It's easy to look at Dead Rising 2: Off the Record and see a cheap attempt at a cash-in. You're right about the cheap part; Capcom confirmed today that the "what if?" scenario game will retail this fall for $39.99. It's a full-blown game though, a return to Fortune City as seen through the eyes of Dead Rising protagonist Frank West. None of what you see actually happened in the fiction of the game's universe, but Frank's fantasy time in the Las Vegas-alike is a chance to take on new zombies with new weapons in at least one entirely new area, which we were able to check out today.
The new location, an amusement park called "Uranus Zone," appears to connect to Dead Rising 2's Atlantica Casino. As the name implies, it's a space-age assortment of rides, minigames and shops for you to explore and pillage for zombie-ending supplies. There are completely fresh opportunities for setting up elaborate zombie death traps, with items like firecrackers luring the shambling hordes into the path of things like a giant, swinging spaceship or constantly spinning teacups.
Of course, the big innovation from Dead Rising 2 is back in Off the Record: combo weapons. While the full list wasn't in the game's menu, we're told that all of the old ones are there plus, of course, a bunch of new ones. The Pegasus is a fun one, a toy horse head mounted on a stick with bottle rockets duct taped to it. Impale a zombie with one and watch it fly off. There's plenty of time to whip out Frank's camera and snap a photo, which scores some good PP in the Outtake category.
The same goes for the Cryo Pod, a bizarre mixture of UFO-shaped trash can and fire extinguishers. Plant it on a zombie and, like the Pegasus, it starts hovering around, knocking down surrounding baddies. There's also a Saw Launcher which, as you can probably guess, fires spinning sawblades at a high velocity from a stationary position, much like the previous game's machine gun-toting Freedom Bear. Best of all though is the Laser Eyes, which appears to be an alien mask paired with a battery. It shoots LASER BEAMS FROM ITS EYES. All you need to know, right?
Also scattered around the park are a range of carnival games that you can play for bonus PP. Activate a knight statue holding a novelty mallet to spend some money and bop E.T.s in the head as they pop out of craters. Another game involves through space-themed footballs at a group of moving targets while asteroids slowly float around to get in your way. It's no replacement for DR2's Terror Is Reality online mode -- which doesn't return here -- but the carnival games make for a fun distraction.
That's about all we got to see. The park seems like a fun, completely fitting extension of the Fortune City we already know. What's being shown at E3 is apparently not the entire space. Capcom says the new area is roughly the size of one of the game's casinos, but the portion shown at E3 seems bigger. That might be because of the 10-minute demo build time limit constantly ticking away at the top of the screen though. Regardless, between the budget price tag and the new content it seems like there's plenty here to enjoy. At least enough to not write the game off out of hand as a rehash of last year's release.