to unravel.
The beauty of the game was that most of those folk-plots could be ignored, or even devoured if you're not quick enough. Many gamers, just to beat the game, simply found a nice hiding spot and toughed out the zombie apocalypse until rescue arrived - sure, you might miss out on most of the actual game, but you can still say you ‘finished' it. And we like a game that is that open.
Dead Rising 2 offers a lot more reasons to avoid the hide-in-a-cupboard mentality, as well as serious graphical improvements that up the vast zombie count to pants-browningly large, and some of the most outrageous anti-zombie devices ever devised.
But, sadly, it also makes some stupidly outrageous mistakes.
Chainsaws + bikes = awesome
Dead Rising 2 sets an over-the-top tone from the get-go. Where Dead Rising was more the traditional zombie survival yarn, DR2 is more post-Romero in it's approach.
As the game opens, the zombie cat's out of the bag, and America is dealing with it the only way it knows how - by turning it into an over the top reality-style game show. The game's called "Terror is Reality", and the aim of the game is to take a motorcycle with a pair chainsaws strapped to it and ride through a crowd of shuffling undead. You're not alone, of course, and the winner is he who racks up the most kills.
Annoyingly, it's kinda fun, too - the arena you're playing in has banked walls that let you work up a lot of speed, but - also annoyingly - the game is over far too soon. As the rest of the plot kicks in you start to get a greater picture of the new undead world. With growing zombie-sploitation, there are of course anti-zombie-sploitation movements popping up; there's also a jerk competitor in the Terror is Reality comp who seems to really hate you for no apparent reason, and your daughter, who needs regular injections of the drug Zombrex to stop the zombie infection from killing her.
Oh, and that's when someone opens the zombie pens. While they're dressed in racing leathers that look just like yours...
That's pretty much the set up to the game right there, and escaping that initial outbreak sums up what is arguably the training levels of the game. Once you leave the arena, dash through the streets, and find the zombie apocalypse shelter, the game gets serious.
Deadly serious... (yeah, we went there)