Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dead Rising 2: Case West review

    I really should have reviewed this a very long time ago but it occurred to me that I should probably get around to it. As I recall, I also have a write-up of Dead Rising 2's social satire at some point as well. Dead Rising 2: Case West is a short downloadable game which serves as a coda for the original Dead Rising 2.

    The premise is simple, as Chuck Greene is fighting for his life against a bunch of zombies in the regular ending (not the Overtime ending) of Dead Rising 2, Frank West comes to rescue him. Frank West, as you may recall, is the protagonist of the original Dead Rising.

     Frank is here to get a story on the evil corporation Phenotrans and its relationship to the Fortune City zombie outbreak. Chuck, having been framed for it, needs to get evidence which will clear him. Conveniently, there's a Phenotrans processing center nearby. Our heroes decide to team up and break in so they can get the evidence to take down the megacorp.

    Man, I wish this game was good.

    It's bad, though.

    Very bad.

    The gameplay is fine. It's more or less identical to Dead Rising 2, but that's not a bad thing. However, the game itself is just so terribly boring. Fortune City was hilarious, gaudy, beautiful, and exciting. You got commentary on America's greed and could do all sorts of wonderful fun stuff in-between killing zombies in ridiculously funny ways. Here, the Phenotrans facility is an endless basement of grey metal corridors with nothing to do but kill zombies in more or less the exact same way.

    I respect they didn't have the same sort of budget for Case West as they did for the original game but if they're going to make a sequel, why make it dreary when the chief premise of your game is it's bright and gaudy? I'm sorry but Case West is more or less wandering around the basement of the Umbrella Corporation only there's no mutant monsters, only zombies.

    There's not even the enjoyable factor of being able to rescue oddballs and take them back to your base. One of the things I really enjoyed about Dead Rising 2 was the eclectic cast of characters you get to rescue from the zombie hordes. Sure, you didn't get to speak with them very long but they were an epic cast of weirdos. Here, they're all employees of Phenotrans and arguably don't deserve to be rescued.

     I'm not even fond of the villains here. In Dead Rising 2, Phenotrans is established as an anti-Umbrella Corporation. Whereas the Umbrella Corporation is doing all the insane stuff they do for world domination, Phenotrans only wants to make money and keep its extensively infected government sponsors alive. This changes in Case West where the people involved act like they're cartoonishly evil from start to finish.

    The big argument for Case West is co-op mode where you can play Chuck Greene while your buddy plays Frank West. Frankly, that doesn't work for me because the two of us will still be in the dull lifeless setting of the game. Case West isn't very expensive and you can complete it in a short time, which is really the best thing that can be said about this game.

     I can't say I hated this game as much as Dead Money but it's not nearly as well-plotted either. It's just a boring, lifeless, repetitive storyline where I can't say anything is improved from the original and many things are downgraded. If you're going to play Dead Rising 2, I suggest you play the original or Dead Rising 2: Off the Record.


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