Capcom's Dead Rising 2 has been a big hit with the staff of Computeractive. Many a relaxing evening has been spent strolling around the Vegas-inspired Fortune City wielding a variety of fearsome home-made weapons against its zombified inhabitants. Now Capcom has released a new episode to download and play from the Xbox Live Arcade, priced at 800 Microsoft points, or about £6.50.
Dead Rising 2: Case West takes place just after the events of the main game - although that's slightly misleading as the ending of Dead Rising 2 varied depending on your performance.The game opens with hero Chuck Greene being rescued by the main man from the original (and very disappointing) Dead Rising, Frank West.
Together the two head to a secret Phenotrans facility to uncover evidence that will save Check's reputation and bring the perpertrators of the Vegas and Fortune City zombie outbreaks to justice. They are aided by an insider, whose identity I won't reveal.
The main elements that made Dead Rising 2 so much more playable and entertaining than the first title are here: the ability to combine items to create weapons and multiple save slots. Maintenance Rooms are never far away and are marked on a map, along with the Restrooms where players can save their progress in one of three slots.
There are some new combinations of items to explore, which enable you to forge weapons that are as funny as they are devastating to the Phenotrans guards and the undead horde they are rearing. Some of the old favourites are back too, such as the Hail Mary grenade football and the Star Wars-inspired Laser Sword.
Time is, again, of the essence as certains tasks have to be completed at specific points, with a mix of side missions to keep you busy. One nice touch given the relative shortness of the game is that survivors don't need to be escorted back to a safe room. Rescue them from the horde and they'll make their own way to safety, leaving you with prestige points (PP) that give you new weapons and abilities.
With Frank back in tow, the photography aspect that was missed from Dead Rising 2 returns, enabling you to snap action scenes and evidence to boost your PP. You'll have to find the camera first, though. Frank helps to defend you from zombies and guards, and can be handed weapons to use. Unlike the previous game, in which weapons given to accomplices would last as long as they survived, Frank's weapons are subject to the same wear, tear and limited ammo as yours. Frank can't be controlled in the single-player game, but you can join a friend's game and play in co-op mode.
Capcom has suggested that Case West won't be its last downloadable game in the Dead Rising series. Indeed, with Dead Rising 3 now in the making, Capcom's David Reeves told CVG that a prequel would would pave the way to the next main instalment.
"The idea would be that we'll bring digital content to bridge a link between DR2 and DR3. It's a bit like an online game in that way - a continuous story."
I hope that's the case as Dead Rising 2's prequel, which was made available from Xbox Live Arcade for the same modest cost, was a great introduction to the main game and played a big part in its success with more than 500,000 downloads. But then it had to, as Capcom needed to prove that its new zombie epic would not suffer from the same playability problems that forced many buyers to abandon the original game in frustration.
That certainly isn't a problem for Case West. It's just a shame that Capcom won't make this great-value addition to Dead Rising 2 available to those who bought it for the PC or the Playstation 3. Capcom justified this by saying it wanted to return the support that Microsoft had given the game early in its development. That will come as no consolation to the PC and PS3 owners who supported Dead Rising 2 with their purchase. Xbox 360 owners, however, will find Dead Rising 2: Case West an entertaining download from Live Arcade.
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