|System: PS3, Xbox 360, PC|
|Dev: Blue Castle Games|
|Release: October 11, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Sexual Themes, Partial Nudity, Blood and Gore, Use of Alcohol, Intense Violence, Language|
by Adam Dodd
When Capcom first unveiled Off the Record, some fans were understandably a little confused. Was it an expansion of Dead Rising or a retelling of the game with a new protagonist? It turns out the game is a little of both. It's an expansion in that it will have some features and scenery that will be familiar to Dead Rising 2 fans, but it's essentially its own game, with a story and missions that are unique to this particular entry. Then there's the return of Frank West, the photojournalist protagonist from the original game, who will bring along his handy camera so you can take plenty of pictures while you're on your bloody vacation.
Dead Rising 2 followed motocross champ Chuck Greene, who found himself in the middle of another zombie outbreak. Off the Record is a sort of "what if?" scenario that replaces Chuck and his ill daughter with Frank West and his camera.
The game was originally planned as a Director's Cut of Dead Rising 2. Capcom has had plenty of success with Director's Cuts of their games, particularly with the Resident Evil franchise, so it's no surprise that they wanted to do the same thing with their other popular zombie series. When Dead Rising 2 released, many fans missed their Frank West, so that inspired the creation of Off the Record, a $40 budget title that gives fans what they missed in the second game.
Off the Record follows the events of the original game, ignoring Dead Rising 2's story completely. Frank West has risen to stardom after surviving the outbreak in Willamette, Colorado. West has used his fame to write an incredibly successful book, and he even hosts his own talk show. Just as he's realizing that his rise to fame is losing momentum, Frank is invited by the producer of Terror is Reality to be a guest on the reality television show. Desperate to keep his fame, West accepts the invitation and heads out to Fortune City.
As a renowned photojournalist, Frank is never without his trusty camera. If you played the original Dead Rising, the camera will function much like it did in the first game—you can take pictures to get Prestige Points (PP) in multiple categories. Snapping pictures of survivors being eaten alive will net you points in the Horror and Brutality categories, and there are also Humor and Erotic categories should you come across anything that fits those descriptions.
If there's one thing the Dead Rising series is known for, it's the hordes of zombies and the vast arsenal of clever and creative weapon combos you use to dispatch them. Off the Record adds a ton of new weapons, items, and ways to combine them, so you can really have some fun. Feeling lazy? Then why don't you take the new clown car so you can speed past the legions of zombies in comedic style? Or perhaps there are a few too many undead in your way? That can be remedied with some of the new combos, including the Laser Eyes, Cryo Pod, Pegasus, or Molten Cannon that can make quick work of any unsuspecting zombies. If you're not feeling terribly inspired, you can also use the basic weapons, like the Remote Mine, Ray Gun, and Alien Probe.
New weapons and items aren't the only things you can expect in Off the Record. Since the game takes place in a different part of Fortune City, there will be new places to explore and missions to solve. One of the new areas is the Uranus Zone, a theme park filled with interactive rides that can be used to take out zombies (or just to have a bit of fun), and a bunch of new stores to ransack for items. There will also be new enemies to vanquish, including plenty of new psychopaths and even a new zombie type—the Scare Zombie that enjoys jumping out at Frank from around corners for a cheap scare.
Off the Record offers plenty of new content, but it also comes with a myriad of fixes to make it less frustrating. The save system, a feature that's been a problem since the first game, has been renovated to allow for more save slots and a checkpoint system so you don't lose your progress should you make a mistake. The checkpoint system will undoubtedly be a welcome addition to anyone who had to start over after underestimating how difficult a psycho would be or how much time they had left to complete a certain mission. Other improvements include shorter load times and a co-op system that gives the second player control of Chuck Greene.
Frank's newest adventure with the undead shouldn't be thought of as "Dead Rising 3," because it's not. That's not to say it isn't worth your time. The plethora of new items, missions, and a fresh story should make it worthwhile to any Dead Rising fan, while the fixes to many of the issues that have plagued the series since the first game could make it worth checking out for those who haven't experienced the series before. There's also an unannounced new game mode that's been described as "something fans have been asking for since the first game," and it's supposedly "as big, if not bigger, than the story mode." Now that's intriguing.
CCC Contributing Writer