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Dead Rising II: Case Zero (Xbox 360) artwork

Dead Rising II: Case Zero (Xbox 360) review

"It's like the equivalent to purchasing a Dead Rising 1 demo where Frank West and the helicopter pilot have to land for fuel and punch a guy in the face."

Acting as a prequel to Dead Rising 2, Case Zero takes place three years prior, where the protagonist, Chuck "Motocross Racing Expert" Greene, and his daughter has just escaped Las Vegas as a zombie outbreak spreads across the city. With his only means of transportation stolen, Chuck is stuck in a small town only a few miles away, and he must scramble to find parts for a motorcycle and Zombrex, a drug for his infected daughter, before the military arrives in 14 hours in-game time. He's going to have to give it everything he's got, because zombies have already flooded the town and there's still a scant few survivors that need saving, as well. In typical Dead Rising fashion, you'll need your wits and surroundings to stay afloat in this demo, weaving around hordes gracefully and picking up everyday objects like cash registers, rakes, and trash cans to bash and slash with.

Now, instead of going ahead with what most companies do by putting out a free demo preceding a game's launch, Capcom rewired its head and did this with a slightly different approach. A month before the release of Dead Rising 2, Capcom came out with an exclusive demo on Xbox Live's Arcade marketplace... and expected people to download it for 400 MS points. Pay for a demo? Who would do that?! Capcom was banking *coughs* that a lot of gamers would, for several reasons. The most obvious one was how players were eager to experience a new Dead Rising game, to actually feel how it plays. Keep in mind, the last Dead Rising title came out four years ago at this point. And if that wasn't enough, Capcom further enticed gamers by allowing the stats gained here (five levels is the cap) to be carried over to the full game, giving a nice head start. The gambit worked, because Case Zero was the fastest selling Live Arcade game at that time.

Capcom, you dastardly bastard.

But for 400 MS points, there has to be a decent chunk of content, right? Not really. The game has three main objectives to do: find five bike parts scattered around, save 10 survivors, and find Zombrex. And since the 14 hours translate into about one hour in real time, Case Zero is over quick. Though, Capcom tried everything in its power to ensure you'll play multiple times, since it's nigh impossible to accomplish everything on your first or second go.

Obtaining four of the five bike parts, for example, is incredibly easy on the first play, but the final part is hidden in the most absurd place: one of the survivors. And you won't know this until the person comes with you! Being alerted to survivor locations isn't that simple in Case Zero, too, since the game lacks a transceiver for incoming calls. Instead, you'll have to rely on a gun-toting cowboy on a roof, who'll wave if you're in his sights. Then, you have to climb the roof and see what he has to say. Of course, if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time, you're guaranteed to miss vital info. And they cut it pretty damn close with the final two survivors, activating when you need to administer Zombrex AND fight a boss. Yeesh. I know multiple playthroughs is a staple of the series, but that works in the full games due to bigger environments and more stuff to do. Here, it just feels more trouble than it's worth with the extreme limitations.

I'll give the development team credit for taking the time to create a new location for Case Zero, refusing to borrow a section from Dead Rising 2. I did enjoy exploring the small town the first time around, walking its desert setting, entering the bowling alley, being attacked by a zombie barber with scissors, and rummaging the saloon-style bar. Finding slot machines in the oddest locations, like the diner and the toy store, was also pretty humorous, especially since the town has a casino. In the end, however, it still plays and acts like a demonstration, showcasing the new mechanics and such, like the improved survivor AI and allowing some combo weapons to be made. If you've enjoyed Dead Rising 2 or just interested in getting into the series, this isn't worth the purchase. It's like the equivalent to purchasing a Dead Rising 1 demo where Frank West and the helicopter pilot have to land for fuel and punch a guy in the face. It's just not that important.


pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (July 10, 2012)

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