Chuck Greene is quite handy with a sword... and golf club... and beer bottles... and chainsaws on poles... and... well, you get the idea.
In the 15 minutes or so that I spent running around inside a casino in Dead Rising 2 I manged to slice - both vertically and horizontally - club, shoot and mangle more than 300 zombies.
The sequel to zombie-killing Dead Rising has slicker controls that make running and gunning not only easier, but fun. Pulling the Xbox 360's left trigger switches to an aim view that allows gamers to pull off shots with a targeting reticule. This new aim view makes gunplay more satisfying and allows gamers to almost play parts of the game like a shooter.
While the machine gun I tried chewed through the zombies fairly quickly, the handgun required a surprising number of shots to drop a target. Though if you pull off a headshot it's easier to kill one.
I started my time in the game unarmed and surrounded by zombies. I manage to pick up a golf club and smack a couple of zombies down before being attacked. Moving through the casino, I came across a two-handed sword and used the X button to swing it at the horde. Tapping the button unleashed a three-swing combo that sliced zombies wherever they were hit, parting arm from body, head from neck and, a couple of times, slicing a zombie vertically from crown to crotch.
The sword eventually "wore out", forcing me to scramble for another weapon. This time I picked up a chainsaw. The chainsaw required a tap of the X button for Greene to start. Once running I tapped the X button to swing it through zombies. Unlike the sword, which seemed to attack in small arcs in one direction, the chainsaw laid down zombies in broad circles, quickly cutting them into bits.
After a bit of time, the chainsaw ran out of gas and chugged to a stop. Next I tried a pole that had chainsaws mounted on both ends of it. The chainsaws cut through the crowd like a hot knife through butter zombies. Racking up kills at a surprising rate. When the twin chainsaws died, I ran to a nearby bar where I found a machine gun.
Pulling in the left trigger I popped off some shots at zombies, blowing them to bits. When I let go the reticule disappeared, but the raw power of the machine gun made precise aiming unnecessary.
Once I was out of ammo I switched to a handgun, which did require more precisely aimed shots, something that the aim view made much easier to do.
Running around the casino I spotted a lot of odd object I could use as weapons, like a wheelchair, a roulette wheel, a crowbar. I also spotted at least one non-weapon that I could interact with: A mechanical bull. Pressing the B button, I mounted the bull and tried to stay on by tapping buttons. I didn't last too long. But the promise of non-killing mini-games has me intrigued.
When my pre-set time came to an end the game notified me that I had earned a prize for killing more than 300 zombies in the allotted time. It's unclear if this was just for the press build or the ability to unlock weapons through timed zombie-killing runs will be in the final release.
My prize? A motorized wheelchair with assault rifles mounted to its arms with duct tape.
The game gave me another couple of minutes to check out the new weapon. A tap of a button allowed me to drive the chair and then I used a thumbstick and trigger to steer and move. Holding in the right trigger the mounted weapons fired all together, shaking the controller in my hand and liquefying the masses of zombies in clouds of red mist.
As I turned around in the casino the bullets raked across slot machines, blowing out the glass and lights and flipped over chairs and tables. It was a powerful, addictive weapon.
The short time with the game, played locked in a casino packed with zombies, certainly didn't give me a taste of the campaign, but it allowed me to get a feel for this sequel. When I saw I liked, from the absurd destructive power of the new weapons to the better aiming.
Dead Rising 2 seems to be living up to its predecessor, promising a game that could push the franchise forward quite a bit.