The original Dead Rising is a game about a zombie outbreak in a small town. You control a photojournalist who helicopters onto the mall in town which appears to be the center of the outbreak in order to take some pictures and break a story. There's a whole plot line where you're going around taking pictures and trying to figure out what is going on (along with actually surviving until your escape helicopter arrives 3 days later). In actuality what you're doing is wandering around a mall picking up anything and everything in sight and killing zombies with them. Baseball bat? Club the zombies to death. Chainsaw? Slice them in two. Bowling ball? Toss it at them and knock them down. (There's an achievement for killing 10 zombies with one toss of the bowling ball.) I think this was the first game I really played on the xBox 360 with lots of wacky achievements like that and it was awesome. To give you an incentive to wander around the whole mall and find lots of different zombie killing implements there are survivors scattered around which you get sent to save. Get to them, kill the zombies around them, and lead them back to safety for bonus experience. They even follow you around and use items you give them so it's possible to build a small army of followers armed with handguns to go on a zombie killing rampage.
As I was saying yesterday all I really want out of Dead Rising 2 is more zombies to kill in interesting ways. I've been playing it a little the last couple nights and it has certainly delivered on all cylinders. The basic idea here is zombies are now a fact of life in America and there's a game show where you drive around on a motorcycle with chainsaws attached to the handlebars. The goal is to kill the most zombies by driving through them. You control one of the stars of this show. Shortly after the show ends something happens and suddenly all the zombies the show has locked up for use get free. (Oh noes!) The area is quickly quarantined but it's going to take the army 3 days to arrive to clean up. So you end up trapped in a casino/mall complex for 3 days with a plot directing you around trying to figure out what exactly happened to cause the zombies to get loose. There are lots of zombies. There are lots of ways to kill zombies. And there are survivors to go rescue...
In short, it's the same game. Yes! They made some tweaks of course but they really followed the same price template. 3 game days of zombie killing mayhem loosely guided by plot points. They did remove the picture taking aspect of the game. (I think I liked it more than most people but really I didn't have an itch to take more pictures of zombies so I'm fine that it's gone.) In its place is a system where you get to learn recipes as you progress through the game (so far I've found recipes by leveling up and by finding a secret thing to examine in the mall) and you use those recipes in specific rooms to build super weapons. In short, they took out a low awesome aspect of the first game and replaced it by adding in absurdly awesome ways to kill zombies.
For example, you can find a box of nails in the mall. Use it as a weapon and you feebly throw some nails at the zombies. The zombie will get dazed when you do this and probably will die if you hit him with enough nails. (I haven't thrown nails specifically but I did manage to kill a zombie with poker chips so I imagine you can eventually pull it off.) Or you can find a baseball bat. A couple good thwacks will kill a zombie. In both cases you earn 10 experience. But if you take the box of nails and the baseball bat to a maintenance room you can combine them into a spiked bat! Now you can swing the bat to kill a bunch of zombies in one attack for 50 experience a pop. Or you can line up one zombie for a big attack and rake in 100 experience! Leveling up by fighting zombies with normal stuff is obsoleted. Not a big loss, especially since you get some pretty silly animations from the super weapons.
The second super weapon involves combining a bucket with a power drill. You end up with a sadistic looking device that has drill bits pointed into a bucket. Plop it onto a zombie's head and watch as his skull gets ripped to shreds by power drills. 200 experience and you can pick up the device to use on the next zombie.
Next up? Combine the box of nails with a propane tank. You end up with a propane tank covered in spiky bits. You can swing it around to kill zombies with the spikes. Or you can wind up and impale it into a zombie's back. This doesn't kill the zombie but he has no way to get rid of it so he stumbles around with a propane tank on top of him. Run a bit away, pull out a gun, and shoot the tank. Kabooom! Massive zombie explosion! 300 experience per zombie killed in the explosion. (I can see rewarding people for using the tricky to combine weapons but a 30 times multiplier seems a little absurd. But whatever, more zombie death!)
Take an ordinary push broom (useful for clearing a path through a bunch of zombies I guess) and combine it with a machete (useful for clearing a path through a bunch of zombies by hacking them to itty bitty bits) and you end up with a polearm that makes zombie Gary Gygax wet his pants.
Combo weapons aren't the only sources of awesome zombie deaths though. Starting up a lawn mower and pushing it into a crowd of zombies results in some very satisfying zombie bits flying all over the place. I even found an "adult" store and tried to kill a zombie by beating it with a giant purple dildo. Sadly it didn't seem to do much damage and I gave up long before the zombie died.
They also kept the system of getting new outfits in the mall by trying on clothes in stores. I like how it adds a bit of customization to your avatar. You can dress your guy up in a dress if you really want to. At the moment I'm wearing a white fedora, a fake moustache and glasses set, a suit jacket, jeans, and black go-go boots. It works, honest!
I'm sure there are tons of zany achievements though I haven't even looked at them yet in case their are spoilers to the plot. I figure I'll play through the game once and then bask in the glory that is achievements. Who knows, maybe this will be the first game in which I get them all!