Dead Rising 2 Co-op Mode -- New ImpressionsBy Patrick Klepek - Posted Apr 20, 2010
Repetition can sometimes be a bad thing, but it's difficult to argue that chopping, slashing, maiming, and mutilating zombies over and over again actually becomes boring. Dead Rising 2, the long-awaited sequel to the surprising hit early in Xbox 360's life cycle, is closer than ever, promising to give gamers hundreds, if not thousands, of new ways to maim the walking dead.
More than just a sequel, Dead Rising 2 represents Capcom's most involved collaboration with a Western developer, according to head of Capcom research and development Keiji Inafune.
"It's important for Capcom to globalize," said Inafune, "and working with Western developers is going to be a key element in making games that are going to be popular on a worldwide scale. I feel this title represents truly our first success story working with the West. Up until now, we've, of course, tried various ways to make it work and this is the one where it's definitely gone the best. The one thing it's allowed us to do is learn how we can collaborate with the West and then use that gained knowledge in future endeavors when it comes to working with the West."
Capcom's Hawaii-based Captivate 2010 event was the stage for revealing two major new features for Dead Rising 2: co-operative multiplayer and homegrown weapon combinations.
Dead Rising 2 co-op, which developer Blue Castle says was a new feature they wanted in the game "from the start," works about how you'd expect. Through an Xbox Live or PlayStation Network connection (there's no split-screen option), the game drops another Chuck Greene into the environment and lets two players explore the possibilities from there. The reason Dead Rising 2 doesn't have a separate character for co-op is simply because the Chuck Greene that's spawned into co-op is your version of Chuck Greene and the experience, items, and weapons you collect while playing around in someone else's co-op sandbox carry over to yours. The player "hosting" the co-op session will also have their own story progression saved.
In addition to unveiling co-op, Capcom let me play around with the weapon creation system, which insinuates that anything can be made with a little bit of duct tape. I'm inclined to agree with Capcom and Blue Castle in this regard, even if the combos didn't make a lick of sense sometimes (in a good way). For example, placing a hard hat and a power drill on Dead Rising 2's work bench produced a hat of blood-fueled destruction when placed on a zombie's head. It's not exactly practical, as it only affects a single zombie, but it produces a serious amount of experience points for your character. Conversely, combining a rake and a car battery (with some duct tape, obviously) resulted in an electrified rake excellent at zombie crowd control.
Small pieces of information about the story were revealed at Captivate, too. Chuck Greene is somehow "responsible" for the zombie outbreak, according to the folks in the world who are trying to kill him, but it's unclear what role he might or might not have played. We were introduced to two femme fatales as part of a mission called "The Source," where a boss battle played out. Depending on which woman you defeat first, the ensuing cut-scene plays differently. Clearly, however, there's a whole host of people who aren't happy with Mr. Greene.
We might learn more about Chuck Greene's role in Dead Rising 2 during the prequel campaign, Case Zero, a piece of downloadable content that Capcom said would be available "sometime" before Dead Rising 2's August release date. Case Zero will contain roughly three hours of gameplay in a completely new environment. If successful, this could happen with other games.
"I've always had doubts about doing demos," said Inafune. "Rather than creating a demo, which is just a portion of the game you're going to play, I wanted to have it set up in a different area and allow you to have a unique experience on top of being able to experience what the game will be like. Yes, it's definitely a test case that we're trying out with this title, but if it goes well, maybe we'll do that for future titles and maybe we'll do it on a larger scale."
Several features from the original are coming over to the sequel, too. The 72-hour time cycle remains, in addition to the discovery of "scoops." There will be an improved save system, but Blue Castle was surprisingly cagey about what changes are coming to the system. Dead Rising was criticized for its save system, which relied on players starting the game over and over again (every time they died, actually) with carried over experience -- a design concept not common in games and one that wasn't effectively communicated as necessary to the player.
And as if you didn't need another reason to look forward to Dead Rising 2: zombies can slip on your vomit. Drink one too many beers and Chuck Greene will start spewing a liquid weapon.
Dead Rising 2 doesn't appear anxious to change much about what fans loved in the first place, and Blue Castle has done an admirable of re-creating the zany Japanese humor the original was applauded for. Dead Rising 2 looks to be exactly what we wanted: Dead Rising...but better.