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Xbox 360 Game Review

Dead Rising 2: Off the Record


Format: Xbox 360
RRP: £29.99
5 055060 962831
Age Restrictions: 18+
Available 14 October 2011

Photojournalist and original hero of Dead Rising's Willamette incident, Frank West takes centre stage in this reimagining of the Fortune City outbreak. Forget what you know about Dead Rising 2, Frank West is back in the game. The new, "Off the Record" storyline means an all new Dead Rising 2 experience. Frank faces off against more twisted enemies, can build more outrageous combo weapons, follows his own unique mission structure and explores brand new areas of Fortune City to get his biggest scoop yet...

Whether you enjoy Dead Rising 2: Off the Record or not will depend very much on how much you enjoyed Dead Rising 2. I have to be honest here and say that if you bought Dead Rising 2 then there's almost no point in picking this new game up. It's practically the same game, but instead of playing as Chuck Greene you get to play Frank West once again. If you played Dead Rising, then you'll already be familiar with the character.

The story is pretty much the same as Dead Rising 2 (even down to some of the challenges and cut sequences) but there is a new area to explore which is set in a fun fair with a futuristic theme.

As West, not only can you roam around the environment killing zombies, but as a photojournalist you can also snap pictures of what you're confronted with. For these you earn Prestige Points (PP) for specific photo opportunities that are graded against criteria such as horror, drama, erotica and brutality.

The missions in the game are thrown at you quicker than you can accomplish them and so it's up to you which, if any, you decide to tackle. They all have different times in which you are allowed to complete them, however some are more critical than others. So you're better off sticking with the main missions so that you can piece together the mystery of the main storyline. Should you mess one of these up then that's the end of the game as far as following the leads and working out what on earth is going on. Of course, should this happen you can either go back to an earlier save point, or continue exploring the various locations for the hell of it.

It's best to try and stick with the main storyline though, as if you really want to explore the game you can start a "Sandbox" mode game. This allows you to free roam the different areas as well as competing in various challenges. The more zombies you kill, the more challenges you unlock. The fact that anything your character achieves in the Sandbox mode can be carried on over to the main game means that it's a good tactic to beat some of those harder bosses in the main game.

Dotted around the levels are survivors and psychos that you have to take care of. There are also gangs of shop looters who will attack you on sight. The survivors you can give weapons to and then lead them back to the safe house - but be careful if you accidentally hit them too many times they will defect and attack you; the psychos can be a nightmare to defeat and it's more luck than skill; and the looters are fairly easy to deal with, but if they knock you down then they can steal one of your weapons.

And talking of weapons, once again you can combine ordinary looking items to create deadly killing implements. These range from the practical (boxing gloves with knives stick out of them or garden rakes wired up to car batteries to shock anything that comes close) to the outlandish (a power guitar that sends shock waves across the floor or a wheelchair that electrocutes anything that touches it).

As fun as it is trying on different clothes, uncovering cool ways to dispatch zombies, finding amusing vehicles to ride around the levels in... it doesn't take long for the game to start becoming a little boring. There's only so many times you can laugh at Frank as you dress him in women's clothing; have zombies falling over when you've thrown marbles all over the floor; or lured a group of the undead into the path of a theme park ride.

If you already own Dead Rising 2 there's really no point in picking this up as it's just more of the same. However, if you didn't buy the earlier game then it's worth parting with your cash - especially as most online retailers are selling it for under £20 on its date of release.


Darren Rea

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