Developed by:Blue Castle Games Published by:Capcom Genre(s):
  • Survival Horror
  • Beat'em Up
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • Cost:$4.99 ESRB Rating:MATURE Players:1 Release date:August 31, 2010 Reviewed on:XBox 360

    Dead Rising 2: Case Zero

    I have been a zombie fan since George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (the black and white version). Being a gamer, it would make since that I would love playing games that included zombies (like the Resident Evil franchise, introduced it to the world back in ’96). It was like I got to play as a character from one of my favorite zombie films. This held true when I started playing Dead Rising on the Xbox 360. Produced by Keiji Inafune, who also worked on Resident Evil 2 go figure, Dead Rising was a game that emulated Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Although the story was different, there were clear similarities between the two media (it even took place inside a mall). The feeling of playing as a survivor of a zombie infested world was heightened by the fact that you could use just about anything (logical or not) to fight off the undead. Gamers took control of Frank West, a photojournalist who was trapped inside the mall, and tried their best to uncover the mystery behind the zombie outbreak. Throughout the story, Frank helps people, fights crazed lunatics, and becomes a guinea pig for a drug that is used to fight off zombification. Yes, he gets bitten and with the help of another character, is able to stave off the change temporally. At the end of the game, it is revealed that Frank was able to escape and report on the outbreak. This brings us to Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, a prequel that supposedly bridges the gap between the events of the first game and the 5 years leading up to Dead Rising 2’s present date.

    To be honest, I am both happy and disappointed with how Case Zero turned out. On the plus side, a lot of the issues that plagued the original game have been addressed. One issue had to do with the AI of the supporting characters. As Frank West, you were tasked with rescuing survivors in the mall by leading them to a safe room. Although it was completely optional, doing so would net you a large amount of experience points needed to make Frank stronger. It was a pain to lead them because of their suspect logic. Instead of running with me through the zombies, they would go off on their own to kill them. I understand that they were programmed to protect themselves but attacking zombies that are no threat to them at all caused a lot of needless death (for the survivors). In Case Zero, all of the survivors were smart enough to know when to attack a zombie and when to flee. I never had to back track to find them surrounded by a horde of zombies they provoked.

    Another plus is the introduction of multiple save files. No longer do you have to keep overwriting the same save file as you now have three in total. Now if someone else wanted to play starting from the beginning or if you feel like you could have done a past chapter better and didn’t want to save over it, you can use the additional files. You still have the opportunity to start the game over with boosted stats (all of your experience and unlockables would be saved but the story events would reset) you could, giving you a better chance at not being coming zombie food. I am also very fond of the new combo mechanic found in Case Zero. The series is known for allowing gamers to find items in the environment to use to defend themselves. Some of the items, like a rolled up newspaper, isn’t going to do much alone. In Case Zero and the upcoming Dead Rising 2, gamers can combine items at workbenches within the map and create new items. The rolled up newspaper by itself isn’t great, but by combining it with a bottle of whiskey you can create a molotov cocktail (a makeshift fire bomb). A box of nails and a bat turns into a spiked bat. The system allows for some creativity (try combining a car battery and a rake) and rewards players with more experience points when these new tools are used on the walking dead. Fun for everyone!

    On the negative side of things, there is no mention of Frank West in the story. You play as Chuck Greene, a former motocross champ who is trying to keep his daughter Katie from turning into a zombie (Chuck will also be the main character in Dead Rising 2). While searching for Zombrex, the temp cure that Katie must take every 12 hours, Chuck and Katie are stranded in a small town out side Fortune City (Las Vegas). The prequel sheds some light Chuck’s trek into the city but that’s about it. There are no references to the original game, except for the zombies and the Zombrex drug. It doesn’t bridge any gaps between the games. As it stands, it’s more or less a large demo/tutorial to help gamers learn the ropes before DR2 comes out. This is a let down because the whole reason I wanted to purchase the game was to hear about the events that led up to current state of the country. This was something that Capcom said would be included in Case Zero. All of Chuck’s back-story could have easily been a flashback on DR2 and not a separate game. There is also a lack of a co op mode. This makes Case Zero feel even more like a demo when DR2 is going to have a co op option for the entire campaign. Now gamers might argue that it’s a full game due to the fact that you can transfer all of your achievements, experience, and unloackables to DR2 when it comes out. I would argue that the Crackdown 2 demo was similar and it was free.

    All and all, Case Zero is pretty awesome in that it allows you to play a portion of DR2 before it comes out. However, it does have some faults that cause it to feel like a glorified demo as opposed to a full game. I love this series, so to me the 400 MS points ($4.99) was worth the purchase. If you aren’t a fan of the series, then skipping Case Zero won’t hinder your enjoyment of Dead Rising 2 when it releases in a few weeks.



    Case Zero is really fun to play, especially with all the different combinable weapons on display. It is a bit short and with the lack of options that are going to be present in DR2, it can feel like a big demo. And, if it is a demo then it should have been free.



    The fact that there can be over 1000 zombies on screen without the game slowing down is a visual feat. Throw in great looking characters (zombies included) and fully detailed environments and you have a winner in the graphics department.



    The sound of a sledge hammer crushing a zombies skull never gets old.

    What's New:


    The extra save points and better AI are great additions. However, when it comes to the genre as a whole, Case Zero’s combinable weapons are the only things that stand out!

    Replay Value:


    The replay value is ok in that you can continue to play to through the story again and again. The limit set for the experience and the small list of combinable weapons, clothing items, and achievements means that you can see them all rather quickly. An addition of co op play would have gone a long way to improve this score.

    Final Score:


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