8 things you NEED to know before starting Dead Rising 2

I've played a LOT of Dead Rising 2. I'm STILL playing Dead Rising 2. I love it. But I didn't love it to begin with, because it's one of the most punishing, unforgiving games in recent history. People who finished the original will already be used to its brutal real-time structure, but since this is the first Dead Rising on PS3, chances are a lot of you will be bewildered, lost and confused. But fear not, because here are eight things that'll make your first tentative steps into the garish zombie-infested playground of Fortune City a little easier.

1. Get PP or Die Tryin'

When you're starting out, forget about the story - you should concentrate on harvesting PP to level up. Let the timer run out for whichever case you're on and focus on rescuing survivors, killing zombies with Combo Weapons, defeating psychopaths and finding hidden environment bonuses. Then, when you're ready to tackle the story, start a new game and your current level and cash will carry over, making things a LOT easier.

Above: The Pitchfork Shotgun in all its gory glory. You can probably guess what items you need to combine to create this particular Combo Weapon.

2. Environment Bonuses?

Interact with everything, because chances are it'll spit out some precious PP. Here are some examples to get you started...

- Hit the strength test machine with the sledgehammer's heavy attack in the sports shop near the safehouse in the Royal Flush Plaza.

- In the Pallisades Mall, slide down the waterslide at the top of the tiki bar.

- Roll a 7 on the giant craps table in the middle of the Royal Flush Plaza.

- Ride the bucking bronco in the Americana Casino. You have to hit every prompt to get the PP.

- Use the exercise bike in the gym at the top end of the Pallisades Mall.

3. Juice Up
Before tackling a boss, make sure you bring some Painkiller. Most bars in Fortune City have a blender that lets you mix two liquids to create a stat-altering potion. To get Painkiller - which reduces the damage you take from psychopaths, and is absolutely essential in close-quarters battles - mix either two whiskeys, two beers or two vodkas.

Other helpful concotions include...

- Quickstep: milk + milk (increases speed)
- Repulse: hot dog + soda (zombies won't attack)

4. Knife Gloves > Everything

So you've got some Painkiller, but you're still not ready to face that boss - you'll need a weapon. Visit the sports shop nearest the safehouse in the Royal Flush plaza and pick up some boxing gloves. Then head to the BBQ Shack in the Americana Casino next door and locate the bowie knife on the counter (zombies also drop them occasionally).

Combine the two at a workbench to create the Knife Gloves, which are superbly effective against psychopaths. You can defeat someone like Brandon (the crazed C.U.R.E. member) with just two or three melee combos. Accompanied by Painkiller, you'll be unstoppable.

Above: Look at his little face. He loves it. This kind of thing always gives you bonus PP

5. Avoid Snowflake

A short but potentially game-saving tip - unless you're confident you can beat Snowflake and Ted, two of the hardest bosses in the game, stay well away from the Yucatan Casino in chapters 1 and 4. The instant you enter the boss battle will start, and there's no escape.

6. Tame Snowflake

But if you're confident you can take Ted down, how about getting Snowflake the tiger as a follower? To tame her, feed her three steaks by tossing them in front of her (you can find the steaks in her enclosure). Snowflake also counts as a survivor, so bring her back to the safehouse. You can even give her to Katey as a pet for some bonus PP.

7. Defeating Leon

Leon Bell is Chuck's rival and fellow Terror Is Reality contestant, and he's an absolute nightmare to defeat. Well, unless you know how to exploit the game, that is. Here are two steps to killing him and unlocking the bike for Chuck to customise and use on the Strip.

- Find a firearm (there are three handguns in the Americana Casino's security room if you can't afford anything better from the pawn shop) and climb the fountain in the area where Leon is skidding around on his bike. He'll stop occasionally to taunt Chuck, letting you get a shot in. Three pistols, totalling 90 shots, will take off roughly half of Leon's health.

- To finish him off, equip your trusty Knife Gloves. Go near one of the blue/green fences and wait for Leon to charge you. Jump away at the last second and he'll glitch out and get stuck in the fence, letting you whack him. Two combos later and he'll be dead, and the bike is yours.

8. Terror Is Reality

If your console is online (whose isn't?), you never have to worry about finding Katey Zombrex. Playing Terror Is Reality online - which, incidentally, is brilliant fun - earns you a massive amount of money that can be transferred to your single-player save. Even if you come third you'll net around $50,000. So spend the dough on Zombrex at pawn shops and never worry about your infected daughter's well-being ever again.

For a full preview of Dead Rising 2 - including 50+ exclusive, unseen, screens of secret, or obscure weapons - grab issue 131 of PSM3 UK, available from all decent newsagents RIGHT NOW! You can also buy the issue without leaving the house - or subscribe - byclicking here.

Alternatively, you can spoil yourself rotten with ourDead Rising 2 super review. It is truly super.

September 24, 2010