If it's crap ... We'll tell you
While a majority of people are busy throwing batarangs and gliding through the city of Arkham I thought to take a look at a game from last week. (And because my copy of Batman hasn’t come in the mail yet.)
Disclaimer: I have played through the previous two games and the DLC’s. I played this on the 360.
Frank West is back! The zombie killing photo journalist from the original Dead Rising is starring in this alternate story/reimagining of last years Dead Rising 2. This time Frank takes the place of Chuck Greene as the games protagonist to uncover the secrets behind the Fortune City outbreak.
Now now now, just because it’s a reimagining of DR2 doesn’t mean that it’s mostly all the same in terms of story with only a few new things added here and there. Wait it does? Oooooohh… nope I was wrong. In truth the story is essentially the same with a few changes in dialog, a new area of the city to explore, a few new bosses and survivors, and a portion of survivors being found in different locations.
Frank has become a washed up journalist after being in the limelight for too long and seeks to get by on his former zombie killing fame. But when a zombie outbreak occurs under questionable circumstances, Frank sees it as an opportunity to be front page material again. Although there is a hint of character development that he has grown as well (and I am not talking about his waist). I’ll leave that for you to discover.
As far as changes to gameplay, there are very little. Like previous entries into the series you are given a time limit to complete certain tasks around Fortune City and you have the option to pursue the story or not. Without giving anything away it’s worth playing through main story at least once for a creative boss battle at the end. Escorting survivors is still a big part of the game and a necessity if you want to level up faster. And thanks to improvements to their AI previously you can give them a weapon and direct them through a zombie horde easily. The new bosses actually provide a hint of fresh air to the game because they aren’t taken on by normal means. But the biggest part, the biggest draw that first got me into the series was the zombie killing. By far the most entertaining part of the game is the all out massacre of zombies. Sure killing a zombie with a sledgehammer is one thing but attaching a car battery to the end of that sledgehammer and you may think you’re Thor. Although don’t think you are invincible because it seemed that zombies swarmed me much more frequently then in DR2. Oh and you can take pictures again which would have been more entertaining if you could directly post them online.
The Terror is Reality multiplayer has been replaced with Sandbox Mode which allows you to roam Fortune City and kill zombies to your hearts content without the worries of a time limit. Survivors are now immediately hostile to you and the city is littered with small challenges that award you cash to use in the campaign. Although 99% of the challenges are locked until you reach a certain kill count for each one. So attach those chainsaws to that motorcycle and start riding through crowds of zombies.
Co-op also makes a return in this one with guests being able to drop in and out of a host’s game with their permission. Nothing too special about though except an extra pair of hands to help kill zombies, distract bosses, and help with sandbox challenges.
Graphically the game is essentially the same as it was last year. Nothing stellar, zombie skins repeat often with unique ones in certain areas, and characters look a bit stiff. Although I will admit I like how limbs and blood fly off zombies when I attack them. The environments are actually pretty unique as well. Each casino has its own feel and if you are not careful you may run around in circles. (Like a real casino!)
The voice acting works most of the time, the dialog may not be Oscar worthy but it gets you through the game. Luckily this time when you get calls over the radio (Bluetooth) you hear them told to you instead of having to just read them. That helps a lot if you get a call in the middle of a zombie swarm. The zombie sound like zombies should and they my even surprise you when you least expect it. Some of the music has been tweaked although it’s nothing too special in the end. I have to say that I am impressed with their ability to create a rap song about Frank West that plays through the credits… silly but impressive.
It seems that Off the Record is a much more streamlined version of Dead Rising 2. That does play into its favor but I would have liked more variety and differences so that it would have been a more unique experience. Sure you can take pictures again but I never was a big fan of that in the original Dead Rising. Sandbox mode is fun but only time will tell when I will get tired of that and demand more of a challenge. Thankfully this game is going for $40 dollars instead of the full $60. In that case for those who didn’t play DR2 or want to play a “Dawn of the Dead” type game pick this up, it’s a worthy buy. But if you are tight on money at the moment, skip buying a DVD this week and pick up a copy of DR2 for $20 bucks on Amazon. It’s a definite full price title for me.
Have fun and happy hunting.
- El Capitan Mexico