Title: Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
Platform: PS3, 360, PC
Developer: Blue Castle Games
Rating: [3 out of 5]
Review by: Matt Peters
Frank West is back. The reason that last sentence wasn’t punctuated with an exclamation point is because it’s been happening so frequently as of late. Between Dead Rising 2’s DLC and fighting games, we’ve seen plenty of the war-torn photographer. Off the Record marks the first time Frank’s been in a starring role since the first Dead Rising, and time has not been on his side.
Set in an world akin to Marvel’s “What if?” stories, Off the Record reimagines Dead Rising 2 if it had starred Frank West instead of Chuck Greene. After exposing the evil plot at Wilamette Mall, Frank’s celebrity got the better of him. This version of DR2 picks up as Frank starts down the road to redeem himself in the public’s eyes. Not surprisingly, this road contains copious amounts of zombies. The story unfolds almost exactly to how Chuck’s did, except the dialogue is tweaked slightly. The “slightly” part is disappointing as some characters recite the same dialogue as they did the first time around. The cheesy dialogue is still intact, and there are a few in-jokes worth listening out for.
Content wise, the game just skates past the mark that makes it a substantial remix and not just DLC. The inclusion of sandbox mode is a big reason for that. While running through the world of Dead Rising is usually an exercise in time management, sandbox mode allows Frank the opportunity to blow off some real steam by blowing up some undead either alone or with another player. It’s also a nice place to pick up some experience points to get past the more difficult parts of story mode.
Rounding out the new content, the Uranus Zone is now available along with a few added weapons and possible weapon combos. Franks photography skills are also present, but seem included more as a necessity than a new gameplay element. Lastly, Chuck Greene fans shouldn’t be too disappointed. Even though he’s reduced to Player 2, his cameo in story mode is worth checking out.
The graphics remain pretty much the same, which was to be expected as content is king here. Hordes of the undead still take up the screen, and lumber, meander or sprint towards Frank, depending on their limbs available. Unfortunately, the sheer amount of zombies on screen causes the game’s engine to chug a little at times.
Diehard fans of the series will find that Off the Record is a great reason to jump back into the horror which is Fortune City mall. The sandbox mode makes it more of a “pick up and play” title than any of the other instalments. Unfortunately, not enough has changed to get fence-straddlers to become full-fledged converts. If the idea of strapping two chainsaws to a canoe paddle while wearing a Servbot mask sounds like a good idea, then this is definitely the game for you.
For more info, capcom.com
Pads & Panels received a copy of the game courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.