Dead Rising 2 Multiplayer Hands On
Compete to kill zombies in the sequel's new Xbox Live online mode.
Dead Rising 2 is not in Capcom's Tokyo Game Show booth. And with good reason. As producer Keiji Inafune explained during an offsite demo event for the game today, all the zombie slicing and dicing would have limited the game to a small behind-closed-doors showcase.
Instead, the "Terror is Reality" demo event, held today in central Tokyo, allowed us to experience Dead Rising 2 as it was meant to be experienced: with beer, ribs, and in the company of extremely loud (and presumably extremely drunk) Street Fighter players (If someone uploads a video from the event, and you hear someone shouting stuff in the background while Inafune speaks, it's this guy!).
DR2 was playable at the event initially in single player form. But after a stage presentation in which Inafune provided first details on the game's multiplayer component, attendees were given a chance to try out multiplayer in preparation for a tournament. At stake in the tournament was a two-of-a-kind replica of DR2 hero Chuck Greene's yellow jacket (it's two-of-a-kind because Inafune was also wearing one).
First some background on the event's name. You might recognize the name "Terror is Reality" from the Dead Rising 2 TGS trailer that surfaced earlier today. As detailed by Inafune Terror is Reality is the name of a game show in the Dead Rising 2 world. The show puts members of the general public in an arena full of zombies. Participants take part in challenges to kill the most zombies, with the highest kill count taking home prizes.
Chuck Greene is, like the rest of America, a big fan of Terror is Reality. And now he'll be risking his life in the ring. Why? Inafune said we'd learn the reason later.
Terror is Reality plays heavily into Dread Rising 2's storyline, which is currently being kept under wraps. But it also forms the base of the multiplayer mode that Capcom debuted at today's event.
In the Xbox 360 version of DR2, players will be able to connect via Xbox Live for four player online combat, replicating the Terror is Reality experience. Players take part in multiple events, building up their score to determine the top zombie killer.
The event demo included four events, detailed here:
This is the hamster ball event that can be seen in today's trailer. You move your ball around the arena attempting to squash zombies.
The game is set up like tag, with one player being "it." Only the player who's "it" can ram into special bumpers for big points. To become "it," you simply have to run into the current "it" player.
This was my favorite of the multiplayer events. It's well designed, with sloped walls allowing for skilled players to more strategically evade losing their "it" status. I was in the lead towards the end, and rather than trying to get more points, I simply tried to evade the other players so that the second high scorer wouldn't be able to become "it" and beat me at the last minute.
A machine in the center of a small arena deploys special hats, colored to match your character. You have to stick these hats on zombies, then push a button on either side of the play field to make the hatted zombies explode. You can put a hat on as many zombies as you like. However, your opponents have access to a stick of dynamite, which they can use to blow up the zombies in a certain area, potentially ruining your chance for mass zombie carnage.
This mode was also a total blast. Sticking hats on the zombies is fun enough. Seeing your hatted zombies explode is even more enjoyable. Using your dynamite to ruin someone else's fun is pure gold.
Pounds of Flesh
Each player is on a platform that stands next to a large scale. Pushing a button on one end of the platform releases a bunch of zombies. You have to push the zombies onto the scale. You can do this by nudging individual zombies over with a quick tap of X, or you can gather the zombies up and push a bunch over at once by holding X to charge at them. There's a gap between your platform and the scale, which makes getting the zombies successfully over a bit tricky.
This game felt a bit awkward to me, but the problem could be that I'm just not used to the controls yet.
Try saying that three times fast! Slicecycles puts you on a bike that has blades protruding from its sides. All four players speed through the same arena, attempting to slice up as many zombies as possible.
Things get really hectic during bonus time, when the the screen fills up with so many zombies that the engine starts to slow down.
You control your vehicle by accelerating with the right trigger, breaking with the left trigger, and performing a quick turn by pressing the left and right triggers together. I didn't have any problems with the controls, but I wished the camera would be a bit quicker about readjusting behind my back following a quick turn. This, of course, could be something that will be refined for the final version.
The demo had you play the first three events like a tournament, building up one common score. The leader at the end of the first three rounds is given a time advantage for the take-it-all final round.
I managed to get a few additional details on multiplayer from one of the developers who was watching over my play session. The actual format of how the events will take place still hasn't been decided, I was told. The demo felt like a WWF broadcast (I haven't been in America in years, but when I was there that would have been an appropriate analogy), with each round preceded by flashy introductions hosted by Terror is Reality host Tyrone King and his two glamorous co-hosts (Tyrone king and the two glamorous co-hosts were in attendance at today's event).
It seems as though a good amount of the game's multiplayer component is just coming into form. I wasn't able to get specifics on how many games we can expect. Additionally, I was told that nothing has been set yet for your in-game personas. The event demo had you control Power Ranger-style characters. It shouldn't be hard to imagine Chuck and other Dead Rising characters in the arena as well.
I'm personally not much of an online gamer myself, so I'm hoping for a four player split screen mode (even if it means turning all the zombies into single polygon models). Split screen play is actually not out of the question, I was told. However, the multiplayer play as it was announced today is four player online.
I was also wondering why, despite Dead Rising 2 being a multiplatform title, only Xbox 360 was represented at the event. I was told that the game's multiplayer modes have just been announced for the 360. Read that as you will.
The Terror is Reality multiplayer mode looks like it will be a great addition to Dead Rising's single player mode. Single player is still in the game, of course. Details on the story and so forth will be announced later, Inafune said during the stage presentation.
Capcom had somewhat of a single player mode on display at the event. Prior to the multiplayer mode's announcement, attendees were able to work through single player challenges in the game's Fortune City casino environment.
I only tried one challenge, which required that I kill 300 zombies in 10 minutes. Succeeding at this was not just a matter of picking up the weapon that does the most damage -- which, from what I could see, was the "paddle saw," a weapon that consists of two chain saws attached to either side of a canoe paddle. You have to take those weapons to the places where the zombies are bunched together.
As you might be expecting if you played the first Dead Rising, there's a great amount of weapon variety during solo play. I kept on finding new weapons -- guns, a sword, an electric guitar that makes a riff sound with each blow. I liked the wheelchair weapon in particular, possibly because one zombie looked like he was trying to hitch a ride.
Clear the 300 kill challenge, and you're given an even better wheel chair -- one with guns that fire as you plow through the zombies.
In multiplayer or single player, Dead Rising 2 is looking like it's going to be an excellent followup to one of the surprise hits of the early Xbox 360.
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