Heading West

Originally Published 8 March 2011

Last week, I fired up my 360 and decided that I wanted to play more¬†Dead Rising 2. I’d mostly played that game to death, though, so I decided to instead play¬†Case West. Case West is a standalone DLC / epilogue to the Dead Rising 2 storyline. Because of its status as an epilogue, expect unmarked Dead Rising 2 spoilers below.

At the beginning of Case West, Chuck is fighting off a zombified TK. Into the scene enters Frank West (he’s covered wars, you know) carrying a baseball bat. After saving Chuck, Frank quickly realizes who he’s just saved and questions Chuck about his role in the zombie outbreak in the city. Chuck still needs to clear his name, so he and Frank team up to go to a nearby Phenotrans (the Dead Rising universe’s Umbrella Corp) facility.

Said facility supposedly has a contact that Frank had been working with to get inside information on Phenotrans to help expose them. Chuck goes along under the assumption that the facility might have evidence to incrimination Phenotrans for the Fortune City outbreak and to help clear his own name.

Gameplay in Case West is mostly identical to that in DR2. The main difference is that there is an ever present CPU (or coop) companion in Frank. Mostly though, he just distracts enemies. This function turns out to be vitally important, however, due to the very large number of non-zombie enemies who carry firearms. Although there were some such enemies in the main game, Case West is quite full of them and they are a major source of unfun in Case West. Since being hit by an enemy, even by an attack that doesn’t cause you to actually lose a hit point, causes you to drop any two-handed weapon, their long-range machine guns quickly become the bane of Chuck and Franks’ existences as you’re dropping weapons or having attacks interrupted. This is especially bad in the “zombie pens”–one of the largest rooms and one often used for transit between other areas–because these gun wielders are numerous and in areas which are somewhat isolated from the main travel paths.

At the very beginning I was confused by Case West. Although I’d beaten DR2 multiple times, I’d always gotten Ending S (the best ending, at least based on PP reward) because it is so easy to get. It turns out that Case West begins from Ending A (the second best), instead. This seems to me like a strange shift since Dead Rising 2 seemed to follow from the best ending to the original Dead Rising. Before I learned about that decision, I was wondering why the game made no references to Chuck’s daughter or love interest and was completely at a loss for why Chuck would abandon them to go off on a jaunt with Frank.

Overall, I wasn’t that impressed with Case West. The human enemies detract from a lot of the fun and the plot really doesn’t do much for the series as a whole–it’s basically just a setup for a sequel.

Dead Rising 2: Case West: 0

 

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