Despite being constantly surrounded by zombies, psychos and terrified survivors, the first Dead Rising was still a solitary experience. Not so with Dead Rising 2, as you'll be able to engage in friendly co-op through the entire story mode. As a duo you're far more likely to survive the undead onslaught and discover lethal weapon combinations, though in our hands-on time we mostly got hammered until we puked.
Above: Wine, beer, anything's fair game. Just be aware of the aftermath
Combining items is the backbone of Dead Rising 2. This ranges from battery and rake (to make a cattle prod rake, of course) to a helmet and beer bottles, which make a headpiece that restores some of Chuck's life. However, after pounding just one or two beers, Chuck (or Chuck2) will actually start heaving it all back up, causing him to stagger all over the place. This silliness pervades the entire co-op experience, oftentimes in conjunction with a baseball bat splattering a zombie's head across a slot machine.
Above: Alternate costumes and homemade weapons come standard
You get more experience (PP) by killing zombies with creative weapons, so it's in your best interest to experiment with everything. It's a bit off-putting that you have to take all the potential components back to a specific desk area to try combining them (and that you can only hold so many at once), but this is Dead Rising after all - just letting you play it straight isn't this game's style. Yes, that means the 72-hour time limit is back too.
During co-op, both players gain PP, cash and retain any knowledge of weapon combinations that are discovered, but only the host player's story actually advances. Speaking of the story, it's been pretty understated until now.
Above: Now you have a reason to kill zambs
We'll have a bit more on Dead Rising 2 later this week, including interviews with Keiji Inafune and developer Blue Castle Games.