Review XBLA: Dead Rising 2: Case Zero

Ready to take on a case of zero tolerance towards those pesky zombie folk again? Good news! Capcom have released a mini-portion of playable prologue in the form of DR2: Case Zero for those zombie slayers chomping-at-the-bit for some unpropitious and humours zombie moments and encounters before the real deal arrives.

DR2: Case Zero is set two years before the affairs of Dead Rising 2 and offers a full-featured prologue along with some small and neat rewards. The cut-scene that begins to unravel the story involves a new zombie slaughtering protagonist Chuck Green and his daughter Katey getting themselves into a typical zombie apocalyptic situation right in the middle of Still Creek. Chuck’s truck gets stolen (along with his supply of Zombrex) and as it does, Chuck and his daughter get jumped-on by some nasty-assed zombie. You’ll find a safe house and this is where your journey begins – time to scout for some Zombrex before Chuck’s daughter turns gooey and hungry for brains.

Zombrex is a drug that stops the infected from turning into zombies. It’s in high demand and hard to find, it also has its negative effects as it’s an experimental formula. This is where the last titles main in-game mechanics return and once more make you very time conscious to the point where you’ll sweat and panic as dooms-day approaches in the form of the military.

When you actually begin playing the games simple dainty tutorial will teach you about your current objectives, time constraints and HUD and refresh some of those past controls and features – then it’s onto the art of masterfully creating weapons of mass-mushing power.

Maintenance Rooms can now be used to create weapons that do extra damage and when you create one of these weapons you will receive a cool little Combo Card. Combo Cards give you the formula to build these weapons again and tell you how much extra PP you’ll receive when Chuck tops a zombie for good with one. Meaning you can level up faster if you keep building them, which you’ll have to anyway as they have a use limit and will break after a period of caving heads in. You can discover and create a nice selection of weapons all-over Still Creek and by looking at the icon hovering around the item you can tell what it’s, either health item, weapon or seemingly random object to make into really dangerous killing ‘thing’.

Even though Case Zero’s visuals could be scoffed at abit the environment change is refreshing and adds more colour into the world around you. This slightly better placement delivers some space to provoke flesh-eating havoc with the things you have acquired along the way. As you adventure through the chaos in the search for Zombrex your Case File will also be updated when necessary with your mission objectives and there’s a compass at the top of the screen to help you in-game. Navigating around the game seems easier than before, though it’s still a small intricate area to plot through it’s still enjoyable because of the clearer options and features.

Case Zero’s main experience accumulates and build well as you run around collecting items to survive and then escape and this all works well enough as a whole up until you hit a smaller more compact area of the game you need to proceed through – prepare for immediate dissatisfaction. It’s the only one really buggy problem in Case Zero and it gets worse when you least want it to, it’s the sluggish and sometimes reluctant 3rd person camera view that follows Chuck abit too closely. This can cause some great upset at times and might have you biting at your own flesh in frustration but thankfully this problem eases off and gives you more bloody fun to distract you from that previous irritation.

For 400 MSP it’s not badly priced but for gamers who are a little bit pickier with their points and what they get for them, I’d wait for the full title as Case Zero does play short altogether. For fans of the genre however it’s a good place to get ready for Dead Rising 2 and you’ll get some cool rewards to import over to the full title and a series of different endings anyway just by completing Case Zero. It also offers some improved zombie fuelled chaos compared to Dead Rising but does have its drawbacks due to the camera angle but it puts Dead Rising 2 in good stead to deliver a better experience all-round.

Score: 7/10

Publisher: Capcom.

Developer: Blue Castle Games Inc.

Genre: Action & Adventure.

If you’re looking for a free taste of what Capcom  are masterly creating themselves in the run up to the launch of Dead Rising 2 on the 24th of September in the UK, check out the ‘Mike & Jeff To The Rescue’ self-help videos. These video blessings-in-disguise are full of way to keep your ass safe during pending zombie attacks. Subscribe!