Dead Rising 2: Off the Record Xbox 360
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Released on 14-Oct-2011
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record has Frank West, the hero of the original Dead Rising. Frank battle through more twisted enemies, create more outrageous combo weapons and follow his own mission structure to explore brand new areas of Fortune City to hit the big time and get his biggest scoop yet.
- New story and missions unique to Frank West
- New environments including Fortune City’s latest attraction, “Uranus Zone”
- New enemies and more psychotic Psychos
- New items and vehicles
- Say “Cheese!” – Don’t miss those classic Dead Rising moments, earn Prestige Points and complete new missions using Franks best friend, his camera.
- Upgraded Experience – Full of technical improvements and enhancements to make a more satisfying Dead Rising experience.
Zombification for the nation
Capcom returns once more to adult playground Fortune City, in a hat if?alternate-universe story that re-imagines Dead Rising 2 with original zombie slayer Frank West in charge. But is this budget-priced repeat different enough from the original to be worth a second visit?
The adventure begins with a down-on-his-luck Frank forced to compete in zombie-slaughtering gameshow Terror Is Reality as a last desperate attempt to get his flagging career back on track. Emerging from his dressing room with dignity barely intact, he blunders into his second undead invasion after the Willamette Incident of the first game. Thus begins another 72 hours of bloody mayhem, much of which will feel familiar to series veterans.
That not necessarily a bad thing when the chaos is such splendidly gory fun, especially as the game offers a brand new area to explore a large theme park with an intergalactic bent called the Uranus Zone. Here youl find rides and stalls galore, and a number of items Frank can use to construct several powerful new combo weapons.
It not the only change. There are new psychopaths to battle, while Frank camera is an important factor in earning the Prestige Points (PP) youl need to level up. Youe graded according to a variety of categories slay a group of zombies before photographing their remains and youl get a good Brutality rating, while snapping a shuffler in front of a fruit machine nets you a solid Outtake bonus.
A more controversial tweak comes in the form of checkpoints, which are triggered every time you enter a new area. While it makes dying in a boss fight less of a setback particularly if youe forgotten to visit the nearest restroom to save as a result it loses some of the tension of the previous games.
That not to say it not still a tough nut to crack, because it easy to be overwhelmed by a swarm of flesh-chewers - not least because there are more of them per square yard. Thankfully, once youe levelled up, Frank bone-crunching melee attacks are enough to get you out of many a tight spot.
The new Sandbox Mode, meanwhile, takes the time pressures away, with a focus on medal challenges to increase your bank balance and PP tally. There are 30 such missions, gradually unlocked as your kill count mounts, with some setting simple tasks - like asking you to kill as many zombies as you can - and others with slightly sillier requirements. Just how many Servbot masks can you can shove on undead heads within half a minute?
Lock and load
Otherwise, it pretty much as you were, with a few technical upgrades. These include a fairly drastic reduction in loading times which makes moving between different areas much less hassle as does the text which clearly informs you when a survivor youe shepherding to safety is lagging behind.
Despite the improvements, it a pity the story doesn diverge from the original plot a little more, while Frank selfish reasons for making the most of the mayhem make him a less sympathetic hero than Chuck. And though it good to see Capcom increase the number of zombies, when things get busy, the engine does start to chug a little.
Still, this is clearly the most accessible Dead Rising game to date, and probably the ideal entry point for newcomers who may have been put off by the franchise unforgiving difficulty. And with the more relaxed pace of the Sandbox mode offering a welcome break from the hectic action of the story, youe getting plenty of gruesome bang - and crunch, and splat for your buck.
+ Terrific combo weapons
+ Uranus Zone is a worthy addition
+ Gratifyingly gory
- Not enough new content
- Minor technical flaws
- Awkward boss fights
If you enjoyed Dead Rising 2, then youl enjoy Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, an alternate reality take on the older game with a splattering of new content and improvements. The main difference is the re-introduction of photographer Frank West, star of the original Dead Rising, as the protagonist in the place of Motocross champion Chuck Greene.
The story may take place in an alternate universe, but it plays out very similarly. Based around time-based zombie slaying challenges, the game sees you thrown into a fight for survival when an outbreak hits America's entertainment capital, Fortune City, where tens of thousands of the living dead shuffle through casinos, bars and shops on the hunt for human flesh.
You can pick up almost anything in the environment to use in combat, from traditional weapons like guns and swords to spray paint, fireworks and stuffed animals, while an item crafting system allows you to combine objects to create more outlandish tools of destruction such as a machine gun-equipped wheelchair, a sentry gun made from a robotic bear, and a helmet that lets you shoot lasers from your eyes.
The vast majority of content will feel familiar to those who played Dead Rising 2, but there are some reworked cinematic cut-scenes and new bosses, and on the occasions when the game does deviate from the script it sets up some clever twists that should please series fans.
Photographer Frank sees the zombie outbreak as a chance to restore his dwindling fame, leading to the reintroduction of the original Dead Rising camera gameplay. You can whip out your camera and take snaps at any point to earn experience points, which grant you a larger inventory and health bar, plus new combo cards which unlock special moves and provide handy item combination suggestions.
Everything you can photo has a category rating, such as horror, drama and erotica. The trick to scoring loads of points is to get as many of these as possible in the frame simultaneously. For example, snapping a terrified survivor (drama), who happens to be a sexy lady (erotica) being chased by a group of zombies (horror). It a really fun system and a welcome return.
The main game retains the seriessomewhat divisive time management system, which sees events and side quests occur at set time periods and disappear for good if you fail to reach them in time, while failure to trigger certain story points before the clock runs out leads to a game over screen, limiting your free-roaming ability.
However, a new free-play mode lets you mess around in Fortune City without restrictive countdowns, and you can fluidly transfer money and experience points between it and the main campaign, enabling you to level up in one and reap the rewards in the other. The game also supports drop-in, drop-out co-operative play, allowing you and a friend to enjoy the carnage together at any time.
In addition, Off the Record introduces a new checkpoint system that softens the blow of failure. Whenever you enter a new area the game creates a checkpoint you revert to upon dying, meaning you don have to go back to an old save, which turns out to be more of a relief than the tension buster we initially feared, especially when dealing with tough boss battles.
Definitive Dead Rising
Another welcome improvement is the reduction of Dead Rising 2 lengthy loading times, which have been roughly halved, making everything feel slicker and less disruptive than before, while the new game can handle more zombies on-screen too.
If you played Dead Rising 2 and were a big fan, Off the Record is definitely worth a blast, while if youe new to the series, this is the place to start. Featuring technical tweaks that make things less stressful and more free-flowing, Frank West version of Fortune City zombie outbreak is a great remix of an already standout game, and unarguably the definitive Dead Rising experience.
+ Loads of cool ways to kill zombies.
+ Welcome technical improvements.
+ Camera gameplay is back.
- No real visual upgrade.
- Loading times could still be reduced further.
- Might feel too familiar for some.