Rising in my queue

Dead Rising 2
The Chuck Stops Here

Having received Dead Rising 2: Off the Record for my birthday, I decided I should finally get around to playing Dead Rising 2. I love the DR franchise and always wanted to play DR2, but it got pushed back in my queue by a few other games I also wanted to finish. So I put the game in a couple of nights ago, loaded up my last saved game, and quickly realized why I’d put it aside before in favor of another game. Of all the things I love about the DR games, the one thing I don’t is that it is nearly impossible to “win” on the first time through.

If you aren’t familiar with the games, your character gains experience (PP) and levels up as you complete tasks, save people and kill zombies. When you lose, and you will lose, you can start over, retaining your levels and unlocked abilities, thus making the second trip through easier. During the first game, this was an interesting mechanic, but in DR2 I found playing the first run through a bit disheartening as I knew I wasn’t going to succeed. I last saved my game just moments away from failure.

Of course, failure of the game’s main mission has its own reward: you can keep playing. Once the mission failed and I was informed that the truth had vanished, I was reminded why I didn’t mind failure in the first game. Now with an open world and no real reason to be there, I’ve been going on zombie killing sprees and saving random people when I’m able.

In the zombie genre, there tends to be two stories to tell. The first is full of hope, that our intrepid band of survivors is going to make it – final stand not withstanding. The second is stubbornness. Our survivors are only survivors for now, everybody dies, it’s just a matter of when. When in a DR game you fail the main mission and the story, the path to hope, fades, your game shifts from the first type of story to the second. Hope is gone, you’re all going to die, but not yet, not if you can help it. It’s sort of a “rage against the dying of the light” feeling.

I love it.

Originally posted on Google+, but I just had to repost it here since it isn’t public over there.

Dead Rising 2 – Case: 0

Dead Rising 2 drops next week and I’m really looking forward to it.  Three weeks or so ago, the Xbox 360 got a nice little exclusive prequel called Case 0.  If you are familiar with the original Dead Rising, you’ll remember that the story unfolds as a series of cases, unlocking each successive chapter as you complete the one you are in.  This tightly made bonus for the 360 seems to fit in nicely, giving the new hero, Chuck Greene, a path to Las Vegas, the setting of the upcoming DR2.

The one thing I enjoy most about the Dead Rising series is the stark contrast it has with the Left 4 Dead series.  L4D is clearly a high octane shooter.  Sure, you occasionally try to silently tiptoe past a witch, but most of the zombies in that world are charging at you at full speed.  Running is rarely an option, you have to fight to live.  The DR games, on the other hand, are populated with shamblers, zombies that shuffle their feet, walk, and sometimes even *gasp* walk fast!  Running is almost always an option.  This leads to Dead Rising playing more like an RPG, especially given its levels and character development.

Back to Case 0… I bought it last week and I’ve been fooling around in the little road block town of the game and it has me really excited to play the full blown DR2 when it releases, and at the same time it also doesn’t just feel like a teaser.  It feels like a complete game on its own, probably the best $5 I’ve ever spent in the marketplace.  And with the announcement of Case West coming to the 360 sometime after DR2’s launch, I imagine that’ll be a well spent $5 too.  If only all games in the Xbox Live Arcade could be this good.  Hell, if Capcom decided to just release a new mini game as good as Case 0 set in the Dead Rising universe every month, I’d be thrilled.

Anyway… if you liked the original Dead Rising and you still have a 360, I highly recommend Case 0.

Dead State

Dead StateI’m really psyched about the upcoming release of Dead Rising 2 because Dead Rising was one of my favorite games.  However, now I hear about Dead State.  Check out this article on Rock, Paper, Shotgun and then come back.  I’ll wait.

It is as if someone took a peak inside my brain and designed the game I’ve been looking for.  Obviously, I love zombies.  Not in the “I want to be a zombie” sort of way, but in an “I’m pretty sure I could survive a zombie uprising, and I also think it makes a great setting for stories” sort of way.  Frankly, I just don’t get the people in the former group at all.  But if every promise of Dead State comes true, they are talking about making a game with no defined goals, no boss to beat, no final cut scene that leads to the inevitable sequel.  You run a local shelter during a disaster and you have to go about finding supplied and food and other people.  Based on how you choose to do those things will determine if the people you run into will like you or not, creating your enemies and obstacles through your decisions.

With a release date of “Not in 2010” we’ve got a long wait ahead of us…