Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dead Rising 2

Dead Rising 2 Review

Kid Safe: Low   Game Quality: Moderate

Genre: Open-World Survival Horror
-          This game takes place in a world where choice is everything. Rather than providing a set story that a player has to follow, they are provided a world that they can explore and do as they wish. This game features a focus on horror themes and attempting to escape the terror that has overtaken the situation. This game may contain situations that are scary for some players.

Internet Requirements: Moderate
-          This game features a moderate amount of internet usage. While it does have a good deal of offline content that can be played without internet connection; this title also offers plenty of online content which includes a multiplayer-mode where players may compete against each other or play together to complete the main story.

Story Summary: Dead Rising 2 takes place in Fortune City, NV, a fictional city built around gambling,
   casinos, and entertainment; akin to places like Las Vegas, NV or Reno, NV. The main
   character is Chuck Greene, an ex-motocross rider who, after having lost his wife and
   nearly lost his daughter in a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, now competes in the
   gruesome reality game-show “Terror Is Reality” to earn money. During a filming
   however, the zombies that are the focus of the game-show are released upon the city,
   wreaking havoc and killing many; as well as framing Chuck Greene for the catastrophe.
   Greene now has 72 hours to battle the creatures, clear his good name, and save as many
   lives as he can before the military arrives to tie up any loose ends.

Kid Safe: Low
-          Foul Language: Low
o   This game features a low amount of foul language including d*mn, s*it, b*tch, and a*s. These words tend to be used sparingly and no single character demonstrates an excessive amount of cursing. Generally, this foul language is also used realistically; portraying scenes of actual anger or dismay rather than being used excessively for no real apparent reason. The only really questionable language falls under the large presence of sexual references made by a number of characters in game (which are covered under Sexual Content below).

-          Violence and Gore: Very High – Not Recommended for Children
o   This game features an excessive amount of blood, gore, and violence and is the primary focus of the entire title. Players are able to act violently against both living humans and zombie creatures alike and they are encouraged to use literally any and all items that are available to them to do so. With over a hundred possibilities available, items can be anything from traditional weapons such as firearms, knives, grenades to household items such a scissors, brooms, and hammers. Likewise, individuals are encouraged to combine items to make them even more deadly, such as a traditional water pistol converted to use gasoline and spray fire at enemies.
o   Aside from the encouragement of violence, players witness an incredible amount of gore that seemingly never stops. Zombies tend to act more as blood-filled targets than threats and many weapons will dismember, maim, and eviscerate them; sending bloodied chunks and pieces everywhere and even covering your character, Chuck Greene, in blood for a short amount of time. As well, when fighting any of the multitude of “Psychopaths” (live humans who have gone insane and become violent from the situation) in the game; upon defeating them these characters often suffer gruesome deaths such as a Chef who is burnt alive in his own deep-fryer or a protestor who slits his own throat with a piece of glass.

-          Sexually-Related Content: Moderate
o   This game features a fair amount of sexual content but does not feature any outright nudity. The majority of this content takes place in either pictures or sexual references in dialogue. To begin, there are posters and flyers scattered around Fortune City which are advertisements for Playboy Magazine. There are multiple versions of these posters and all of them feature scantily clad or mostly unclothed young women; however no genitalia or explicit areas are visible. Aside from that, multiple characters in the game make lewd comments and sexual references to each other in dialogue; some of the more predominant including a motocross biker asking Greene if he has “a hard on for him”, two female assassins asking if Greene would like to engage in “a threesome tonight” when going to attack him, and finally the name of a mini-game called “Master Shafter”.
o   There is a single exception to the previously mentioned examples in one scene featuring the two female assassins holding another young woman hostage in which one of the assassins gropes the hostage’s breast.
-          Use of Drugs and Alcohol: Low
o   This game features a low amount of drug or alcohol usage and that which does take place is almost predominantly alcohol usage. The game does not condone alcohol usage but in fact discourages it. Characters are able to pick up alcohol as a “healing” item which will restore a little health, but any excessive usage will result in Greene becoming sick and throwing up; encouraging players to use other healing items to avoid these malicious effects. On top of this, when Greene finds a survivor who has been drinking heavily, she is very sick and generally dislikable; once again discouraging the consumption of alcohol.

Game Quality: Moderate
-          Graphics / Visuals: Moderate
o   The graphics and visuals for this title are generally of a fair quality. While they are certainly not bad-looking and do not suffer from any major problems; they do not tend to impress given the high quality of the video game market today. Facial animations are strange and seem a bit off. Characters tend to seem a little like goldfish with their mouths simply opening and closing while they speak rather than showing distinct facial expressions. Likewise, other characters have shown virtual breaking as they attempt to show facial expression and parts of their face do things that really shouldn’t happen (like a man’s eyebrows seemingly dropping OFF of his actual brow and going in front of his eyes).
o   For some of the stranger problems that Dead Rising suffers, it most certainly has some impressive qualities, as well. As zombies are the primary focus of this title, Capcom did their job very well. Zombie creatures look impressively grotesque and rotted; very much how someone would expect a walking corpse to look. On top of this, the game has the ability to show literally hundreds of these creatures at once without any graphical problems at all. Finally, the design of Fortune City itself deserves special mention for the incredibly diverse and sprawling feel of the city; which, with its hundreds of different stores, restaurants, and locals, captures the charm of places like Las Vegas perfectly.

-          Audio: Moderate
o   The sounds and audio of the game are of a generally fair quality. Much like the graphics, while the sound quality and the music are not poorly done, they are equally insubstantial. The game offers decent musical accompaniment to almost every scene, with the score rising and falling with everything from soft almost-elevator music to hardcore rock music; adding a strong sense of tone and emotion to these scenes (most notably the "psychopath" battles). Likewise, the majority of cutscenes feature relatively decent voice acting that properly portrays the emotion and feeling of the situation. However, sadly, almost all voice acting taking place outside of cutscenes seems strange and forced; taking on an almost mechanical tone. Dozens of survivors have no more than several voices amongst them all and tend to speak the same lines despite the situation and Greene's rebuttals are equally flat-toned and simplistic.

-          Gameplay / Playability: High
o   This game features a relatively high quality of gameplay and playability. The controls are relatively simplistic and is well-rounded to encompass the usage of multiple items in a variety of situations. A player is able to easily switch from swinging a sledgehammer to targeting and firing a submachine gun to throwing a brick without any control difficulty. Likewise, onscreen displays help to easily point out items in the nearby area on top of showing what kind of item it is; such as whether it is a health item or maybe it can be used to make a combination weapon. Likewise, combination weapons are easy to do and figure out; boiling down to simply placing one item on a workbench and seeing what other item can be combined with it. All in all, the interface helped the game to be very enjoyable and simple.
o   On the flipside, however, there are two notable problems. The first is that, at the very beginning of the game, the controls are not explained and so you are not sure how to move or defend yourself. The main problem with this is the fact that the game starts you off in a fight where you must defend yourself immediately. The other problem is that the entire game constantly has a clock running in the background, counting down the 72 hours until the military arrives; making it extremely difficult to complete all of the tasks that pop up in game (which all also have timers attached to them).
-          Dollar-Value: High
o   This game is of a decently high dollar value. Even without any internet connection, you can easily get 12 to 15 hours of gameplay; and that is only on a single play through of the game when you need to play the game twice to fully experience everything there is to offer. On top of this, I personally spent hours absorbed just in the weapon combinations and seeing what I could create. Not only that, but the game also offers a decent amount of online content with more levels and story available for purchase and download. Finally, the game features two multiplayer modes. The first is the ability to play the entire story with a friend. The second is the ability to actually play Terror Is Reality, which is essentially a four-player set of mini-games that allows you to earn money that can then be transferred and used in the regular game. While the overall design of the game may be lackluster, this game still offers a strong bang for your buck.
-          Sadly, almost all horror-related and zombie-related games will be M-rated by the ESRB; any realistic depictions of undead tend to do that to a rating. It should be noted that Dead Rising is one of the lighter games on the market as well for this content. However, if you are looking for something else you may wish to try Resident Evil, a very long series that now has a great number of different games available on the market for many systems. While still M-rated, Resident Evil tends toward a less graphic depiction of death and gore and may be more suitable for younger audiences.

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