Dead Rising 2 Case Zero review

Case Zero is billed as a ‘premium demo’ and asks you to pay 400 Microsoft Points to play it the way it was intended. But is it really worth the price of admission?

In the original Dead Rising you were given an enclosed sandbox in Willamette Mall, where the goal was to survive three days amongst the zombie horde, gather supplies and to uncover the truth of the cause of the outbreak you had willingly entered. However along the way you met survivors whose AI was so bad, you would rather have your teeth pulled than interact with them. Psychopathic human survivors who had gone crazy from bloodlust and a lack of authority, and a sidekick with a walkie-talkie who never wants to shut up, created a recipe for mental endurance. So has anything changed? Well of course!

This time the most annoying aspect of Dead Rising has been lovingly addressed, as AI survivors no longer decide to run head first into a thick zombie horde wearing BBQ sauce for cologne. They now stick to a line and follow you fairly well, they also obey commands to stay like an obedient dog. You can also leave waypoints for them to follow. Leave your followers at a safe place before heading to a new location ahead, dropping waypoints along the way and on your command they will make their own way to you. There are rare but expected occasions where one survivor might get held by a zombie for a couple of seconds, but they will bash the horde aside and continue on their way.

This simple fact alone makes Case Zero and hopefully Dead Rising 2, a much better game to tolerate. Psychopaths haven’t changed much, situational bosses with massive energy bars still require full shotgun clips fired into them to die. But here’s hoping the full game has someone as memorable as Adam the chainsaw juggling Clown, the obese lesbian police woman, or the escaped convicts. An insane grandma who refuses to leave a slot machine due to her excessive gambling habit doesn’t seem too threatening.

Case Zero presents you with Chuck Greene and his daughter Katey perfectly. Considering Katey will be the main motivation for playing the game, Capcom needed to get her just right. A character who is believable, someone whose fate you could learn to care and worry about. You get just the right amount of interaction with her character at the beginning of the game, before setting off on a simple task of finding “Zombrex”, the game’s anti-zombification drug, which surprisingly does work.

Due to the fact your jeep was stolen, you will need a new way to get out of the infected town. As luck would have it, you come across a broken down bike that requires a few parts to get it working again. Luckily Chuck knows a thing or two about bikes.

In Dead Rising Frank West was able to come across all manner of weapons, but Chuck can make use of his own handyman ingenuity and create some fantastic weapon combinations. Be it the “Paddlesaw”, a kayak paddle with two chainsaws attached revving on either end, or how about a pitchfork and shotgun combination for some really up-close and personal kills.

What Case Zero offers you is the ability to pre-build Chuck Greene up to the first five levels of the PP meter, meaning you can gain some stats and an extra inventory space ready for the full Dead Rising 2 game, along with 200 additional achievement points you otherwise wouldn’t get.

Rather than being a regular run of the mill timed demo, you are instead getting some pre-release DLC. People have paid way over the odds for much less over Xbox Live (1200 points for 3 brand new maps and 2 old ones anyone?), and considering the standalone factor that Case Zero has, it also acts as a prologue to chapter 1 in Dead Rising 2.

To those who had no prior knowledge of the first game or much information about its sequel, but yet enjoyed this taster, it presents enough to genuinely intrigue and push you to buying the full retail title when it’s released this month.

If you have 400 points you can spare, Case Zero is worth the investment. Although it may be billed as a premium-demo, it’s more like pre-release DLC which drums up your interest ready for the main event.

Game details

Game title: Dead Rising 2: Case Zero
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Available for: Xbox 360
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Blue Castle Games
Strengths: Combining items is the games top new feature. Survivor AI is amazing in comparison to its predecessor. Will pull at the heart-strings of fathers who play this.
Weaknesses: The time limit is two hours regardless of your actions. Motorbike camera is disorientating. Lacks a full compliment of voice actors again.
Score: 8 out of 10

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