Dead Rising 2 review

  • It's still a tense experience, but now also more forgiving
  • The combo weapon system is hilarious and addictive
  • Mulching zombies never, ever gets dull
  • The boss fights are inexcusable
  • The presentation is a bit last-gen in places
  • One or two auto-saves wouldn't have been uncharitable

Level (and zombie) grinding

Dead Rising 2 reprises the first game’s use of RPG elements. Chuck earns PP (just like XP, but found earlier in the phone book) for everything he does. The primary big-earners are completing story missions and escorting Fortune City’s various stranded survivors back to the safehouse. But you can also earn fat PP for simply interacting with the city’s various tourist attractions, like so:

All of which adds a brilliantly fleshed-out feel to DR2’s rather jubilant cartoon world. And if you were to be George Romero, it would also add a nice satirical edge to proceedings as you partake in a host of inane entertainment activities in front of a crowd of transixed slack-jawed shamblers. Zombies. Instant metaphor for everything.

PP causes Chuck to level up, and he does this at a nicely balanced rate. Rewards come often enough to keep you constantly engaged, but just infrequently enough to feel significant every time. Level-up bonuses include new combat and evasion moves (the head-bursting DDT is a current favourite), passive abilities like health boosts and speed upgrades (which can also be gained by finding and equipping stat-buffing magazines or mixing the right combinations of drinks in the various blenders dotted around bars and restaurants) and combo cards which you can use to create new weapons. And that last one right there is where Dead Rising 2 takes a big jump onto the fun train and speeds off to Addiction County.

Adding weapon crafting to DR2’s World of Gorecraft line-up of RPG tropes is the masterstroke foundation on which all of its most rewarding and obsessive play rests. Combo cards are essentially recipes for new weapons which list the item combinations needed to build astoundingly creative zombie-abuse tools in Fortune City’s generously placed maintenance rooms.

Want a klaxon horn that explodes zombie heads? Just find a can of spray paint and a traffic cone. Shrapnel bomb more to your liking? Tape a box of nails to a propane tank, stab it onto one of the rotting rotters, and detonate it with a well-placed bullet. Fancy a battle tank? Well surely a wheelchair with mounted machine guns is the next best thing?

And best of all, the crafting system is meticulously blended with Dead Rising 2’s levelling. Every kill with a combo weapon earns you extra PP, and with extra PP earning you more combo cards, you’ll soon find yourself in a gleefully infectious cycle of hilarious kill, hilarious new weapon, and brand new hilarious kill.

Coupled wiith the need to seek out the right weapon parts over every nook and cranny of the city’s entertainment district, this means that Chuck’s downtime between story missions quickly becomes an utterly compulsive cyclical reward for ploughing through the compulsory objectives. Not to mention a source of massive bonuses to your future progression. Should you ever find yourself short of cash or in need of a helpful level-up, fear not. While ‘proper’ RPG level-grinding can be a drag, in Dead Rising 2 it’s pleasingly a far more literal experience:

In fact all things considered, the creativity of DR2’s zombie mulching and the subtly clever layout of its environments - areas are often designed in ways which provide the more thoughtful zombie evader with hidden-in-plain-sight paths from safe-ish spot to safe-ish spot, though they require skilful navigation to use  - make it an excellent training simulation/aptitude test for the real-life zombie outbreak of your dreams. If you’re still getting wiped after a weekend with Dead Rising 2, just shoot yourself when the real Z-Day inevitably comes around. You’ll be no use to the rest of us and clearly aren’t meant to make it through.

More Info

Available Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Blue Castle Games
Franchise: Dead Rising
ESRB Rating:
Rating Pending
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending


  • Crypto140 - October 5, 2010 8:20 p.m.

    I had hopes for this game, and it crashed them all! To anybody reading this, do not buy it! They bragged about the combo weapons, but that is a bitch to find the parts, and make them. And then it kills on 50 zomibes. It breaks after 50 zombies, just get a wrench or a crowbar, it will save you time. And the story is just so stupid. A) If there are still zombies, how did a game show get them? And B) why are they still around? Why doesn't the military do something? And you have to pay money for some stuff, with people you kill in the begining. There are so many plot holes, like in Case 0, why is there a zombie outbreak when they are undercontrol enough to put them on a game show! It sucks, don't buy it/download it/rent it from a friend, there is probably a reason why your friend in letting you borrow it. Just don't get it, or you can blow me off and waste a few bucks and hours of your life! It's you choice! You see those hot chicks on the cover, thats the best part of the game. Like Bayonetta, is swayed so votes.}:(
  • zombiekiller13 - September 27, 2010 2:55 p.m.

    Whoa, whoa, that a walkie-talkie in one of the screenshots? I did not see any mention of this in the review. I am now having flashbacks of Otis...
  • Defguru7777 - September 26, 2010 8:58 p.m.

    I can't wait for this! But I'm gonna wait to get it after I get Case Zero.
  • RazorRaptor9 - September 26, 2010 7:39 a.m.

    I pre-ordered this as soon as I finished the demo of Case:Zero and with my childish mind, I don't think I'll get bored easily
  • RoflSick - September 26, 2010 3:50 a.m.

    I cant wait to spill some sweet zombie blood!!!
  • Agrilid - September 25, 2010 5:35 p.m.

    Hmm, forget multiplayer on our "Super Review" did we ?
  • DecoyOctorok - September 25, 2010 5:04 p.m.

    Has the AI of the survivors been improved? The first Dead Rising had the most frustrating, throw your controller at the wall escort missions that I've ever encountered in a game.
  • philipshaw - September 25, 2010 12:32 p.m.

    Great review and seems a fair score from the couple of hours I played of it last night. Need more time before I can form my full opinion on it though
  • Jamahl - September 25, 2010 12:24 a.m.

    As good as Halo Reach then? (I kid, I kid. : P)
  • AlSwearengenHatesCocksuckers - September 24, 2010 8:34 p.m.

    @GamesRadarEricBratcher Fuck that little photo taking prick. I killed that cocksucker every single play through after the first time I did his missions and got the achievement I needed.
  • Clovin64 - September 24, 2010 7:31 p.m.

    Hmmmm...I'm tempted to buy it, but the point about the boss battles worries me. I'm a very sore loser, and if I keep getting my ass kicked and get sent back to a previous save point repeatadly, I will probably curl up into a little ball on the floor and cry that I'm shit at games. Is the rest of the game good enough to justify buying this despite the boss battles?
  • rickrossthaboss - September 24, 2010 6:18 p.m.

    Yea, I wasn't impressed with Case Zero, definitely not gonna get this as Fifa 11 comes out the same day and I still have Reach multiplayer. Not really a fan of Dead Rising, though I love L4D.
  • Crypto140 - September 24, 2010 5:59 p.m.

    And I can't belive I am not the only one complaining about the game. I thought for sure everyone would have said that it was a 10/10 game(not that I have played it yet). Yay, I'm not alone.
  • Crypto140 - September 24, 2010 5:55 p.m.

    So nothing on the weapon parts are a bitch to find? I thought that would be a let down. But I knew the boss fights would suck ass. This isn't the kind of game to be messing around with quick reacting humans as bosses. And why do you have to carry more guns insted of just the ammo? But I am still renting it, I need a game to fill in the gap between Fallout New Vegas.
  • CAPST3R - September 24, 2010 3:18 p.m.

    I've had this game since Monday, and this review doesn't do the game justice. If the boss fights were too hard, you were obviously using the wrong weapon (try and good melee weapon, and it'll do wonders). The save points are alright, you just need to get used to surviving. And while the graphics may not be up to the par of, say, Uncharted 2, they do their job rather well. Also, you didn't mention TIR, co-op, costumes (where a flaw does lie), shops, or the remarkably good mission-guide-arrow-thingy.
  • OnyxOblivion - September 24, 2010 11:44 a.m.

    Fuck it. Passing after I read about the Boss Fights.
  • Rhymenocerous - September 24, 2010 9:47 a.m.

    QUESTION: Can you crouch in this game? I remember trying to fight a shotgun-toting lunatic in the last game, trapped in a shop with counters and everything, but you couldn't feckin BEND DOWN.
  • AGENTJORRRG - September 24, 2010 4:59 a.m.

    Its just as good as reach!
  • publicanemone - September 24, 2010 4:56 a.m.

    Oh my god. The 3 day time limit is back!? Pass.
  • ElGrinchoid - September 24, 2010 4:32 a.m.

    I played this for a while today. I've got to say, if you enjoyed the first one, you'll love this, but to me it felt just like the first. Bland and emotionless, it's not even funny. The opening in the gameshow is weak beyond belief and after an hour i turned it off. More of the same, and just like the first one I reached maximum boredom after an hour. Oh and it looks like shite as well. For a new release on the "next gen's" it really doesn't look much better than a ps2 or xbox game to me. Honestly, i wouldn't give it more than a 3 out of 10. I've had more fun watching paint dry.

Showing 1-20 of 46 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000