hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Dead Rising 2: Case Zero

11:00 PM on 08.31.2010 // Conrad Zimmerman

Zombies, psychopaths, and questionable parenting skills all came to Xbox Live Arcade this week in the form of Dead Rising 2: Case Zero. It's a new main character, a new story, new survivors and the same old zombies all in a neat, focused package. 

Read on for our review.

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero (Xbox 360)
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Release date: August 31, 2010
MSRP: 400 MS Points

In Dead Rising: Case Zero, we're given the first opportunity to play new series protagonist Chuck Greene. Case Zero doesn't reveal new details about the character or really any details at all. The introductory cutscene sets up the scenario wherein Chuck's truck is stolen with his infected daughter's anti-zombie medication still inside and only twelve hours to go until her next required dose. That's all. Hell, the only way you would know that Chuck was a famous motocross racer without foreknowledge is through a comment made by a survivor more than halfway through the game.

The only things we have to go on then are that Chuck is a man with a daughter that he loves enough to brave hordes of the undead to keep her alive. That's enough. Cutscene interactions between Chuck and his daughter Katey are equal parts touching and cruel. Katey is convincing as a child, unaware and unable to understand what has happened to her world, serving her role well as the game's main objective. Chuck is believable as well, if a bit melodramatic, and an easy character to get behind as a player. 

Beyond the initial situation there is very little resembling plot development in Case Zero, which is easy to understand considering its brief running time of about two hours (including cutscenes; there is, at the absolute most, an hour and twenty minutes of actual gameplay in a playthrough). The game is still effective at telling its story of a man and the lengths he's willing to go to for his daughter, there just isn't much story to tell.

That doesn't prevent there from being a lot of cutscenes, however. The game seems utterly riddled with them and loading times both going into and out of cinematics feel a bit on the long side. This is fine for the first playthrough. But, by the third time you start over and have to skip through three cutscenes before being able to kill a zombie, it becomes annoying.

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero

That's what Dead Rising is all about, after all: killing zombies. Case Zero offers in the neighborhood of forty different items that you can use to defend yourself against the undead masses. Some items are only good for killing on their own, while others, indicated by a blue wrench icon, can be combined at workbenches to produce deadlier weapons or more potent items. Case Zero has nine of these combo items to build.

The combo items are the only practical way to earn experience points. Simply killing zombies won't reward you with points. Significant quantities of points are only accrued through rescuing survivors and killing zombies in creative ways. Not that earning experience matters all that much in the context of Case Zero. You can progress Chuck through five levels of experience but there's nary any value in it. You'll only earn an additional inventory slot and a defensive move used when grabbed by zombies so there is not a whole lot of incentive to do so.

Chuck and the zombies aren't alone in Still Creek, either. Some humans are holed up and in need of rescuing. Only one specific survivor needs to be rescued in order to complete the game, though you will have to interact with others to achieve Chuck's goals. A central survivor is Bob, who appears on a rooftop near the center of town after a short time of playing. Bob's vantage point allows him to see people moving through the town and he'll flag down Chuck if he has information on the location of new survivors. Thankfully, he has neither a radio nor an over-developed sense of helpfulness with which to annoy you.

Getting this information is essentially the same as receiving a quest, complete with an objective and a guide arrow to lead you to it. These missions are timed and their timers start whether or not you ever receive the quest. Because of the small size of Still Creek and the limited number of things to do in the short game, it is at no point a problem to rescue everybody. In fact, it's easy to wind up with hours to spare for mindlessly killing zombies while waiting for Katey to be ready to take her next dose of Zombrex.

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero

If you played Dead Rising, you can probably recall a moment at which you honestly wished the survivors would just get themselves killed before you got to them. The AI used for survivors was utterly wretched and treks across Willamette Mall became exercises in torture and babysitting. Things are much, much better in Case Zero. In playing through the game half a dozen times, in only three instances did I have to go and free a survivor from a zombie's grip and, when told to go to a specific point, living people actually follow the instruction and don't foolishly try to kill things along the way. 

Pyschopaths, however, have not changed one bit. These survivors were one of the most frustrating parts of the first Dead Rising game, as there was really no difference between killing a psycho and killing a zombie except that the psychos are faster, usually have ranged weapons and apparently have a greater resistance to pain than something which cannot feel pain. They were annoying before and that hasn't changed, as evidenced by the sole psychopath encounter in Case Zero. There is no joy in fighting the game's boss whatsoever, just frustration, annoyance and misery. 

I've tried to avoid referring to Dead Rising 2: Case Zero as a demo in this review. I don't judge it as such. It's a nice little slice of Dead Rising which stands perfectly fine on its own and I can honestly recommend it to people who want to kill zombies for a few hours but would not otherwise enjoy the time-based mechanics and rigid scheduling necessary to complete a longer Dead Rising title. And for those who are already planning to purchase, it's an inexpensive and inoffensive way to slate your hunger for zombie decimation while offering something extra (though not much) to take with you when Dead Rising 2 comes out.

Score: 7 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)

Download it!


Conrad Zimmerman, Moustache
 Follow Blog + disclosure ConradZimmerman Tips
An avid player of tabletop and video games throughout his life, Conrad has a passion for unique design mechanics and is a nut for gaming history. He can be heard on the comedy podcast () and str... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
I have been accused of the greatest of crimes - cookie snobbery.
Yanick Bourbeau avatarYanick Bourbeau
Zombie eating player from my game: [img][/img]
KyWii avatarKyWii
Rock Band 4 is really fun...takes me back to my teenage days of high school. Also reminds me of all the hours I wasted on a plastic guitar instead of getting better on a real one xD
Avoclefo avatarAvoclefo
Team Fortress 2 just got a massive community-made Invasion update. SFM short, reskins, cosmetics, and 4 brand new maps?!?! God, I love this game and its wonderful community so, so much. [youtube][/youtube]
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
AARRGGGHHHH!!!, GODDAMIT!, fucking SOMA has crashed 3 fucking times in a row and I always lose ~20 minutes of playtime!, playing the same section over and over kinda ruins the tension! >.<'
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
N-Not that P1 isn't perfect the way she is! Isn't that right sweetie? Yes it... Oh, now don't you go and listen to those P2 fans! They just go around spreading rumors and pretending Hitler was just a handsome gentleman in sunglasses, that's what THEY do!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Persona Q has made me realize I really want a Persona 1 remake on 3DS in a similar style. A lot. A loooooooot. You listening, Atlus?
Super Mario Maker, the announcement of Sonic Lost World for Steam, and remembering all of the mods that got made for the PC version of Sonic Generations makes me wish SEGA/Sonic Team would make their own dedicated Sonic level creation game.
gajknight avatargajknight
Hey, is your fridge running? You better catch it. I mean, it has all your food, and without food, you die. Like, forever. You don't wanna die right? If you die, how will you watch The Good wife with your favourite bowl of Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Go.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
My local Best Buy is drowning in Marth & Dark Pit amiibo
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Spooky yet totally true gaming fact: the bushes and the clouds in Super Mario Bros are the same exact shape. #Spooky
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
It is coming fast AAAAAAH
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
The newest PS4 update finally got rid of that bug where I'd get the "you can customize your power options" message every time I turned on my console!
El Dango avatarEl Dango
Should I just pass on MGSV? I haven't really liked any of the games after Snake Eater, and it's being used as a money sink at the moment.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
[Youtube][/youtube] All the episodes are on youtube now. Also I never knew they got to do a season 3. Pretty cool. Now back to Transformers. Scored a gc to my favorite thai place too. Pad ahoy bitches. It's been too long.
ashamasha avatarashamasha
i have almost all the pieces i need to build my own Arcade machine... and the last one arrive this Saturday! Soon, one my childhood dream will became true!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Interviewer: Konami, why are you selling cosmetic DLC for MGSV? Konami exec: I breathe through my skin.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
What is the Dtoid chat room?
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
Batthink avatarBatthink
This GrumpOut video was pretty funny to me (props to TheBadSpoon on the Dtoid chat room);
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -