The release of Dead Rising 2: CASE ZERO covers three significant bases for Capcom, that of providing a demo version of their forthcoming retail game for those still sitting on the fence, a prequel story chapter for those waiting with baited breath and a compact zombie slashing experience for those willing to step into the world of Dead Rising, but facing more important videogame purchases in the coming months. All three audiences would demand something different from the downloadable package, and pleasing them all is of course no easy task.
Downloadable content (DLC) is essentially still a very new trend in the videogames industry. While PC gamers have benefited from the opportunity to download patches, mods and even full games for over a decade, the console market is very different. Although developers have been producing DLC in various forms for console systems for around five years, it’s really only now we’re seeing the benefits of market perception come into play. Weapon and map packs and a few hours of extra gameplay beyond the main game is all good and well, but the potential for DLC is far greater, be it used for increasing the awareness of an upcoming game, redefining the core gameplay with an all-new gameplay mode or simply acting as an additional revenue stream.
Dead Rising 2: CASE ZERO does exactly that; explore the possibilities of the Xbox LIVE Arcade format and shrewdly delivers a slice of gameplay that will provide hours of entertainment at a respectable price – or, for those not entertaining the idea of purchasing the full game or concerned with Achievements, for free.
Taking place in the fictional North American rural town of Still Creek, players enter the shoes of Chuck Greene for the first time. While Dead Rising’s storyline was entertaining, Dead Rising 2: CASE ZERO immediately casts the forthcoming sequel in a much more humanistic light; powerfully establishing the connection between Chuck and his daughter with just a single line; the very first line uttered from his lips. Dead Rising 2: CASE ZERO promises that Dead Rising 2 will explore this relationship, tying the player to Chuck through the bond with his daughter. It promises that Dead Rising 2 will give players a reason to care about Chuck’s plight beyond the fun of smashing zombie heads.
And that, for the most part, is what Dead Rising 2: CASE ZERO specialises in. Providing a large variety of weapons and elegantly teasing the combination capability that Chuck will have at his disposal in Dead Rising 2, Dead Rising 2: CASE ZERO is a decidedly fun game within minutes: even to the point where the original Dead Rising took hours of dedication from the player to reach. It will take several playthroughs for players to find and use every weapon and weapon combination available, and so too could it take a couple of playthroughs to locate all the survivors in the game. Completing both of these tasks not only unlocks Achievements in Dead Rising 2: CASE ZERO, but also remain in play when beginning Dead Rising 2, allowing players to build-up a nice selection of Combo Cards and level-up prior to beginning Dead Rising 2.
The icing on the cake in an already well devised presentation is the fact that the game is complimented by multiple endings, depending on level of success achieved – survivors saved, zombies killed etc. Most players eagerly anticipating the forthcoming release of Dead Rising 2 will therefore be drawn to complete Dead Rising 2: CASE ZERO a number of times, not just to maximise the transferable bonuses, but to witness all the story content available. To say that Dead Rising 2: CASE ZERO features a considerable replay value would simply be an understatement.
While Dead Rising 2: CASE ZERO is entirely enjoyable, it’s not without flaws – possibly highlights some of the issues with the forthcoming retail release that consumers may have previously been unaware of. The collision detection isn’t perfect, which could be considered the biggest problem in the gameplay, but many more casual players are likely to take immediate note of the graphical blemishes, of which there are a fair few.
As an Xbox LIVE Arcade title, Dead Rising 2: CASE ZERO suffers compared to the more well-rounded experiences designed specifically for the platform, but as experiment in DLC and demo creation, Dead Rising 2: CASE ZERO is the perfect taster for the forthcoming full game. Crackdown 2 may have taken a step into new territory by offering gamers the opportunity to unlock Achievements in the full release through play of the demo version, but Dead Rising 2: CASE ZERO knocks that idea out of the ballpark.