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Dead Rising 2 is all gummed up with zombies. Dispatching the undead is a hilariously macabre experience that should be enjoyed without the distractions of other players - not to mention away from enquiring family minds.
Dead Rising 2's Nevada gambling town setting is a sprawling complex packed to the gills with shuffling zombies, much like the huge shopping mall location of the first. With the addition of a co-op mode and an online series of competitive four player mini-games, Dead Rising 2 towers over its older sibling.
You've got to be into the idea of wholesale zombie offing if you're ever going to like this game. Leaving aside the cut-scenes that move the plot along for you, you'll be knee deep in undead body parts within seconds of the game kicking off. Actually, it's more like wheel rims deep, because the first thing you'll do in Dead Rising 2 is thrash a dirt bike round a banked arena with chainsaws leering out of the forks, in an attempt to kill more zombies than your three competitors.
I'll just let that settle in for a moment, chainsaw motorbikes, zombies. Either you're already in love with this game or you'll never get it.
I fell hook, line and sinker for Dead Rising 2 the moment I played it. After haring through one load of zombies dumped like bowling pins on the arena floor, another batch arrived with giant pink lollipops sticking out the tops of them - bonus zombies. It sounds gory I know, and it is awash with blood, but there is actually a lot of slapstick physical comedy running through the heart of Dead Rising 2.
This really comes out in the multiplayer. Online, you compete against three others in the televised sports show, Terror Is Reality. On the one hand, you have all the glitz and glamour of wrestling, while on the other you have games like Pounds Of Flesh where players charge zombies onto a pair of scales with a huge pair of antlers.
I'll just let that settle in for a moment, chainsaw motorbikes, zombies.
This humour spans the eight multiplayer minigames, dished out in bite size four game chunks. Though the multiplayer wears thin quite quickly, aside from the ever present final Slicycles match, the co-op has more legs.
As the story has it, you're a motor cross champ, holed up in Fortune City with your daughter, who is in need of a steady supply of Zombrex, an anti-zombie drug. Then one night someone lets the zombies in and all hell breaks loose. You, and a handful of others, escape to the zombie shelter where you learn that you've been set up and the world thinks you let the undead in. So now you have three days to uncover the truth by stepping out into the city and piecing together the clues, saving survivors as you go.
Playing solo you can be joined at any time by another player, though you do have to accept them when prompted. Playing co-op you're perfectly able to wade into the zombie hordes regardless of your co-players actions. You can help them to perform any task if you wish, and in twos it is far easier to face the psycho bosses that proliferate the main game.
What's so silly is that the zombies aren't even that important to the plot, they just kind of get in the way.
Fortune City has a wealth of weapons to help you on your way too. Sledge hammers, fire axes, baseball bats, power drills, sword fish, electric guitars, broad swords, lead pipes, spears, hand guns, machine guns, bowie knives, shot guns, sniper rifles, these are just some of the things you can do serious damage with. Not to mention litter bins, park benches, handbags, footballs, scissors, skateboards, poker chips, water squirters, protest signs and masses of other pointless, useless items you will end up hitting them with, sometimes desperately.
Although co-op makes things easier and it's nice to have some company to share the gore and laughs with, it is no replacement for losing yourself in Fortune City alone.
It is not often I prefer a solo game. But Dead Rising 2 is one to play alone and then talk about with everyone. I have been laughing at this game every day since I first started playing. Every time I find a new ludicrous way of killing zombies I'm laughing like a kid.
What's so silly is that the zombies aren't even that important to the plot, they just kind of get in the way - almost as much as the hunt for alternative ways to kill them. I was often so distracted in fact that I would forget to complete the mission before the time ran out.
It seems absurd to be writing a multiplayer column advising people to choose the game solo. But it's the ability to get distracted and revel in the tangents that playing alone brings that let Dead Rising 2 really sing.
A complete stranger had dressed his character up in a romper suit.
I played co-op with a complete stranger who had dressed his character up in a romper suit while I was wearing a pair of kiss covered boxer shorts and an old lady's hat. Witnessing two ludicrous characters laying into zombies with exploding severed hands and flaming boxing gloves is a video gaming moment I'll cherish for years.
Terror Is Reality is fun for a short time, very short, and co-op is definitely worth playing with a friend for all sorts of reasons, but for once the solo game is the better of the three.
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