Dead Rising 2: 10 Years Later
The Dead Rising series had a long history. You could ask five fans which game they loved the most and each would have a different opinion. Although the unfortunate Dead Rising 4 was not very good, Dead Rising 2; Off The Record is still hilarious and funny.
Today is the tenth anniversary of Dead Rising 2: Off The Record. It feels like the best zombie-killing series in the world. While Dead Rising 1 will be the best game, that’s understandable. However, there are so many quirks in that game that make it difficult to fall in love with as you get older. It’s still my favorite game, and it was a joy to go back to it again recently. (Remembering the secret PP rewards felt like the gaming equivalent for the guy who wins every pub quiz), but Dead Rising: OTR is just as good.
Dead Rising 2 is in many ways a better game than the original. Fortune City’s mixture of casinos and malls, a city that is characterized by excess and greed, seems like a better area to explore than Willamette Parkview Mall. The screen’s vibrant graphics add more colour than the bloody splashes when a zombie’s skull is inserted.
Dead Rising 2 also introduced some quality-of-life changes that make the core experience even more enjoyable than the original. It’s so much easier to know when the survivors you’re trying to rescue will be able travel with you through loading areas than in the original game. You could also combine weapons to create a unique, creative game. This allowed you to throw random items together in the hopes of creating a new, deadly masterpiece. However, you can limit that ability to workbenches within Fortune City so you don’t get too powerful and the zombies still have some bite. Dead Rising 2 is a great game for online co-op.
Dead Rising 2: Off The Record continues all that work, but has more fun. Off The Record is a non-canon retelling the events of DR2, replacing Chuck Greene as the protagonist with Dead Rising 1’s Frank West. This gives long-time fans an opportunity to get back in the shoes of everyone’s favorite photojournalist. Chuck is a great man, but Frank’s return adds an extra level of fun to the proceedings.
Off The Record was non-canon because it felt like Off The Record’s developers were letting loose. The plot is a semi serious remix of the original game’s tale, with modified characters, events and motivations. This was enough to catch DR2 veterans off guard back in the day. Off The Record was able to offer an alternative experience wrapped in a game that had won over players.
Frank’s return meant that his trusty camera was also returned, so players could take photos of some of the undead calamities. Off The Record utilizes photography to capture key plot points. Players can also earn more PP by taking silly photos or finding PP markers in Fortune City. This allows them to interact with the space in a different way.
Fortune City’s Off The Record version also includes a new area called Uranus Park. The massive rides allow the player to eliminate hordes upon hordes of Zombies in one go. Dead Rising champion platforming is one of the most exciting areas. You can find powerful weapons and juicy secrets in Uranus Park, but you could spend hours wandering around.
You’d still have plenty of time to explore the Sandbox mode. This allows you to spend as much time in Fortune City as you like, solving challenges, and finding shortcuts and secrets that will eventually level you up. It seems unfair to force Dead Rising into an open world without a time limit, but it is great that they have added this mode.
Although Dead Rising’s quality may have declined after Off The Record was released, it remains the series’ highest watermark. It celebrates the series’ history while encouraging gameplay discovery and not grand spectacle. Although it has been 10 years since its original release, it is still a great game that deserves your attention.