Oct 26, 2011

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Dead Rising 2: Off the Record Review

Dead Rising 2: Off the Record Review

It’s easy for us gamers to get quickly attached to a franchise’s characters. Uncharted for instance could easily do a side game without Drake and star Victor (my personal dream). However, many would expect Drake in every Uncharted title, which is exactly what happened with Dead Rising 2. After seeing the man who’s covered wars in at least four other Capcom games, fans were expecting another go with Frank West. This obviously did not happen, but due to demand, Capcom redid Dead Rising 2 with Frank West as the leading character. This begs the question:  is this enough to justify another game?

What’s New?

The story has changed in some minor ways. Unlike the original, you’re not framed for causing the outbreak, but you still have to break the story. Many of the events from Dead Rising 2 reappear in Off the Record, though not exactly in the same way. Many of the survivors appear at the same time and work the exact same way.  Having played Dead Rising 2, this can be annoying , but thankfully, Capcom was nice enough to change the ending. Interestingly, the new ending was far better than the original.

A few new weapons were added, but none of them were keepers. Just like the first game, I stuck to beam sword/knifed boxing gloves. There were, however, a few new fights.

Replacing the TIR racer is a completely insane Chuck Greene. It would appear he went insane after the events of Case Zero, though the fight is basically unchanged. Another new psychopath is Evan the clown (the brother of Adam the clown from the original Dead Rising). His fight is quite interesting and invokes many laughs. Finally, the end boss is different; however, I won’t spoil anything past the fact that it’s a robot.

One of the many things that makes Frank, well Frank, is his general jackass personality. While many of the original cutscenes were okay, the new ones featuring Frank West are generally funny. I actually laughed during one of the last ones, due to how he didn’t take the situation seriously.

What’s New that Doesn’t Work?

For whatever reason, Capcom removed the TIR online multiplayer mode, instead including a sandbox mode. Sandbox mode is a general exploration version of the game. Contrary to the story,  survivors/psychopaths will attack you at random and will constantly respawn. In lieu of missions, you have 30 single player and co-operative challenges. These were fairly reminiscent of Lost Planet 2 and without a doubt, unwanted. Many of the challenges were virtually impossible without the right weapon. A prime example would be the PP challenges. The first one required 30,000 PP (?) in 60 seconds. Most weapons do 100 – 500 PP a kill, though even with all three magazines (+30%), you would still need nearly a kill every second. The best PP weapon in the game could get 2,500 PP a kill. Even using that you might not hit 30,000 PP in the time limit.

Dead Rising 2 still looks very poor for this generation. You can write this off, but Capcom added many more zombies, which caused frame-rate drops and was an abundant problem in Uranus Zone. That’s not to say the additional zombies were all bad. For instance, they added “hidden” zombies. So if you were going to save in the bathroom, sometimes a zombie will pop out of the stall and continue to attack you. Additions like that just added to the problems the original had.

Perhaps the most marketed addition to this game, Uranus Zone is basically a waste of space. Many brainless zombies are by the attractions, and there’s not much to do. As previously mentioned, this place also lags a lot. It’s frankly a waste of time and space. If you like stupid jokes like “where do molemen live? Uranus!,” you might enjoy it more. Past the jokes and neon lights, it’s nothing important.

Game Length?

This game is exactly the same as Dead Rising 2. This means that a normal cycle would take exactly the same amount of time. Doing all the challenges might add another six hours, but the rest comes down to you.

Buy, Rent, Wait for a Sale, or Pass?

If you played Dead Rising 2 and loved it, you should definitely rent this title. It is better than the original, and I think the removal of Katie helps the game a lot.

If you didn’t play Dead Rising 2, but want to try it, than I would strongly suggest waiting for a sale. Online was basically dead, and I don’t see that ever changing. Many of the additions made it a better game, but this isn’t Dead Rising 3. Even at $40, it’s worth waiting for a sale or buying used.


Dead Rising: Off the Record is more of the same and not really meant for those who played Dead Rising 2. If you played Dead Rising 2, I don’t think enough has changed to justify buying it, but if you didn’t, it’s a great game and worth playing.

Editor’s note: The final review score is based off playing the original. If you didn’t play Dead Rising 2, this game scores around an 8.

Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
Platform: PS3 (reviewed), 360, PC
Genre: Action Adventure
Release Date: 10/11/2011
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
MSRP: $39.99