Dead Rising 2's taste of multiplayer, dressed up in a faux game show Terror is Reality, seems to be hiding something.
During a presentation this week of Capcom's upcoming zombie-killing action game Dead Rising 2, game writers got to once more check out the game's four modes of multiplayer, robust mini-games that have gamers competing for cash as they work to kill the most zombies in creative ways.
But what is one to do without all of that cash earned in the games? Capcom wasn't saying yesterday, but they said there's more to those end-match cash totals than providing just a score.
In my time with the game I took on Stephen Totilo and two others in the game's four modes: Ramsterball, Headache, Pounds of Flesh and Slicecycles.
Of the four, my favorite was probably the first: Ramsterball. In this game your leather jacket and motorcycle helmet festooned player runs around in an over-sized metal ball, using it to crush hordes of zombies in an arena of sorts. Cash is earned based on how many zombies you kill.
The catch is that only one ball-runner can score at a time. While scoring the metal cage glows and if someone bumps into that metal ball they become the one able to rack up cash. Adding a bit more strategy to the game is the fact that you only keep the cash if you manage to slam the ball into one of the over-sized bumpers in the arena. So if you rack up a huge score and get tagged out before you hit a bumper you lose all of the cash.
Next up was Headache, which has you on foot grabbing buckets with drills mounted in them. You have to take these buckets and slam them on the heads of zombies. Again, you don't get points into you activate the buckets by hitting a big button on one side of the smallish play area. Once activated, all of those drills turn on and you bucket-headed zombies collapse in a shower of blood.
You can also use sticks of dynamite to blow off the buckets from nearby zombies, preventing competing players from scoring.
Kinda fun, but also kind of limited in scope.
My least favorite of the four challenges is Pound of Flesh, which has you using a Moose head's antlers to shovel or slam zombies onto a giant scale. Because this takes place on four separate platforms there's little direct interference from other players. And the mechanic is fairly simple.
At the beginning of the fourth and final stage the player with the most cash (in this case Totilo) gets a few second head start before the other players drop into the competition.
Slicecycles puts your character atop a motorcycle armed with blades in a huge arena. Gamers then drive through massive crowds of zombies racking up huge amounts of cash.
While the concept is neat, made more fun by the inclusion of "bonus" zombies, the motorcycle's handling wasn't as tight as I would have liked and the lack of a handbrake made pulling off quick turns a bit frustrating. I also wasn't happy with how the motorcycle behaved when it went up the curved walls of the arena. It didn't feel zippy enough to make it as fun as it could have been.
Once the game wrapped, and Totilo crowed over his success in soundly beating everyone present, the game showed the final score in cash. Cash that, Capcom seems to be hinting, will play a bigger role in the game.
Let's hope it's not just so you can buy new outfits and the mulitplayer experience fits more neatly in with what we've seen so far of the single-player campaign.
And, I'm still holding out for video capture in Dead Rising 2. Who's with me?