Besides some notable RPGs, not often do we come across a game that goes out of its way to provide the community with a lengthy, playable backstory in order to prepare gamers for what’s to come in the main installment. While some may argue that something like Dead Rising 2: Case Zero can be considered a demo or should be included with the game itself, others (myself included) see it as a great opportunity to get acquainted with the gameplay, become engrossed with the plot and character development, and get our hands on a game almost a month before its release, especially if said game is a sequel to one I never really completed.
Case Zero is such a game, providing a thorough explanation of leading man Chuck and his daughter Katey’s exploits. With complaints concerning Case Zero being nothing more than Dead Rising 2′s demo aside, it’s certainly worth the measly 400 MP ($5) asking price.
Case Zero takes place three years before the events of Dead Rising 2 (two years after the first game), detailing how Chuck ends up in the fictional Fortune City, fighting off the zombie horde in order to protect his infected daughter and continue administering Zombrex, the medication that staves of zombification. Much like the main game will incorporate, you’ll be working against time, as it gives you basically twelve-in-game-hours to accomplish the missions that are presented before Chuck. While the story is definitely entertaining and engaging, the time limit somewhat puts a damper on the initial experience, making you rush through the town of Still Creek and it’s living and reanimated inhabitants. However, all is not lost, as your Prestige Points (EXP) and cash will remain the same through multiple playthroughs, allowing you to easily reach the level cap and transfer over both your level and money into the main game, and get in as much zombie massacring as you can handle.
Though the main gameplay mechanics generally remain unchanged since the first Dead Rising, Case Zero introduces some interesting and much needed tweaks to freshen up the experience. Besides introducing the constant constraint of time, shooting has been revamped for the better, enabling an over-the-shoulder view while aiming, which makes using guns useful and fun, as you now actually have control over what you want to shoot. Combat itself feels more fluid as well, and is more brutally pleasing than ever with the newly introduced combo weapons that Chuck can create at the workbenches scattered around the desolate Still Creek. Weapons with a wrench above them, such as the leaf rake and car battery, can be combined to make more devastating (and in most cases, hilarious) weaponry like the electric rake. It adds an incredibly fun customization factor, as well as added PP, that will make you want to search your surroundings for more interesting and effective combinations to help boost your level, and they’re definitely some of the more gruesome and amusing ways to dispatch the horde with.
Even though Case Zero is “essentially” Dead Rising 2′s demo, it gives a pretty big bang for your buck. The entire story will take anywhere from 2-3 hours, much longer if you hope to reach that level cap, find and rescue all of the survivors in Still Creek, and create every combo weapon available to you to experience the unique effect each weapon has on the beautifully rendered and animated zombie horde. On top of the striking visuals, which include some gorgeous cutscenes involving the other limited amount of survivors, Case Zero carries a killer soundtrack reminiscent of some of the better zombie flicks of the past decade, and one that’s perfect for hacking, shooting, and bucket-drilling the seemingly endless amount of reanimated corpses that appear on screen. One of the most notable improvements comes with the sheer amount of zombies that can appear on screen with no slowdown whatsoever, a problem I encountered often with the first installment and am very happy to see has disappeared.
With a compelling story, impressive visuals, and innovative and revamped combat and shooting mechanics, respectively, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is very deserving of your 400 MP, and feels much more like DLC than what many are calling a mere “demo.” You really shouldn’t pass it up for such a cheap price, especially if you plan to get the main installment later on this month.
Besides, except for Zombieland (which is technically a comedy), when was the last time a pure, great zombie movie even came out? You should be buying it for this reason alone.
Running around in a completely blood-soaked plaid suit looks fantastic, and making it that bloody is even more pleasing. Best of all, no slowdown with all those magnificent corpses hulking around on screen.
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Crisp, fluid combat mixed with revamped shooting mechanics make Case Zero a large improvement over its predecessor.
Splattering a zombie brain with a spiked baseball bat never sounded so comforting. The soundtrack is pretty stellar as well.
While it only clocks in around 2-3 hours, you'll be spending far more time reaching the level cap and earning some cash to transfer over to the main game.
Looking past the demo complaint, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is more like a pre-release DLC, helping to bridge the gap between the two main installments with an enthralling story, and provides enough zombie skull-bashing that'll keep even the most sadistic of us pleased for hours to come.