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Dead Rising 2

Could this be the greatest and goriest sandbox ever?

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Everything you do yields PP, which rewards experimentation. It's a clever design decision that makes you want to search every corner of the huge world map.

Most of all though, Dead Rising 2 is just fun. It's not steeped in realism or trying to be a film like so many other titles; it knows first and foremost that it's a game, and revels in it with gleeful abandon. And it's funny too, with some truly farcical moments, like the girl who refuses to be led to safety unless Chuck strips down to his underwear, or the woman who ended up trapped in a tanning bed during the outbreak and who, red like a lobster, has to be carefully carried to the safehouse.

DEATH METAL
One set of survivors, a metal band, have no idea the outbreak has occurred; they're still merrily playing their set, assuming the hordes of zombies at the base of the stage are just 'really into the music'.

Zoom

When you reveal the truth, they end their set with a mighty power chord that makes all 300 or so zombies' heads explode in unison, then they join you, using their instruments as weapons.

You can even play strip poker with the ladies you've rescued back at the safehouse during quiet periods, although it's played for laughs rather than perviness. We're useless at poker, so in almost every game we joined Chuck ended up reduced down to his love heart-patterned boxer shorts. Oh, the shame.

But it's not all knockabout silliness; there's some pathos too. Chuck and Katey's relationship is genuinely heart-warming, and his endless quest to secure her Zombrex, no matter the cost, gives the character unexpected depth.

He's far from the dumb jock you might assume from the screenshots. Of course, the poignancy of these cut-scenes is hampered somewhat if you've got him wearing a cowboy hat, aviators, and a mankini.

MENTAL CASE
Not everyone who survived the initial outbreak wants to be saved, though. Several Fortune City residents have used the crisis as an opportunity to lose their minds completely. These are the psychopaths, or bosses, and while the PP reward is massive, they can be a nightmare to beat.

Among the fiends you'll meet are a demented chef making a stew from survivors, a gang of rednecks using people for sniper practice and a lunatic forcing girls to marry him, then killing them.

We're glad Dead Rising has found a home on PS3 after the Xbox exclusive original. It's one of the most raucous, entertaining games we've played, with a unique real-time structure and huge levels of environment interaction. We'll have the full review next issue, as well as impressions of the game's drop in, drop out co-op and competitive Terror Is Reality online modes.

Order PSM3 here and have it delivered to your door.

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