Games of the Year: Dead Rising 2
Games of the Year: Dead Rising 2
Putting the dead back where they belong
Next up is Greg Giddens, naming zombie slaughter simulator Dead Rising 2 which scored 8/10 in review, as his game of the year.
Of the many exceptional games released this year Dead Rising 2 kept me coming back the most, for its well realised premise, its replay design, and its genuinely likeable protagonist Chuck Greene. Sure, as far as story goes it’s pretty predicable and tame. It features the obligatory twists long associated with zombie films and games, and there’s more than its fair share of ridiculous characters playing out equally surreal scenarios, but what makes Dead Rising 2 a standout game is how easy it is to look past the generic and appreciate its flair. The premise alone of a global zombie outbreak and your task to simply survive it by whatever means you deem necessary, is excellent. What it translates to in-game is choice. You can save others and investigate the selection of intriguing situations if you so wish or you can hold up with your daughter. Additionally, beating the stupid out of the zombie horde with whatever implements you can find and tape them together is great fun, and pretty practical as well. Then there’s the story of you and your daughter.
The majority of the characters come across well and relationships between you and them grow naturally and believably, but your relationship and situation with your daughter are conveyed in the most interesting and tangible way. Your daughter is sick, having been infected with the zombie infection a long time back, and you manage her condition with daily shots of Zombrex, a suppressant for the zombie transformation. Thanks to excellent writing, animation, and voice work your daughter looks and acts like a child and the same qualities in design are carried across to Chuck to cement the bond between them. You end up emphasising with their plight and want to ensure little Katie’s survival and wellbeing. It’s this brilliant ability to bring you in on their story that makes the rest of the experience special.
You’ve also got a whole list of improvement over the original Dead Rising making this game a worthy and better sequel, such as reducing the difficulty curve slightly, adding several save files, and allowing you to move and shoot. But the survival premise and terrific characterisation are what immersed me. I had wild amounts of fun tearing zombies apart and an emotional and invested interest in the outcome of the story for Chuck and Katie; there a good chance I’ll be jumping straight back into this shortly to enjoy the experience once again.
//Mass Effect 2 (Review – 10/10)
Mass Effect 2 is one of the most immersive and comprehensive RPGs I’ve yet to encounter. The universe is rich and detailed to an incredible degree and the many alien races and their backstories are imaginative and tangible. For me this kind of attention to detail is nothing short of outstanding and, even if the game was crap to play, I’d be in awe of its scope.
Of course it’s not crap to play. In fact it’s a marvellous space opera providing dozens of hours of exceptional dialogue from an incredible voice cast, cinematic and exciting combat and a story so wonderfully constructed and told you almost wish you were in their universe instead of ours.
//Mafia II (Review – 6/10)
There’s a pattern forming here. I like stories, and Mafia 2 wins an honourable mention because of its tale of crime and punishment. It draws you in with well rounded characters, excellent pacing and an all round fun experience. The open city is vast and full of life, and although you seldom get to really explore it due to a linear setup of missions, its inclusion shows remarkable effort and creates a more life-like world. Before, I didn’t much like tales from this era or about the Mafia that I had seen or played from other films and games but Mafia 2 has converted me completely.
//Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty (Review – 9/10)
It took years to develop and tried the patience of all fans of the original but there is no denying the majesty of this long awaited sequel. It brings the RTS genre forwards thanks to the exceptional balance with units for both multiplayer and singleplayer and the huge variety of mission on offer in the campaign; it’s tremendous.
Wings of Liberty is in the first of three chapters in this saga but the length of the Terran campaign proves that Blizzard isn’t cutting back on content. It’s more a trilogy of games rather than a single experience chopped up. Thanks to a talented and committed modding community and Blizzard themselves constantly tweaking the multiplayer, new game types are being developed to keep the experience fresh during our wait for chapter 2.