The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero First Impressions

Or maybe it’s ‘Case 0′, like in the title screen? Whatever.

Ok, so the ZRC played the Dead Rising 2 prologue for a few hours this evening over dinner (a lovely ricotta and parmesean stuffed tortellini with a simple marinara sauce, thanks for asking). First impressions follow:

Every videogame series has conventions, at least after a while. Part of this is the need to appeal to players of the previous game, part is branding, part might be simple convenience, reusing the tools and development tricks that were cobbled together the hard way, the first time around. Bottom line, absent extensive effort, gaming conventions are a fact of life. Some even become iconic; Chocobos and Phoenix Downs, 1Up mushrooms and Fire Flowers, quarter circle forward fireballs.

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero marks the second game, or part of it at least, in a new hot-selling franchise of Anti-Zombie sandbox games. Still, being so early in the series, and standing apart from the first one in time, handed off to a new team to develop (the first Dead Rising was an internal Capcom project, whereas Dead Rising 2 was developed by Blue Castle Games) it’s shocking just how… conservative this game feels.

Case Zero doesn’t feel like the prologue to a new Dead Rising game; it feels like DLC for the first one.

A handy example of what I mean: when you lose the game in Case Zero, you get the same message as from the first game, ‘The truth has vanished into darkness’ or something like that. In the first game this made sense; you played an investigative photojournalist working on a mystery. In the second game, there’s no ‘truth’ you’re seeking; you play a father trying to keep his daughter alive while escaping the authorities. Yet they retained the message; why? Homage, or lack of creativity? You decide, I suppose.

The world, story, and objectives in Case Zero are remarkably truncuated. I’d expected as much but it’s still somewhat glaring, even in a five dollar download. The ‘town’ you’re exploring is a single block of two streets of the commercial district in one of those backroads small towns that stereotypically died out after the Interstates bypassed them. All shops and no houses here in Podunk, Nevada; it’s not at all clear where anyone in the town is supposed to have *lived*. It has/had a population of about 700, with no apartments, no houses, no full-service grocery stores. Paradoxically, despite its placement in the Nevada deserts, 46 miles from Vegas, it does have a hunting/fishing store, advertising prominently its focus on bass fishing and deer hunting.

Err… in Nevada?

(Weirder still, said store’s stock consists largely of broadswords, harkening back to a particularly fan-servicey splatter weapon from the first game)

The first Dead Rising took place in a mall, referencing the seminal Zombie-bashing movie Dawn of the Dead. Dead Rising 2: Case Zero seems to forget it’s NOT set in one. It’s kind of distracting.

As for playing the game… the ZRC is conducting a sort of experiment with the Case Zero download: we’re trying to complete the game’s main story mode without killing a single zombie. Is it doable? Hard to say. We’ve completed most of the tasks set out before us, but one survivor has to be rescued to ‘win’ and he seems to insist on your character killing Zombies before he’ll allow himself to BE rescued. Bizarre I know. Perhaps he has psychological problems.

Still, our commitment to non-violence forces us to try our best to resolve the situation. I’ll let you know how that turns out, plus, eventually, a review of just how depraved the game gets in its anti-Zombie violence.

Until next time.

About The Author

The role of 'Administrator' will be played tonight by John Sears, currently serving as President of The Zombie Rights Campaign.


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