Previews

Dead Rising 2: Off the Record - New and improved or a cash grab?

Lots of Zombies and déjà vu...

Don't let the naysayers convince you that this is anything other than A Good Thing. The favourite falsity currently doing the rounds is that Off the Record is simply Dead Rising 2 with a new skin for the leading man and a couple of new missions chucked in on top of the old ones - merely a 'Game of The Year' repackage job, at best.

The reality is much more impressive than that. Yes, this new Dead Rising uses the same backdrop as the old game: but that's just fine. Fortune City was a fun location packed with more content than anyone could realistically find in one playthrough, and this time around extra areas have been bolted on the sides to expand the play area even further.

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But what really matters is that the content inside Fortune City has been gutted and replaced by a sequel's worth of questing. As familiar as Off The Record's shell may be, the minute-to-minute goings-on will be entirely unrecognisable to even the most dedicated Dead Rising 2 fan.

A brand new, fully fleshed-out Frank West-centric story is complemented by all-new side-quests. Now a washed up celebrity with a book under his belt, the original Dead Rising hero is desperately trying to recapture the limelight by playing a special guest zombie killer in the 'Terror is Reality' game show.

The new Frank-exclusive games immediately bring to mind WWE matches: West wears a single-strapped leotard (very Jerry Lawler if you ask us) and racks up points by suplexing zombies into submission and drop-kicking chairs into their faces, Van Damme-style.

The fresh content doesn't end there. Out in the malls and the casinos Frank has access to an even more outlandish collection of weapon combinations (alongside returning oldies, of course). As for the psychopaths... additional ones have been squeezed alongside some returning foes who've been busy glugging down gallons of extra crazy juice since we last saw them.

FRANK INCENSED
In every way that counts, Off the Record is a completely new game. From the redesigned cut-scenes to the abundance of environmental PP stickers and some impressive new spinning lariat and flash kick moves (capable of beheading a zombie in one move), Dead Rising 2's been rebooted from the ground up.

Even the infamous save system has been changed. Toilets still exist for manual saves, but Capcom Vancouver has added checkpoints before each boss battle to give people the security of a safety net. After all, Dead Rising's psychos are much tougher than your average gaming boss.

Some West and Greene co-op play rounds off the features list (we're promised one extra mode as well, although details on this haven't been forthcoming), qualifying this as a game we're happy to call a full-blown sequel. But despite the wealth of new content there are always going to be some who see this - unfairly - as little more than an add-on pack for the old game.

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Capcom can't do much more to convince those people that this isn't the case, but in the same way SSFIV hit the shelves with a whole game's worth of new goodies at a budget-friendly cost, the publisher would be wise to consider a cut-price RRP to placate the masses.

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