Dead Rising 2: Case West Review (XBLA)

Posted by Jim Cook, Dec 28, 2010 03:52

Note: Case West takes place shortly after Dead Rising 2 and directly ties into its story (so this review has unavoidable spoilers), but is a separate game and does not require users to have Dead Rising 2 handy in order to play. Additionally, there is no ’save file carry-over’ in this game as there was between Case Zero and Dead Rising 2; players instead start at an appropriate power level for the challenges provided.

When Case Zero was released, it served well as the ’shareware episode’ of Dead Rising 2; essentially an inexpensive demo with original content the full game wouldn’t have. Case West doesn’t have that advantage and costs more, so for it to have any merit it must deliver a higher-quality experience. Thankfully, that’s what it does; your 800 Microsoft Points/$10 USD buys a second character to play as (albeit only in online co-op), a very detailed area to explore, and some new combo weapons that are very fun to kill zombies with. It is essentially ’more of the same’, but when done as well as Case West handles it that isn’t a bad thing.

In Case West, Chuck Greene has managed to escape Fortune City but still needs to clear his name. He encounters Frank West (the very same one from the original Dead Rising), who accompanies him to a Phenotrans research and development facility that may have the evidence he seeks. Together, they fight crime will kill zombies and immoral security forces while finding the materials they need, rescue survivors, and tend to the usual tasks the Dead Rising series is known for. In many ways, it’s fair to think of Case West as a DLC add-on to the main game; you’re going through the usual routine in a whole new location, one not large enough to be a separate retail product but still big enough to charge money for.

The real emphasis is on what new content you’re getting. The facility itself is about the size of Case Zero’s play area, though much more detailed. Where many of Case Zero’s rooms had only a few items in them, the Phenotrans facility offers many more nooks to explore, most of them with some worthwhile reward; a neat costume item, part of a new combo weapon, or something else worth your time. The new combo weapons are a big part of Case West as well, including a katana mounted on a scythe, a syrine gun that causes some interesting chemical reactions in zombies, and a floor buffer that blasts electricity as you run it along the floor that is perfect for slamming through huge crowds. While a majority of the weapons are from Dead Rising 2, Case West offers enough new ones to encourage some fun experimentation.

Another major selling point is Frank West himself, though strangely enough you can only use him as the client player in an online co-op session. In single-player mode, Frank is controlled by the AI and you must use Chuck instead... this is disappointing, since Frank has his own set of skills and special attacks that make him somewhat different from Chuck. Having a player control Frank online is also required to unlock access to a few combo weapons, though once this is done either character can use them. Frank is fun to play and he does help move the story along in interesting ways, but locking so much of his experience to online co-op play is a missed opportunity. Thankfully, the online co-op works as well here as it did in Dead Rising 2 so finding someone to play with shouldn’t be too hard.

At double the cost of Case Zero, this installment has to get by on superior quality. It does that, offering a detailed area to explore, fun new weapons, a well made boss fight, and a very functional Frank West to play as in online co-op. While Case West has its flaws, it is a good addition to Dead Rising 2’s story and offers the same sort of thrills the other installments do. With that in mind, you could do far worse than to spend your $10 USD/800 Microsoft Points on it, and Case West should entertain you for a few evenings much like Case Zero did.

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Our Rating for Dead Rising 2: Case West Review (XBLA)
7.0 Replay
You’re on a time limit and the facility is fairly large, so repeat play-throughs will be necessary to see everything.
8.5 Graphics
Running on the same engine as Case Zero and Dead Rising 2, it has similar visual quality.
7.5 Sound
Chuck’s and Frank’s voice actors provide plenty of amusing gab and weapons still sound satisfying, though the music also remains underwhelming.
8.5 Gameplay
Essentially a stand-alone extra location for Dead Rising 2, it plays much like the main game does and features lots of weapons to kill zombies with.
7.5 Multiplayer/Online Content
Online co-op works as well here as it did in the main game, though locking some content to this mode and requiring the client player to be Frank West (as opposed to a select screen to let players determine who is who) seems like wasted potential.
8.0 Overall
An interesting addition to Dead Rising 2’s story, and it offers enough new material to be worth your time.

Rating: 4.0, votes: 4

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