Sequel falls short of original

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By Garth Pullen / Editor’s Assistant

By Garth Pullen / Editor’s Assistant

Got a bucket and three drills? Get some duct tape, put it together and voila, you have a zombie drilling helmet.

In 2006, Xbox 360 released “Dead Rising,” and in that very instant all my childhood fantasies came to life in glorious high-definition.

Since the titles’ release, fans of “Dead Rising” have been clamoring for the inevitable sequel, and Capcom, the series’ publisher, finally delivered this year with the release of “Dead Rising 2.”

In the sequel to the underground smash hit, you play as Chuck Greene.

An ex-Motocross champion; Chuck now competes in a stadium game show entitled, “Terror is Reality” where the zombies become prey and the more walking meat-bags the contestants mow down, the higher their score.

Roughly three to four years have passed since the prequels’ climax.

We now live in a world where zombie outbreaks have become the norm and a new drug – aptly named Zombrex – is helping prevent the recently infected from “turning.”

Of course, if you’re not administered another dose within the next 24 hours of your last, you can kiss that vegetarian diet goodbye.

The game kick starts the zombie-slaying goodness with what turns out to be the biggest outbreak since the incident in Willamette.

Like the first game, you can literally use anything as a weapon, even a coffee pot.

There are also combo cards that you can collect that provide suggestions for creating the ultimate zombie thrashing weapon.

Unfortunately, “Dead Rising 2’s” plot translates to a disappointing chain of events.

One of the security gates containing the hoards of zombies used in the game show is breached by what looks like a type of terrorist act involving a makeshift bomb, and the main character looks to be the prime suspect.

With everybody surrounded by the impending doom, the drama is relocated to a well guarded set of back rooms hidden away in one of the many plazas in Fortune City.

 The main storyline – the completion of which is left optional to the player, similar to the original – focuses on Chucks’ attempt at gathering evidence in hopes that it will exonerate him, and in doing so the real culprit might be forced out of hiding.

Chuck ends up a very likable character in the end and you really want to see to his daughters’ safety with the same urgency he shows on-screen.

The father-child connection is more elaborate here than in most titles and something worth noting for the development team.

Sadly, almost everything else in this game desperately needs an extreme makeover.

From the button responsiveness, to the overlong animations that accompany every action in the game, to the level of tedium every boss fight tends to devolve into; every aspect of this title screams mediocrity.

There was a sequence toward the end where I hadn’t saved in a good while – you’ll be surprised how many times this occurs – and I had wanted to simply stroll across the show floor for some clothes shopping.

Before I knew what hit me I had a horde of “special” infected – a much more aggressive and irritating zombie introduced towards the climax of the story – on my tail.

I attempted to pick up one of the many coffee creamer containers (say that three times fast) strewn about the floor, but even with all my attempts at pushing the “pick-up” button I found myself to no avail.

You can imagine my frustration when I was then prompted to either load my file or Restart the entire game.

The “Psychos” feel similarly lazy in design.

Many of the boss battles, if not all of them, follow the same repetitive cycles: Hide behind wall/kiosk/column, wait for enemy to cease firing/throwing items/driving, run up to enemy and mash button with melee weapon equipped.

Many scenarios require you to simply level up, meaning eventually you’ll run out of time and be forced to start all over.

Now, your characters’ level does stay with you when you restart the game, but the process becomes aggravating when realizing what a pain it is to do anything.

“Dead Rising 2” is a jumbled up mish-mash of old ideas that tends to follow a popular mistake in today’s video game bracket.

The developers forgot to include a fun experience.

The content is bursting at the rims with this title, and there’s easily hundreds of ways to waste hours upon hours of your life here.

The bad logic here is that all that content is wasted time if the real heart of the title – killing zombies – isn’t fun.

The bad animation builds, along with a great lack of joyous satisfaction when smacking around the undead with one of the many melee creations, equal out to a poor product with a great premise.

I could go on about the online coop or get in depth with the tool combination system, but that would be patting the developers on the back for making a game that didn’t suck.

Do yourself a favor, if you haven’t played the first one; borrow it from a friend, buy it used, or go online and play one of the best zombie games in the last decade.

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