There's a guy, dressed in an absurd costume, running around a mall beating the animated stuffing out of zombies. Crazy costumes, zombie bashing … that sounds like a Dead Rising game. Because it is a Dead Rising game: Dead Rising 2, Capcom's latest release for PC, PS3 and 360.
So, you might be asking, what's the storyline?
Who cares? It has zombies, bashing, blood and gore. But if you really want to know what the underlying story is ...
Chuck Greene, former motocross star, lost his wife to zombies and his daughter needs meds because she is infected with the zombie virus and so he goes on a reality show called "Terror is Reality," in which contestants bash zombies. When there is a zombie break-out, however, Chuck is framed for it and must clear his name. And he still has to get the medicine to his daughter.
Of course, that's all just fluff so the designers would have a reason to make malls and other areas a blood-drenched mess of decayed and rotting corpses that feast on the flesh of the unaffected. Those who played the first Dead Rising on the 360 will know exactly what is in store here. There are personal stories, time limits for mission arcs, stores that provide a variety of different clothing options for Chuck (he can wear toddler clothes, or even look smashing while bashing in a sundress), but one of the things that is most entertaining is the ability to create combo weapons in the workshop. There are combo cards in the levels that will detail how to take a couple of disparate items and combine them to make a unique weapon that is both ridiculous and fun.
DR2 is also a bit of an RPG in that as zombies are maimed, brutalized, dismembered and generally abused, the player gains progression points. Chuck levels up and that carries over to the next play-through. Bosses that were insanely hard to beat the first time through get easier with more levels under the proverbial belt and in subsequent play-throughs.
Online play is included this time around, allowing players to join forces for a little cooperative bashing and there are mini-games that can be played on the "Terror is Reality" gameshow set, but they roll past way too quickly to sustain interest.
The PC version has a few bumps, notably that gamers will need a fairly hefty rig for the game to run smoothly and there are occasional stiff animations and some of the voice work comes across as forced.
While some games are only worth one play-through, Dead Rising 2 begs to be played several times. There are different endings to discover, Easter eggs (hidden goodies) and more levels to gain that make the bashing all the more entertaining. Fun is the payoff here and this is a game definitely worth a look if you don't mind intense violence, blood and gore—all of the stuff that warrants the Mature rating.