Zombie games are a dime a dozen but only few have managed to really capture the intensity and horror of going up against the undead. This year’s Dead Island won us over with its flawed yet highly enjoyable gameplay while the Left4Dead series still sits atop the throne of the best co-operative zombie shooter ever made.
Wolverine ain't got sh*t on Frank
Capcom’s Dead Rising series on the other hand is a tough cookie to recommend even though it probably has the best setting of them all. Trapped in a huge mall, players must use anything and everything they can to take down the horde. This could include anything from soft toys found in a toy store, sports goods found in a sports store to more serious firepower in the form of a chainsaw, a sword or conventional weapons. And while killing zombies in both Dead Rising games is a ton of fun, it also comes with its own sets of problems.
Erratic difficulty spikes, exasperating boss fights, anal checkpoints and annoying escort missions are just some of the issues that have plagued this series from the start. Dead Rising 2 strived to rectify many of them but still fell into the same rut laid down by its predecessor. And the latest game in this series, Off the Record also follows suite.
Ok let me rephrase that last part; Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is not an entirely a new game. In fact it’s pretty much Dead Rising 2 with Frank West as the game’s protagonist. West, if you remember is the photographer from the first Dead Rising game who managed to survive the Willamette mall debacle. Upon reaching civilization, he soon became a celebrity in his own right but fame and fortune soon got to him. Spiralling out of control he loses everything in the process and hits rock bottom. To reclaim some of his lost glory, he takes part in a reality TV show where gladiators face off the undead in an arena while the crowd cheers on. Somewhere down the line, the poop hits the fan and the contained horde from the arena breaks out to infect all of Fortune City. Now it’s up to West to save the day.
Now you can be at two places at once
If you’ve played Dead rising 2, there’s no reason to come back to this game. Sure all the cut-scenes are different factoring West into the equation but it is essentially the same game. You’ll embark on the same missions, square off against the same bosses (with a few new ones thrown in) and rescue the same annoying civilians you did before. The ability to create your own weapons is obviously present in this game as well and even though West has access to a few new toys, it’s nothing to write home about.
But I must admit, playing as Frank West though is way better than Chuck Green who came across like a dude with a chip on his shoulder, sick daughter or not. Stepping into Frank’s boots also means the whole photography mechanic from Dead Rising returns as well. This allows players to click pictures anytime their heart desires depicting action, horror, brutality etc in the game world. And the better the picture, the more experience you earn. Experience earned in this game is automatically allotted to certain attributes like strength, speed, inventory space etc but it would have made more sense if Capcom let players manage their attributes.
Kick back with some golf
Another addition to this game is the new sandbox mode that is without a doubt the star of the show. Unlike story based missions that force you to adhere to a strict schedule, the sandbox mode allows you to go nuts killing the undead at your own leisure. Teaming up with someone in co-op doubles the fun making an otherwise relatively frustrating game an absolute blast. All the experience you rack up in this mode transfers back to your single player campaign so this is a great way to boost your stats without actually playing the campaign. The new levels included in Off the Record are included in the sandbox mode as well and they’re quite amusing.
At the end of the day, your love (or hate) for the Dead Rising series basically boils down to how much you love killing zombies and your tolerance to twisted, juvenile humour. I mean watching lumbering zombies slip and fall in a puddle of your own puke is gross but amusing in a very stupid way. The sandbox mode is a great addition to this game and trust me, roaming around the mall with a friend finding innovative ways to kill the undead is a blast. But be warned, this is pretty much the same game as Dead Rising 2 and it also suffers from the same issues as its predecessor that can very well make you tear your hair out in frustration making your hairline resemble that of Fran Green himself. Buy it only if you’re the patient kind.
Motherboard: Intel DP67BG Extreme Desktop series
Processor: Intel Core i7 – 2600K @3.40 GHZ
Graphic Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590
Ram: Corsair Vengeance 4GB DD3 @ 1600 MHZ X2
Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1200W
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