The age of the remaster continues, and we’re continuing our look at the remasters of the first three Dead Rising games by checking out the new and improved Dead Rising 2 Remastered. I already went over the great remaster of the original game, and now this one took the fantastic zombie-bashing gameplay of the original and updates it by adding more missions, more zombies and more weapons. All this updating resulted in a superior experience all around that still stands up today.
This entry follows Chuck Greene, a motocross superstar whose wife became zombie chow after the initial outbreak occurred. Chuck’s daughter, Katey, fared only slightly better; she’s infected and requires regular doses of Zombrex each day to keep from turning. This is the framing device for the entire game, since without Zombrex…well, let’s just say you should probably make sure Katey gets her medicine. Chuck and Katey are stranded in Fortune City, which is essentially Las Vegas, and it’s our motocross hero’s job to find Zombrex and determine what’s caused the latest outbreak.
Along with this, there’s also a series of plot missions to follow along with and numerous sidequests as well. All of this is tied to the ingame clock, so you’ll need to budget your time and prioritize what you want to do in order to get everything done. You don’t necessarily have to follow along with the plot, as the game doesn’t immediately end if you skip a mission, but the game’s ending relies on you sticking to the program.
As for gameplay, it’s largely similar to the original Dead Rising. As before, you’re in the middle of a zombie outbreak, but the undead are generally slow and stupid enough that you can get past them without too many issues. The real danger comes from being slowed down so you’re late for missions and from being gradually worn down by incidental bites and slaps. Even then, after Chuck gains a few levels and some health, he’s unlikely to die from zombie attacks…instead, it’s the psychopathic survivors serving as boss battles that’ll do him in.
Thankfully, Chuck’s much more well-armed than Frank…at least until Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, which we’ll talk about in the future. This is because you’re able to combine items found around Fortune City to make powerful and hilarious combo weapons. Discovering and using these are central to Dead Rising 2’s gameplay, since they put basic weapons to shame; why bludgeon zombies with a flashlight when you can stick some gems in there and make a lightsaber instead? Items that originally seemed worthless take on new life when you can tape them together to make weapons of mass destruction. This idea does a lot for making Dead Rising 2 a much more entertaining experience than the original, and it was eventually expanded upon with Dead Rising 3’s combined combo weapons and combined vehicles.
There are a few other changes as well, though they’re not as significant as the combo weapon system. You’re basically in Vegas so you can load up on money and buy stuff now, for instance, giving you something to search for other than the newest and fanciest anti-zombie armaments. You’ll also find that survivor escort missions are drastically less aggravating than in the original game; survivors are much better about defending themselves now and can become quite the deadly force if you give them weapons to use.
As with the original game, the remaster aspect of this one stems largely from the improved framerate. 1080P with 60 FPS is life. Everything looks better and the game plays more smoothly, though there’s the odd framerate dip during extremely intense or crowded scenes. If you’ve already played this one on PC then you’re used to this and can probably skip the remaster. One downside is that the game’s demo, Case Zero, wasn’t included with this remaster; given that Case Zero takes place in an entirely new setting with survivors and psychopaths that aren’t encountered in the main game, that’s a bit disappointing.
Still, that’s really the only disappointment offered by updated Dead Rising 2: Remastered. This is a classic zombie adventure that looks and sounds better; what more does it really need? Check it out, especially if you’re new to the Dead Rising series. I recommend playing through the original Dead Rising: Remastered first if you haven’t yet just so you can appreciate just how much an improvement the sequel turned out to be.