Deadlines: News roundup 4/28/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On April - 28 - 2009

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

Prepare to be thoroughly underwhelmed by Japan’s first foray into zombie movies when Synapse Films releases the pointless and dull Living Dead in Tokyo Bay (here’s my review) on DVD November 24, 2009. (Fangoria)

Speaking of Japan, the popular Resident Evil series gets a new Wii update with Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, a shooter-on-rails installment of the poplar zombieriffic franchise. The devs promise near-Xbox-360-quality graphics but from the looks of the trailer I’d say they hit something more in the realm of “best-ever original Xbox” quality. Which is still pretty good. See for yourself after the jump, where I’ve embedded the trailer. (Kotaku)

Details are beginning to emerge about Dead Rising 2 as Kotaku delivers a short feature with some words from the developers and first-hand accounts of seeing the game in action. There’s apparently a lot “more”: more zombies, more weapons, more physics, etc. And a brand-new engine to fuel it all. But Kotaku wisely and correctly asks whether the new developers are paying enough attention to the “heart” that made the first game so awesome. And there’s  a trailer (courtesy of Inside Gamer), which you will also find after the jump. (Kotaku)

For even more Dead Rising 2 details, we turn to Eurogamer who has an extensive preview up. Highlight of the said preview is the confirmation that the game will have online multiplayer functionality. No word on what kind of multiplayer, but co-op would be the obvious choice/hope. (Eurogamer)

It’s a few weeks old, but if you haven’t seen it, you can also find an exceptionally intriguing Pontypool trailer after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Five steps to a better Dead Rising 2

Posted by Cory Casciato On April - 23 - 2009

deadrising2The 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.  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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Deadlines: News roundup 4/22/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On April - 22 - 2009

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

The folks at IGN have an update on Dead Rising 2. The condensed version is new lead character, same basic plot (survive 72 hours of zombie hell) with more zombies and more ways to kill zombies.

The week of April 27 to May 4 is apparently the time to experience zombies and the infected on Xbox Live. Download a gamerpic, play one of the featured games (including two of my absolute all-time zombie favorites Dead Rising and Left 4 Dead) or watch one of the featured movies (some great choices such as Shaun of the Dead and Dead Alive, some not-so-great such as Dead and Deader and The Quick and the Undead) and you could win prizes. You can get an early start by playing Left 4 Dead with the Xbox ambassadors on April 24. Like I need any encouragement to play zombie games and watch zombie movies…

The musical Song of the Dead is getting a limited theatrical release May 1. Fangoria has the details about what lucky locations across the American South and Midwest get to see it on the big screen.

Flashback: Dead Rising

Posted by Cory Casciato On February - 13 - 2009

dead_risingJust a couple of days ago I wrote about my excitement for the upcoming Dead Rising 2 and my love for the Xbox 360 original. As it turns out, I reviewed Dead Rising for my college paper and I thought I’d share that review with you all, since I am typically lazy on Fridays. Plus, I think I am going to play through some of it again this weekend and next week, which will probably mean some new thoughts I’ll want to share on it. In turn, that means it might be useful for you all to have the original review to provide context. These days you can get the game for $20 or less, so if you have an box 360, love zombies and somehow missed it, click through and read my review, then rush out and buy the thing. You will thank me.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dead Rising 2 announced, excitement ensues

Posted by Cory Casciato On February - 11 - 2009

It never fails. On any given day where I don’t have time to do my usual surfing, some kind of big news breaks. Yesterday, apparently Dead Rising 2 was announced and the sweet, sweet trailer above was released. I am immensely excited about this. The original Dead Rising is one of my favorite games ever and one of the all-time classic zombie video games. And unlike movies, sequels are frequently better than the original titles in the world of video games. If that’s the case, this will be my game of the year in whatever year it comes out. I will officially start salivating now…

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