Jeremy Jastrzab
11 Jan, 2011

Dead Rising 2: Case West Review

360 Review | Go WEST!
Unlike traditional survival-horror titles, Dead Rising was not about being scary. It was about survival and pushing HD hardware horsepower, while throwing in a whole lot of B-grade action. However, a contentious save system and demanding play style firmly entrenched it in the ‘love/hate’ category. The sequel from 2010, Dead Rising 2, added some improvements but still kept a lot of the aspects that would have put players off.

Now, before Dead Rising 2 was released, Capcom performed an interesting experiment: Dead Rising: Case Zero. Available for 400 MSP upon release, this prequel ‘case’ was more than just a token download or a glorified demo. It served an important role in introducing players to the new aspects of the game while connecting the story of the two games, while allowing early adopters to carry over stats into the sequel. At that price and with the features on offer, it became one of the most successful XBLA downloads of 2010.

You don't think Frank will feel a little short-changed here?

You don't think Frank will feel a little short-changed here?
Not satisfied with just providing a prologue, Capcom has now released an exclusive epilogue for Xbox 360 players: Dead Rising 2: Case West. Like Case Zero, it's essentially stand alone and doesn't require the full game to be played. Reprising the role of Chuck Green from Dead Rising 2, you’re still working to clear your name over the Fortune City zombie outbreak. This time though, you’ve got help from a familiar face from the original game, Frank West. The pair of you raid the facility of the bad guys, with Chuck looking to find evidence that will prove his innocence while Frank has a contact on the inside with vital information regarding his on-going investigation.

The story is just as fun but silly as you can expect from a Dead Rising title. It’s a much less serious take on the usual zombie outbreak conspiracies and social commentary, and it does this well with humorous and self-aware dialogue, as well as some B-grade cinematography. Still, it seems that the team at Blue Castle Games have got this style down-pat pretty well and from playing through, you’ll find that Capcom has no intention of stopping the franchise anytime soon. This is clear from the lack of full answers. Also, while it's hardly a substantial issue, it’s a little disappointing that there are only two game endings.

Dead Rising 2: Case West doesn’t add any major features that aren’t available in the other games. Similar to Case Zero, you only have the one day cycle to go through and complete the assigned ‘cases’. Between cases, there are survivors to save, weapons to combine, shenanigans to pull as well as zombies, zombie handlers and Security guards to mow through. Furthermore, Chuck is given a piddly disposable camera to use, though it doesn’t really do much for the overall game. The biggest addition is the presence of Frank himself.

OK, so you don't run with scissors, but this?

OK, so you don't run with scissors, but this?
While you can’t play local co-op, you can play as a single player with Frank controlled by AI or online co-op with a friend. Online play is self-explanatory and a potential barrel-of-fun with a friend. While it may make the challenge a little ‘lighter’, it’s a good way of going about the zombie slaughtering. However, it was a real surprise to play single player and find that Frank is actually remarkably useful. He’ll actually take care of himself (so you don’t need to heal him) and help you out if you’re grabbed by a zombie. It makes tackling what would have been some tricky situations so much more bearable.

The survivors this time are quite capable of taking care of themselves too… once you provide them with the item they request. Sure, they’ve devolved into fetch quests (though sometimes you’ll have the weapon that they request on hand) but once you’ve fulfilled their quest, they’ll happily be off on their merry way. If a research facility full of (surprisingly useful) makeshift weaponry wasn’t enough, weapon combinations are improved too. While a lot of combinations return from Dead Rising 2, there are a bunch of new ones too. And some are remarkably crazy and awesome fun to use, so much so, that they alone make the price of admission worth it.

Keeping in line with the franchise, Dead Rising 2: Case West retains a lot of the contentious design aspects, some to better effect than others. You start at level 40, so you have some abilities and weapon combinations available at the beginning, making you less of a sitting duck. At the same time though, a lot of the design aspects, such as the time limits, the excessive backtracking and rigid save locations remain. However, the compressed nature of Case West means that you never have too far to travel, nor too much to lose. As mentioned in the Case Zero review, it’s almost exactly how Dead Rising should be played.

Ah, much better!

Ah, much better!
Graphically and audibly, Case West doesn’t really offer anything more than the full game. However, the research facility is a rather dull and indistinct place to meander through. An area of potential contention raised is the price: 800 MSP. This is double the price of the very well received Case Zero, but anyone with a gripe against this is really just splitting chips. Case West will probably take around an hour longer (if you rush through, you’re doing it wrong!) and has a lot more than Case Zero, including better weapons, co-op and one of the most enjoyable boss fights in the whole series. Maybe Capcom got a little greedy, as the lack of closure is a bit annoying, but any fan invested in the franchise will get a kick out of it.

Dead Rising 2: Case West delivers what you’d expect of an epilogue from the Dead Rising series. The best part about it, is that it delivers some fun additional hours of zombie slaughter, with non-frustrating AI and a heap of good improvised and combined weaponry. The price is a minor stickling point given the success of Case Zero, but in comparison to what else is available on the XBLA, it’s more than adequate. If there is a point of improvement, it is that the game virtually runs on auto-pilot and doesn’t do much to expand on the franchise, other than openly point to more for the future.
The Score
Dead Rising 2: Case West is a good stand-alone co-op zombie slayer and definite for all 360 fans of the franchise. Just don't expect too many answers. 8
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Content

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01 Dec, 2010 Frank West returns.
XBLA Dead Rising 2: Case Zero Review
16 Sep, 2010 Case in point: How to do Dead Rising properly.
Dead Rising 2: Case West announced
15 Sep, 2010 FRAAAANK!
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Australian Release Date:
  29/12/2010 (Confirmed)
Year Made:

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