Something was a little fishy when Capcom announced that they would release a “sample” of Dead Rising 2, called “Case Zero,” as a paid downloadable game exclusively on Xbox Live. Most people worried that it would be little more than a paid demo, while others were worried it would cost too much.
Both of these fears can be allayed. Not only is Case Zero a fantastic primer to Dead Rising 2 (and a fun game just as a stand-alone), it’s also a mere $5.
Case Zero introduces us to Chuck, the protagonist from the upcoming Dead Rising 2. His daughter, Katey, is infected with the disease that is turning everybody into zombies, and he needs to keep her on steady doses of the controversial drug Zombrex. If Katey doesn’t receive her shot every 12 hours, she’ll die.
This is problematic due to the apparent rarity of Zombrex, and the fact that all of Chuck’s supplies of it are stolen along with his truck at the very start of the game, leaving Chuck and Katey stranded in the tiny town of Still Creek.
Along the way, you get to kill zombies. A ton of zombies. And like Dead Rising before it, Case Zero gives you a lot of fun ways to kill that which is already dead. From 2x4s to broadswords to bowling balls to bows and arrows, there are a ton of ways to wreak havoc in Still Creek.
Case Zero will give you just a little taste of the item combination system that will help make Dead Rising 2 so addicting. Using specially marked weapons at a workbench (several of which are scattered around town), Chuck can combine brand new weapons. If you combine nails and a baseball bat, for example, you get a spiked bat, which is kind of what you’d expect, right? But there are plenty of other, far, far crazier combination available. As I said, it’s just a taste (there are only 9 possible combination in Case Zero), but it’s a ton of fun to mess around with.
Similarly, you get a little taste of the customization of Chuck himself, in the form of hairstyles, outfits and accessories. There are literally only a handful of these, but it’s still nice to mess with them.
On one hand, Case Zero is definitely “demo like.” It gives you just a little taste of the surely massive amounts of items that will be available in Dead Rising 2, and a small space to mess around and get a feel for what the full game will be like. At the same time, though, this is a completely separate experience from Dead Rising 2 – it’s not a DR2 environment closed off from the rest or anything, and it’s a separate story that won’t be present in the full game. Your guess is as good as mine as to why Capcom didn’t just package this prologue in with the retail Dead Rising 2 disc, but I didn’t feel cheated when I had finished it, especially considering the low price point.
Case Zero doesn’t take long to complete, or even to get all of the achievements, but you do get to carry over your level to the full Dead Rising 2 game (you can go up to level 5 in Case Zero), and you can replay the game as often as you want, finding new ways to kill things.
$10 would have been too much, but $5 is the perfect price for this prologue. It definitely whet my appetite for more Dead Rising, and it will probably do the same for you.