"I came, I chainsaw, I conquered" -- killer weapons in Dead Rising 2
Friends, I have seen the future and it is not so bleak after all. It is a world that Max Brooks and Sam Raimi have prepared me for, but neither could anticipate the sheer awesome power of the paddle saw: two chainsaws tied to both ends of a paddle. The goal of our Dead Rising 2 demo at X10 was simple: 20,000 pp in 10 minutes. My friends, I've failed you, but it was not for lack of trying and it certainly was not without its grandiose moments.
For all intents and purposes, today's session was a revised version of the original Dead Rising demo: an open pavilion (this time in Fortune City, Nevada) filled with slow-moving zombies, serving as a playground of sorts to capitalize on the numerous objects we could wield as weapons. All the usual suspects were present: trash bins, chairs, benches, kitchen knives, swords, pistols, lawnmower, chainsaw, baseball bat, and a shotgun, to name just a few. What set this apart, however, was the ability to combine certain items to make even more gruesome weapons. Once you obtain the proper combo card, you can put the recipe to good use via a workbench found in secluded stockrooms. Besides the aforementioned paddle saw, some of the combinations I recall included:
An incredibly effective electricity-zapping rake combined with a battery
A baseball bat with spikes that would get gracefully and gruesomely stuck in zombies' noggins via the overhead smash
The IED: a propane tank covered in spikes that was great for clearing out crowds
My favorite by far, though, would have to be what I'll lovingly dub (since I forgot its official name) the "Dead Alive": the base of a lawnmower with a grip made of cut-up wood. Held at chest level, it'll slice up zombies with a casual left-to-right nudge. The heavy attack is even more gruesome: I hung the weapon over a zombie's head and just started pushing down. In the end, there was nothing left but a pile of blood and 250 points.
The popular tactic of "shaking the left joystick violently when grabbed" works to full effect here, and when my thumb was not nimble enough to avoid being pinned, I was prompted to quickly press A within a limited timeframe to avoid any further damage to my well-sculptured visage.
Sure, there are peculiarities in this world, such as: how does one chainsaw magically becomes two when combined with a paddle (welcome to the laws of physics, industrial mitosis). Logic aside, my one main gripe with the play session is weapon animation -- far too often I found myself in a position where I was swinging the sledgehammer more times than I intended to. Without any option to cancel, I wasted precious seconds and was left vulnerable. I understand there's momentum involved in wielding a heavy mass, but pressing 'X' once should mean one swing, not a swing and an additional overhead smash. However, my ten minutes with Dead Rising 2 reminded me of all the reasons I loved the original -- senseless gore in a sandbox environment. All that was missing was a stream of obnoxious phone calls from a walkie-talkie (and that's a good thing!).