The Backlog: Dead Rising 2

Welcome back to The Backlog. The Backlog is space where we talk about games from our piles of shame: the game we've had for some time and are just now playing. This week, it's Dead Rising 2. You can also checkout the last Backlog here and our most recent bi-weekly (i.e. twice a week) feature, The Return, here.

Dead Rising 2 is just one of those games. My first taste of the franchise was a short one, lasting about 25 or so minutes in control of Frank West. It was my roommate's 360, his save, and it boggled my mind why it wouldn't let me create a new game, instead forcing me to pick up with his Frank. I made it through the mall and into a gun fight, where I promptly died and put down the control.

Nearly 5 years later, Xbox's Games with Gold promotion made picking up the second, along with it's Case Zero DLC, a no brainer, and while it sat on the console for a while before I picked it up, this time I was blessed with having listened to years worth of thoughts on the franchise and its mechanics. I knew I was supposed to die, and as weird as that sounds, it helped A LOT.

I tackled Case Zero first, exploring the combat and mechanics as I worked my way through the small zombie infested town. Smashing zombies was fun, and the amazing array of weapons you can put to use in crushing, slicing, poking, burning, and simply destroying the undead was almost too much to take in. The leveling mechanic confused me until I built my first combo weapon, and then I understood, and immediately filled my tiny inventory with spiked bats... and drill buckets. If nothing else would have sold me on this game, the drill bucket and the carnage it causes on a zombie to zombie basis would have been worth the price.

Batting my way through the horde, I would also meet my first survivor, agree to escort, and turn around to find all the zombie slaughter I had caused be for not. This is probably my largest problem with the game, and one that I can't quite get behind. I would be totally down for the horde returning if I loaded into a different area, but to have a screen refill like magic just by turning around... what the hell were they trying to do? Yes the numbers are impressive, and working your way through the sea of rotting flesh is entertaining, but I would love to see the fruit of my labor afterwards.

Jumping forward a bit to the main game and its start in the “Terror is Reality” game show, even that makes an effort to explain why there are more zombies for you to cut through (think giant bowling pin racks full of the undead). But with it leading into a mall, a finite space supposedly filled with a finite amount of zombies, not being able to clear a level, especially one with closed doors, makes no sense. What good are the masses of writhing bodies if you can't let me enjoy masses of those same bodies in broken pieces? Also, reading that last sentence out loud makes me sound like a complete psycho! Videogames!

Back to the matter at hand, I met and died to Tubby the Mechanic the first time I met him, having not even gathered/found all the pieces of the motorcycle. The next time we would meet, having jumped back in twice to get to level 5, I would destroy him, claiming his boomstick before remembering that I was still missing the handle bars. Having not found a way into the hardware store, I made my way to the back of the food mart, killed the survivor who was using them as a weapon, and made my way back through the horde while his brother followed me, ignoring the undead to try and make up for the injustice I had delivered.

I thoroughly enjoyed driving my way through the armies of the undead, racking up the “PP” as I did my best to escape.

As far as the main game goes, I am still working my way through it. I have run into my first couple of psychos, been mauled by my first, and hopefully only tiger, and restarted a few times, mastering the timing of the first Zombrex mission and the first case. I ran into the old lady in the toy store, and was amazed, amused and horrified by her follow speed. She probably won't be saved 'til I am far later in levels, cause yeah, forget that.

I am also really amazed at just how much crap Chuck Greene puts up with. Everyone talks to him like he is the lowest of the low, and that's before he's blamed for the whole Fortune City outbreak thing. For all intents and purposes, he's the only one there even doing anything, and sure, his arm is being twisted because he needs Zombrex to keep his little girl from turning, but hell, cut the guy a little slack. He obviously has a gift for killing, one probably not seen since Tallahassee went looking for a Twinkie, but really, does every person he meets have to treat him like he is bottom rung gutter trash? Maybe it'll make sense later, maybe it won't, but for now, what the damn hell.

There's still an awful lot for me to see, and I imagine the horde issue becomes less of a problem the further on in levels I get, but the going will be slow. Mainly because there's dead to kill. Again. And again. But I do have drill buckets. And Electric Rakes. And chainsaws.

Well, that does it for this edition of The Backlog. Check back next week as we unveil two new features!

Reviewer and Editor for Darkstation by day, probably not the best superhero by night. I mean, look at that costume. EEK!