Zombie gorefest Dead Rising was the sole reason I bought an Xbox 360 all those years ago but I’m sad to say I’m feeling completely underwhelmed about the sequel. I was a big fan of George Romero’s classic 1978 Dawn of the Dead movie so the idea of adopting the role of a survivor holed up in a shopping mall and fending off the zombie horde appealed somewhat. Now, a few years on, I can’t help but feel that where the undead are concerned, the whole concept is suffering from overkill right now.
Call of Duty: World at War saw countless map packs sporting the shuffling minions, while Left4Dead and its fantastic follow up have given us a healthy dose of the undead too. Then there’s Resident Evil 5 and the countless Indie and Arcade games that have emerged too. I ask you, have we had too much of a good thing?
Back in 2006, Dead Rising was billed as the ultimate survival horror sandbox game, boasting a unique storyline, great shopping mall setting, vast array ofweaponary and hundreds of onscreen enemies at any one time. It showcased what could be achieved by the current crop of consoles- and I absolutely loved it. Besides the infected, there were the psychopaths to fight and snivelling shoppers to rescue. I even grew quite fond of Otis the Janitor – despite his incessant phone calls with news updates and tips at the most inappropriate times!
The upcoming second incarnation boasts more of the same, but takes place in the glitzy gambling capital Las Vegas – sorry, I mean Fortune City. This time, however, photographer Frank West isn’t involved – and instead players take the role of the intriguingly named Chuck Greene, a biker type, who thankfully won’t be needing to stop every few minutes to take pictures to achieve experience points. While this all sounds well and good, it’s the multiplayer options that are most intriguing… In a recent interview that appeared on my Xbox dashboard, Capcom said that it was as yet undecided how many different modes there will be but the co-op element of the game would take place in the guise of a reality TV show.
For anyone that remembers the US and UK hit series Gladiators, the Atlaspheres (or giant hamster balls) will play a part in Dead Rising 2, as will other mini-games involving bike mounted chainsaws and razor sharp deer antler headgear. Although welcome it doesn’t quite seem to blend as seamlessly with the main game as the Special Ops section does on Modern Warfare 2, does it?
So, as the game is still a little way off, I’d like to offer the developers my five suggested improvements for the sequel…
- First off, a Special Ops style mode would be fantastic. What a about a series of challenges for solo or co-op play, where you have to scythe down hundreds of zombies within a time limit, or reach the end of a level taking limited damage? Rather than this game mode taking place in the TV show surroundings, it would be great to make use of the Vegas gaming halls featured in the main game.
- How about copying from the likes of Left4Dead and introducing the option to play as a zombie. Perhaps you could be joined by others in a massive teamdeathmatch?
- Spy vs Spy was one of my favourite games of yesteryear and really should be revisited. In the meantime, however, what about giving Chuck the ability to lay elaborate traps for the undead. This could be used to great effect, helping to stop the little hungry fellas sneaking up behind him and overpowering him.
- Defend the HQ! Perhaps a timed event where you and a few other players barricade yourselves in a room and await the onslaught – similar to the fantastic Horde mode in Gears of War 2.
- What about a few missions where you have to fight your way across a map to track down a specific zombie and kill it – similar to the queen zombie section in the first game?
So there you have it. Come on Capcom… inject some new life into the undead!
Many thanks to our new editor: Bojeeva for this article.