October 29, 2010

Review – Dead Rising 2

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 9:06 am

In playing open-world games, perhaps the quintessential dilemma is to what extent it is necessary for a game to push players to explore what it offers, and at what cost to player freedom–where at one end of the spectrum the player becomes bored and complacent, and at the other, the game is no longer open at all. I have found it can be far too easy to become mired in endless side-quests and irrelevant mini-games, thus losing a sense of progression and purpose, and while it’s certainly true that the player is ultimately responsible for utilizing the game assets, it is also fair to say that the game is responsible for presenting these assets in an engaging way.

Dead Rising 2’s solution to the problem is to grant the player freedom, but with consequences—the same as you find in the good, old fashioned real world. This is achieved chiefly through demanding that the player manage his or her time. Unlike, for example, Red Dead Redemption, where you could conceivably hunt bounties for a month before choosing to start the next plot event, Dead Rising 2 is characterized by a ticking clock, and story events that occur at specific times on that clock—whether the player is ready or not.


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