Zombies, Guns, and Frankie
First, some backstory. I love the Dead Rising games. Hell, the first game was the reason I bought my damn Xbox 360. It had a premise that was new and interesting for a video game. You play as Frank West, a reporter thatís covered wars and you're in a jam. There are zombies everywhere and you become trapped in a shopping mall. All you've got is your camera and anything you can get your hands on to use as a weapon. You've got 72 hours to find out what the hell is going on and get out. It's the fun of a sandbox game with some very light rpg elements and zombies thrown in. Sure it had flaws, like the horrible npc AI and the unreadable in game text, but it was just so much fun to bash in a zombie skull with a flat screen TV. I really enjoyed that game. Before Capcom released a sequel, they released Dead Rising 2 Case Zero. This dlc took place before Dead Rising 2 and introduced the new main characters, Chuck Green and his daughter Katey. It also showed some new game play elements like combo weapons and having to obtaining the anti-zombie drug Zombrex for Katey so she doesnít become a monster. This not quite a demo tidbit was a great idea and broke the record for XBLA downloads in its first week. Then the sequel was released and it was pretty good in its own right. It kept the fun and challenge of the original Dead Rising while presenting new elements to keep things fresh, like drop in, drop out co-op play. So, finally after all that back-story we come to the game I'm reviewing, yet another bite size dlc that takes place just after DR2. This game is Dead Rising 2 Case West. Is it any good?
What I liked
: Frank West, the popular hero from the first Dead Rising returns in this dlc to help Chuck find evidence to clear his name at a Phenotrans lab (they make the drug Zombrex.) He looks a bit like Dan Aykroyd now but he's just as crazy as ever. One of my favorite parts of this game is the banter between Chuck and Frank during game play. The player plays as Chuck but Frank always tags along and fights zombies at your side. You can give him weapons but you never have to worry about Frank's health when the computer is controlling him. Also he doesnít need to be right next to you when you go to a different area of the map. When another player jumps in online they play as Frank. Then the co-op is similar to DR2, except you're Frank and not another Chuck.
More of the Same
: The basic game play element that made the previous games amazing still works. There are zombies everywhere and anything is a weapon. There's some new combo weapons and some new things to bash in undead brains with. My personal favorite new weapon is the bone saw. Hold the x button next to a zombie and see what happens.
: In the previous games, while wandering around the player could interact with other survivors that needed help. They'd come with you after talking to them or you'd need to fulfill a task for them. Then you could deposit them at the safe house for a high amount of PP (Dead Rising's experience points used to level up.) This is back in Case West but much more streamlined. After finding the survivor you just talk to them. Either after that or after completing a task for them they just go on their merry way to safety without your help. This is good and bad. At times in the first Dead Rising the people following you would run straight into a pack of walkers and get eaten. The AI sucked. DR2 improved this dramatically and it wasn't so bad to have five or six npc's following you. I kind of enjoyed leading the survivors around, it added extra tension to the game even though it could be frustrating. It would be cool if this system in case Zero was combined with the other games, like you only had to lead the survivors to certain spots on the map. Maybe something similar to an all connecting air duct system that led to the safe house.
What I didn't Like
: Case Zero takes place at a secret Phenotrans lab crawling with armed guards. They all have machine guns which they know how to use. A lot. There's a central area of the map that has a second floor catwalk type thing and the guards can shoot through it. So, whenever this area needs to be crossed to get where you're going no matter where you are you're getting shot at. So, the game becomes not about killing zombies but about dodging bullets. You have to constantly roll to avoid the bullets but if you get caught once your life can end up draining quickly. I thought this was a really major annoyance in the game. This kind of thing was around in the other games (I'm looking at you, escaped cons in the jeep from the original Dead Rising,) but to a much lesser degree. Maybe don't put so many machine gunners around but add more zombies?
: I had some other minor annoyances too, like the fact Capcom brought back the much loved photography from the original Dead Rising, but it feels truncated and tacked on you don't even earn PP for taking pictures of zombies. The story is boring and nothing exciting or important happens until the last cut scene. Also, I saw the identity of Frank's secret informant coming from a mile away, so there was no surprise during that reveal. It seems like this dlc wasn't as thought out as Case Zero, and Capcom just wanted to have a quick cash in by bringing Frank back. They should've just done some kind of dlc for DR2's main game and added in Frank like that. My advice to people on the fence is to buy the excellent Case Zero, and if you enjoy that then get the main game. This dlc just doesn't feel as good as the other options that are available. Dead Rising 2 Case West feels like a story that didn't need to be told.
Score: 3/5 read