Dead Rising 2: Case West • Page 2

Allow us to be Frank.

There's no Zombrex to worry about this time, nor is there a safe zone to escort survivors to. Instead, those who need your help will ask for specific items to aid their escape, and you'll receive the bonus PP as soon as you've fulfilled their request. A little more downtime between the story objectives gives you welcome breathing space to explore Phenotrans HQ, and to seek out that tiki torch you need to bat flaming tennis balls at the undead hordes.

So in theory, your transceiver won't be beeping quite so frequently – except it probably will, but this time with requests from other online players asking if they can be Frank to your Chuck. There's no option to play as Dead Rising's hero for the lone player, so those who want to make the most of Frank's superior melee moveset (though sadly, he seems to have forgotten that awesome disembowelment attack) will have to join another player's game. There's extra incentive to co-operate, too, as you'll only gain the PP-boosting effects of some of the combo weapons if you play as Frank.

It's all part of a more concerted effort to encourage repeat plays – something Capcom's inventive but slightly opaque original design struggled to convey. The series' unusual structure has been much criticised by those who don't understand that it's very deliberately designed to prevent you doing everything in one go. Three save slots is a welcome concession which softens the harder edges of the original's punishing one-save-only setup, while the Achievements are perhaps the best indication that you're going to need to play through a few times, because it's impossible to get the lot in one go. Slaying 1000 zombies is easily possible on a single playthrough – I got over 800 without really trying on my first run – but doing so while constructing all the combo weapons and rescuing everyone? Not a chance.

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A nice visual touch sees Frank's photos framed within a professional quality viewfinder while Chuck has to make do with a crappy yellow disposable.

Subsequent run-throughs are all about effective time management, and suddenly you find you're working to a tight schedule like a demented party planner arranging some kind of zombie-themed get-together. "Frank, you pick up the floor buffer from the Holding Pen, and I'll meet you in the maintenance room with the electric prod at 2pm once I've thinned out the numbers in the Storage Bay. Oh, and bring the snapshot of that storage tank – preferably without the decapitated corpses in the background this time. Cheers."

Elsewhere, Case West benefits from a bit of graphical spit-and-polish, with what appears to be a more solid frame-rate throughout, while loading times have happily been noticeably trimmed. Mechanically, it's just about identical, which means it can often be as clunky as it is entertaining; it's still no easier to pick up the right thing when you're standing over a pile of items, but then there's something grimly hilarious about having to defend yourself with a water pistol when there's a perfectly good assault rifle lying tantalisingly within reach.

A cynical and frustratingly abrupt ending that quite deliberately leaves too many unanswered questions and story threads dangling is about the only real sour note struck by another accomplished downloadable release from Capcom. Solo players might consider this slightly worse value than Case Zero, but Achievement-grabbers and those with friends willing to indulge in a winningly dumb bit of co-operative slaughter will more than get their money's worth here.

8 / 10

Read the Eurogamer.net review policy Dead Rising 2: Case West Chris Schilling Allow us to be Frank. 2011-01-03T11:30:00+00:00 8 10

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