In video games, making a sequel is often looked upon as a chance to not only up the ante of the original, but to also fix mistakes in the first game. Such seems to be the approach Capcom are taking with Dead Rising 2, or at least that was the impression we got when we saw a live demo and a very funny the trailer for the game at Captivate 09, a press event the company held last week in Monte Carlo. Not only did it show that the game is getting bigger but it also showed that the game is being fixed.
Though some people didn’t see it this way, there were many who felt the save system in the original Dead Rising was a serious, even fatal, flaw. But while they wouldn’t explain how, Capcom and Blue Castle Games — the Canadian studio working with Capcom on the game — did say that they were aware of the problems in the original game’s save system, and had come up with a new approach that addressed the issues. But they also acknowledged that there were people who enjoyed the tension that came with a game in you have to fight your way to one of the few save points, and they feel their new save system will allow for this as well.
The other big improvement over the original is in the visuals. Or, to be more specific, the color palette. The game is set in the Las Vegas-looking Fortune City — with the scene we saw played being set in that town’s equivalent of the strip — and so just like Rainbow Six: Vegas, Dead Rising 2 is a much more vibrant-looking and colorful game than its predecessor. Not that you’ll spend a lot of time sightseeing, since they’ve also bumped the number of zombies they can have on screen at a time from 500 to 7000, which ups the threat level considerably.
Luckily, you still have the ability to weaponize anything in the game, be it a roulette wheel, a teddy bear, or a moose head. In fact, the moose head was held up as an example of how you can not only get different outfits in the game, but how some can now be deadly.
They also showed such jury-rigged weapons as a stick with chainsaws on both ends, a motorbike with chainsaws strapped to the handlebars, and a bucket with a pair of drills stuck into it. And while they wouldn’t say whether these were things you’d build yourself in the game or just pick up, Capcom producer Keiji Inafune did say, “How often do you find drills sticking into a bucket?”
The game is also taking a cue (though probably not directly) from Afro Samurai in that bladed weapons now slice enemies where they hit them. While slicing someone across the chest in other games often looks the same as when you aim for their kneecaps, in Dead Rising 2 the former will cut them in half while the latter will kneecap ’em.
Similarly, they’ve improved the guns in the game. You can now run and gun to your heart’s content, as the game now allows for strafing. The game even lets you use iron sights à la Gears Of War for more precise targeting, though this cuts your peripheral vision considerably, a point the developer inadvertently demonstrated by getting grabbed from behind while he was shooting up the place.
There is, however, one change that might upset some fans of the first game, which is that you’re not playing as photojournalist Frank West, and thus won’t be taking pictures. Instead, you’re Chuck Greene, a biking enthusiast and father of a young girl, though that was all they’d say when it came to him or the game’s story.
Well, that’s all they said directly. They did say that the game’s location was driven more by the story they wanted to tell, as opposed to a desire to expand the game’s color selection, while they later said that the game would, like the first one, have you trying to do whatever it is you’re supposed to do before time runs out.
All in all, Capcom’s presentation of Dead Rising 2 was an early highlight of their Captivate 09 event. It’s just too bad we’ll have to wait until next year to play the game on 360, PS3, and PC.