Fans have been pleading for a new Dead Rising game for some time and Capcom was listening. You have to be careful for what you wish for though. Instead of Dead Rising 3, fans have been given a reinterpretation of the events that unfolded in Dead Rising 2. Frank West is back and must explore the decaying depths of Fortune City to uncover the truth of what is going on.
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record puts players back into the locked-down casino town of Fortune City. Players familiar with Dead Rising 2 will find the maps more-or-less the same with some new maps, new enemies, new combo weapons and a new storyline which complements the previous game.
Players will learn that Frank is washed up, broke and looking for a way to get back into the game. Frank finds himself in the Fortune City Arena fighting zombies for cash in a zombified caged death match. This first area gets players accustomed to the controls and introduces the plot. Frank finds himself with journalistic gold when a terrorist attack happens at Fortune City unleashing the zombie horde on the populace of the city. A zombie-rights organization, CURE, is blamed for the incident. As Frank, you must discover the truth behind the attack and survive until help arrives.
If you’ve played Dead Rising 2, then this game will seem exactly the same. Players will find themselves playing through the same maps as before. You will find some differences with the biggest addition being Uranus Zone which is a small amusement park. Like before, you will also find yourself sent on many missions like helping survivors, finding zombrex, or trying to piece together clues found throughout the city. Fans of the series will likely find themselves getting bored as this game is so much like the last. Game mechanics are the same and zombie AI has not been improved over the last installment. Graphics also seemed the same with little improvements. I knew that maps and gameplay would be relatively the same but hoped to see improvements and majors additions to Fortune City. Sadly, I was wrong.I was also sad to see the time constraints still imposed on the player. You have 72 game hours to play through. At the beginning, the player must decide if they want to complete the game or finish all the missions. You can’t do both. I found myself constantly being called with survivors to help and places to explore. I’d be at a major section of the game with a call coming in about a survivor needing to be rescued on the other side of the town or you need to find Zombrex before you miss your morning dose. I had four different missions to go on so far apart from each other that it was impossible to complete them all. I’m pretty OCD on completing all the missions and it was such a let down to have to let one group of survivors die so I can progress in the game.
You will also find yourself avoiding killing zombies because you just don’t have the time. I’m playing a zombie game because I want to kill zombies. Thats the point. Don’t limit us with time restraints.
So I’ve been tough on Dead Rising 2: Off the Record but there are some amazing aspects of the game. One addition which I loved was the addition of the Sandbox Mode. The player has no time limit. You can spend hours smashing zombies with a sledgehammer or killing swarms of zombies with some of the cool new combo weapons. Challenges are available to the player depending on the number of kills you have racked up. Challenges range from killing a certain number of zombies to killing a set number with a combo weapon. With so many challenges and just the ability to roam the maps killing zombies, Sandbox mode is the perfect answer to the timed story mode.
A huge plus, is playing as Frank West. Frank made Dead Rising so amazing and I just love this character. He’s a little sleazy, cocky and a womanizer but thats what adds to the appeal of the character. He’s a good guy but has that dark side. Its just cool to play as him and listen to his cocky banter with other characters. He is also a little older and not in perfect shape which you can “feel” while playing this character. Its an aspect which makes Off the Record play so well. You are also able to shoot photos like the first Dead Rising. You are able to gain more experience (PP) by shooting different genres of photos which include drama, horror and, yes, erotica. It adds another layer of depth which makes this game more interesting to play. While you may feel rushed during the story mode, you can really take the time to get some awesome shots in Sandbox Mode.
Lastly, the weapons and combo weapons are just amazing. What makes Dead Rising a great zombie game is that everything in the environment can be used as a weapon. From trash cans to electric drills and foam sports hands, anything not nailed down can be used to kill zombies. The weapon system is what makes this franchise standout from all other zombie games. You can also combine objects together to make some amazing weapons which will give you an added boost when attacking. You can create all the weapons from the last plus many new weapons like the fan-created “Electric Crusher”. I’m a huge fan of weapon creation and combinations in games and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record does it perfectly. Though I find that it could be improved. I can tape a machete to a broomstick, so why can’t I tape a bowie knife or steak knife to it. You should be able to use similar weapons to create a combo item.
Fans of the series who have been waiting patiently for a new Dead Rising game may not be completely happy with Dead Rising 2: Off the Record. Its just so similar without any real major improvements and few additions. But the addition of Frank West and Sandbox mode are good highlights. Newbies to the series will find it to be a great game. Its like getting an improved version of the first two games combined at a discounted price. Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is only $39.99.