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Dead Rising 2: Case West Review

Dead Rising is a series that is much more about the journey than the destination. Yeah, the game may list your current goal as getting to Point X by a certain time, but that’s just an excuse to let you run through a mall in a banana hammock, disemboweling zombies with a chainsaw. Unfortunately, Case West misses this point and while the underlying formula will still satisfy Dead Rising fans it definitely feels like a weak link in the series.

The big draw of Case West is the chance to team up with Frank West, war-covering photojournalist hero from the first Dead Rising. The A.I. maneuvers Frank while the player retains control of stony-faced, McGyver wannabe Chuck Greene from Dead Rising 2. While it’s great to see Frank again (even with his new Jersey Shore-style makeover), it does not cover up the fact that both heroes are out of their natural environment. Instead of Willamette Mall or Fortune City, each of which was filled with tons of different stores and improvised weapons, all of Case West’s 3-4 hours of gameplay take place in a drab science facility. While the malls of the previous two games had a lot of personality and different environments such as casinos and food courts, Case West’s locations are bland industrial settings and science labs. It’s about as generic an environment as you can get, which is especially disappointing from a series which stood out in part thanks to its unique backdrop.

 

The world simply is not as much fun to explore and there is not as much to do, which would have been excusable for a downloadable game if not for Dead Rising 2’s own Xbox Live Arcade prequel, Case Zero. That game, which lasts about the same amount of time as Case West and is five dollars cheaper, delivered the same amount of personality and rewarding sense of exploration as the full games and there is no real reason why Case West could not have been its equal. Case West still gives you downtime in between its eight cases to explore the science base, but there’s not a lot of incentive to do so aside from saving a few survivors with boring sub-missions. Some of the new combo weapons, such as a super-charged defibrillator and a jury-rigged rail gun, are a lot of fun to use and co-op, which has a second player control Frank, can be fun but none of this makes up for the fact that the game world gets old, fast.

The main focus of Case West is resolving the storyline of Dead Rising 2, but plot has never been the selling point of the series. So, in place of an open world that encourages exploration and experimentation, we are given a limp-wristed narrative that takes itself much too seriously. Dead Rising’s unique brand of do-it-yourself zombie slaying is still intact and Case West gives you some fun new toys, but it loses its charm much quicker than Case Zero due to a dull setting and missions.

Rating
6.0

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