I love zombies and I especially enjoy beating them to bloody pulps. In the past few years, we’ve seen countless games involving the shambling undead and they’ve even appeared in video games that we’d never expect, (Crackdown 2 and Call of Duty), and in 2006 we were given Dead Rising. A sort of sandbox and horror survival game set in a shopping centre in the middle of no where. As well as the hundreds of zombies on screen, there were survivors to save and psychopaths to defeat. On top of all this there was an elaborate and confusing save system, (you’d die, and have a choice of whether to restart the whole game with your current character settings or load from the last save – which could be at the start of the game.) It also introduced Frank West, an average news reporter who had covered wars. (Did you know that?) It was a cult hit and four years later, the sequel is on it’s way along with two pieces of content to tie over gamers – Case Zero and Case West.
So, while we wait to get into Fortune City, (read: Las Vegas), let us get down and bloody with Case Zero.
The game revolves around Chuck Greene and his infected daughter Katey. Chuck’s the model American, always looking out for his family and a handyman. Having escaped the clutches of the zombie outbreak at home, he tries to find cover in a small town outside Las Vegas and discovers that the infection seems to be spreading a little bit more further.
First off, the old levelling up system is back and limited to level 5, and the confusing and game ruining save function is out of the window. The game play remains largely the same as Dead Rising, in that you have to collect weapons or bits and bobs around and bash in the brains of the horde. Though this time around, instead of the photo taking to gain PP to level up, you can create customizable weapons, (a drill helmet, spiked back, electric rake, etc.) These become the must have weapons, as anything else is rendered useless. In addition to filling up the limited inventory, are pieces of food and drink or guns. Guns in the last game were a little bit… of shame? They weren’t as effective due to the controls, but this time around grabbing a shotgun will put you and Chuck into a third person shooter perspective. I only found one moment where the guns were of any use – during a boss battle – and even then, I’d prefer to have something a bit more effective.
Along with the objective of surviving, you must collect pieces of a motor bike, and escape. The whole experience becomes a time based collection mission, and the loading times don’t make this enjoyable. To reach the area to drop off the piece and return to another place to retrieve another piece of bike can take about 3 minutes extra of your time, and it becomes boring looking at the unappealing screens in between these sections. As a side mission, you can save survivors and go on little errands for them too. I never did save them all, and found their AI quite improved from last time, but this isn’t saying much as they still get stuck or do nothing while legging it to the safe room. You only have to deal with them once, so it’s not much of a pain.
New to the series is Chuck’s daughter Katey, who is infected with the virus and to prevent the infection you must supply her with the Zombrex every twelve hours. Luckily in this little taste of the game, you only have to experience this once and it was relatively harmful to the game.
The controls are tight enough, and moving around through zombies is easy enough. Swinging a weapon lightly or heavily is dealt through holding down a button, jumping is mapped to the A button and inventory switching is done with the bumpers. The Y button at first has no use, but it basically tells where to set the survivors and talk.
The graphics seem alright, and there was rarely any slow down with the huge masses of brain guzzling zombies. The only issues I had were slight pop in of objects and the drenching of blood that Chuck would experience. It looked sloppily done and would just vanish without warning. The surrounding world is pretty nice to look at, and gives the sensation of a deserted town quite well, and I look forward to Blue Castle’s Fortune City.
Coming to an end, it’s brilliant to see that Capcom still have the ability to produce cracking zombie tales all in different ways. I’d recommend this game only if you are actually getting Dead Rising 2. All experience and moves you gain here, moves on over to the actual sequel – which is pretty sweet. Although the graphics are excellent at times, pop in and other graphical issues surrounding font sizes and blood splatter plague this game unfairly. But if you’re looking for something to play one afternoon on the cheap, give this a download – it’s a fun little game that greatly sets up Dead Rising 2 perfectly.