(Capcom for PS3)
By Mike Delano
Whereas many developers in the early days of the Xbox 360 and PS3 used the hardware simply to make prettier versions of old game concepts, 2006’s Dead Rising stood out by using the newfound power to actually enhance the game’s survival horror premise. No game design tricks or fill-in-the-gaps imagination from gamers was necessary to drive home the story of a photographer stranded in a mall overrun by zombies: The threat was real, with hordes of fully-animated, brain-dead masses overwhelming you with sheer numbers, even as you traveled the shortest of distances. The fantastically detailed (and sadistically difficult) game that lay beneath these visuals lives on in the sequel, with an even greater emphasis on the humor that makes the series stand out amongst so many other dour tales of the undead. Now you’re a survivor in a Las Vegas-style casino complex with the ability to combine the bric-a-brac you find lying around into ridiculous instruments of zombie destruction, from oddities like the “drill bucket” to a canoe paddle with chainsaws bound to the ends. As a sequel, it does very little to fix the “problems” that players had with the original, revealing that the creators don’t see the game’s idiosyncrasies as problems at all, and they’re probably right: Dead Rising 2‘s alternating cycle of punishment and reward is, like its predecessor, just too original and stylish to have to compromise.