Over the weekend, some friends showed me a thing called Highschool of the Dead, which follows a group of high school students caught in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. The anime, not the manga, mind you. It’s more or less your typical zombie survival story, but set in a Japanese school and frequently punctuated with gratuitous panty shots and boob bouncing, there to mix and mingle with the violent bloodshed and tense drama. I may or may not watch more of it in the future, but regardless, it got me thinking about zombies again, reminding me that I had two zombie-related videogames downloaded on my Xbox 360, just waiting for my warm hands: The Walking Dead’s “400 Days” and Dead Rising 2.
I decided to see what Dead Rising 2 was all about first. Having only played the demo for Dead Rising way back when, all I know about this franchise is that there are a ton of zombies to kill, and they often block your way from point A to point B. You can use a variety of weapons, some effective and others less than so, and you earn PP by creatively killing zombies, which helps you level up, gain more skills, and unlock new combo cards. That sounds okay to me, if a bit mindless (pun intended). Throw in some Capcom goofiness, and we’re good to go.
No, wait. Hold up, corpse-face. I did play Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, a prequel to Dead Rising 2. It was a four- to five-hour experience that…I don’t remember much about. Oops, my bad. In the end, I wrote that it was worth getting over a sandwich, which is like crazy talk. Dead Rising 2 picks up a couple of years after the events in Case Zero, with Chuck Greene and his daughter trying to survive in Fortune City, which is now swarmed by the undead. He’s been framed for a crime he did not commit, and as you go about trying to clear your name you will rescue survivors, build weapons, give Katey some Zombrex every 24 hours, and kill the walking dead (or just run past them).
To be honest, I’m not having as much fun as I did in Case Zero. In fact, I’m finding the main game to be extremely frustrating and a wee bit unfair. Or maybe I don’t know how to go to the bathroom often enough to save my progress, but I’ve already lost an hour or so of gameplay time after getting stuck in a swarm of zombies with no health left. There are no checkpoints or auto-saves happening, so it is all in your hands to keep on top of that. I either need to make better saving decisions or just not play Dead Rising 2.
When you’re not following the main story missions, you are free to explore Fortune City until something becomes available. Generally, you will be killing zombies in your way and helping others in peril. These, from what I’ve seen, are more or less escort missions, and they are absolutely the worst. Most of the survivors are horrible runners, often getting caught in a zombie’s arms, and they lose health fast. Also, if you swing at the zombie biting them and accidentally hit them in the process, they will die. Don’t ask me how I know this.
I’m still in Act 1 for Dead Rising 2, not having fun, but I’ll try playing some more and see if I can get anywhere. I think I just might no longer attempt to save anyone, as it is really more of a hassle than anything else. I know you get some extra PP bonus or whatever, but man. I just don’t know. If there was no time limit, I’d just like to run around the casinos, finding fun and silly ways to annoy zombies before knocking their heads off. If only…