Reviewed: November 16, 2011
Released: October 11, 2011
I wanted to like Dead Rising 2: Off the Record. As a diehard fan of the first game, and someone who missed Frank West in the first installment of Dead Rising 2, combined with Capcom's promises of a new story, I was all set to head back into Fortune City, take some pictures, do some crossdressing, and slaughter my way through a horde of zombies. To be fair to the game, it is just about as much fun as Dead Rising 2 was. That's because it's very nearly the same game as before. While some new additions refresh it, it's not quite worth a repurchase for the people who picked it up the first time. |
The main game has you playing as Frank West, hunting down Zombrex to keep his infection at bay, and searching for the truth behind the outbreak in Fortune City. Along the way, you rescue survivors, craft deadly weapons, fight looters and psychopaths, and slay massive numbers of zombies. It's a pretty solid gameplay system, but the only thing that really mixes it up is Frank's ability to take pictures of the zombie outbreak unfolding around him. It's a fun diversion, but doesn't feel as well-integrated as it did in the first Dead Rising.
The Zombrex and the truth behind the outbreak are the two major spurs that drive you forward. Each sets timers, some rather narrow, for your missions. This timed gameplay's been at the heart of Dead Rising since its inception, and it still works well here, though nearly all the missions are the same as they were in Dead Rising 2.
Maybe the two most notable features of Off the Record are the cooperative mode and the sandbox mode, both of which have been things that Dead Rising seemed to sorely need since the release of the first game. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the constraints of Dead Rising don't fit either very well: The immediate and long-term goals that keep the game afloat when playing it with the storyline are absent in its sandbox mode, leaving only the zombie-slaying. It's definitely fun for a few minutes, but it doesn't have much staying power past that. Meanwhile, the cooperative mode lets you bring a friend in for some fun. But they'd better be a friend, because the game's insistence that both players be in the same area at all times makes for a strong griefing vector when playing with strangers.
Along with these changes, there's a new part of Fortune City, Uranus Park. Unfortunately, it's the only part of the Fortune City that's changed. In a game like Dead Rising, where finding the tools you need to survive is half the fun, it's kind of a shame.
In the end, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record isn't a bad game by any means. It's just a game that pretty much everyone who's interested in Dead Rising's already played. While it'd be a good entrance point for new players, and it might be worth playing through with a friend, only the most fanatical zombie killers need to consider it.