The original Dead Rising was probably my favorite zombie game ever (admittedly, Left 4 Dead is rapidly gaining on it…) and one of my favorite games, period. I put it back in the ol’ 360 again recently to try and relive the magic and realized that the game had some problems. I’d been able to overlook them on my first playthrough, so smitten was I by the awesome way it recreated the zombie apocalypse, but they stopped me from spending any serious time on the second go-round. If those problems were to be resolved, say in some sort of sequel, like the one I wrote about yesterday (no link, just hit the previous post button there at the top) … well, then we’d have something special.Â The developers have gone on record saying that the goal of getting 6,000 zombies onscreen at once is the number one priority. Sorry, but that is horse shit. A lack of zombies onscreen at once was not one of the first game’s flaws. Here’s what you do need to fix/tweak/add/focus on to make Dead Rising 2 the single best zombie game ever. I’m going to waive my regular consultancy fee, developers, just get this right.
- Better controls – I convinced myself the controls were fine, considering the game was really an RPG masquerading as an action game, but let’s face it; they are clunky as hell, like almost as bad as old-school Resident Evil clunky. Play a few third-person games like Grand Theft Auto IV and try to give us controls at least as smooth and intuitive. Oh, and allowing us to configure the control scheme would be great too.
- A sane save system – I get that the developers were trying to enforce a certain style of play with the jacked-up save system of the first game. I really get that. Hell, I even overlooked it and argued it was justified at one point (my enthusiasm was mighty). Fine, you tried to achieve something, but it failed. Really it just irritated players and made a second playthrough seem more like a chore than fun. At very least, try something new … better yet, just give it a save-anywhere system and throw in an achievement for playing through the “proper” way.
- Additional modes – When I got the real game after playing the hell out of the demo I was slightly disappointed. The focus shifted from wholesale zombie slaughter to more concrete, RPG-type goals. I got over it, but there’s something to be said for the simple pleasure of running around and chopping off heads. Why doesn’t a game that makes that so much fun reward you for it? The addition of a simple arcade mode (kill as many zombies as possible in a given time frame) with leaderboards would have meant me popping the game in daily for the past year or more to try for a higher score. And it can’t be hard to add something like that. If you can figure out some sort of strategic mode where I can gather supplies and test my zombie apocalypse plans, that would be great too. The existing survival modes are cool, but the focus on long-term survival and lack of save within them limits their playability. It’s rare I can sit in front of the TV for four or five hours at a stretch… Or hell, surprise me with a mode I haven’t even dreamed of yet.
- Jettison the punishingly difficult and conceptually questionable boss fights – The boss fights in the original were just ridiculous, especially the final confrontation with the nigh-indestructible brawler. I know, video games have boss battles, right? But do they have to? And if they do, do they have to be so difficult that completing them brings not a sense of accomplishment but simply sweet relief that the ordeal is over at last? Jettison the boss battles in favor of something innovative, or at the very least give us believable boss fights that don’t make us destroy controllers.
- Multiplayer – A co-op mode would have extended the life of this game almost infinitely. This is critical. This should be your top priority, not that 6,000 zombies shit.