No two snowflakes are alike
When Capcom announced that they planned to put co-op into all of their major releases Co-Optimus wept with joy. The likes of Resident Evil 5 and Lost Planet 2 were brilliant, but flawed games. My recent battles with Dead Rising 2 continue this trend: should it be rebranded Dead Frustrating 2?
Picture the scene – two men, stood side by side, facing off against a numberless hoard of undead fiends. Now picture it with one man wearing a flowery summer dress and the other an outfit that would not be out off place on the cover of ‘S&M Weekly’. The less said about the ‘massager’ that he is using as a weapon, the better. Dead Rising 2 is great fun. It has a silly sense of humor that means it has more in common with Saints Row 2, than other undead combat games such as Left 4 Dead 2. With an open hub design that features a snapshot of the Vegas like Fortune City, the number of possibilities in the game seems endless.
Before I say anything else about Dead Rising 2 I want to admit that I did not get on with the first game. Frank West was a great character and the idea of killing zombies in a mall was brilliant, but the frustrating save system and strange time management meant that I died continuously and became confused easily. Surely the sequel would fix these issues and with added co-op become an instant classic? Our 4.5 out of 5 review suggested so.
However, over the past 4 weeks I have been playing the game with a co-op pal and for every moment of joy there is a moment of pain. On the positive, the concept behind the game is still a brilliant one. Adding an additional player to the game also works as now both of you can run around in your pants, or ride a pink bicycle into a hoard of the undead. As a series of inane and fun moments the game is a fantastic sandbox. Graphically the game impresses with a detailed world that covers malls, casinos and Fortune City’s very own strip. Enemies are almost limitless and Capcom should be praised for making a game that can be played in co-op and have so many zombies on the screen at the same time, with the minimum of slowdown.
Like many things in life, good things come at a cost; the maggot to Dead Rising 2’s delicious Royal Gala apple is the loading times. The large levels and hundreds of enemies can take up to 60 seconds to load, and as on occasion you move from screen to screen quite quickly you can spend more time watching the game load than actually playing. At first I thought my copy was faulty and the 360 was crashing, nope, just the game loading and saving. Speaking of saving, for a game that is designed with co-op in mind there is an almost unforgivable bug – every time the host player saves, the second player is kicked. Not too bad if you can invite them back in promptly, but as mentioned the loading times are very long. This means you have to weigh up how often you save alongside kicking your partner. In my opinion, this is a serious design flaw.