The sequel "Dead Rising 2" is quite a disappointment. I thought it was going to be a game where zombies overran glitzy Las Vegas and you had to kill them, because the game-maker kept releasing preview photos and videos that looked all zombie Vegas-y.
"Dead Rising 2" is set in a shopping mall in fictional Fortune City, Nev. This mall has video poker machines in it, and some zombie showgirls stumbling around, which is funny. Otherwise, this just looks like any shopping mall in America, overrun by zombies with bad taste in slacks.
That makes "Dead Rising 2" feel like a bloodier retread of the first "Dead Rising." Now, I loved the first "Dead Rising." But this sequel is so similar (albeit with cooler weapons), I can recommend it only to people who are brand new to the "Rising" series.
You portray a motorcycle athlete, holed up safely in a home base inside the mall's security offices. From there, you jog into the shopping corridors, where literally thousands of slow-moving zombies lunge at you.
Your goal is to constantly find and rescue really slow, really dumb humans, and slowly, slowly, slowly escort them back to your home base.
Don't worry about the zombies. They move with the sluggishness of 2-year-olds. Running past them is like running a football against 2,000 toddlers: easy but tedious.
The look of the game is pretty sweet. Game designers did a great job of creating funny and creative zombies, who look like old ladies, big and tall guys, thieving punks and the like.
And killing zombies can be super-silly fun. You can combine mall items, such as a baseball bat spiked with metal nails, then go on a crazy-weapon-wielding rampage. But let me share some sad truths.
A) I'm so bored with the home base routine here, which also plagues this year's "Red Dead Redemption." The home base routine is: You venture out from a base, travel for many boring minutes to a location, then kill somebody, then travel boring minutes back to the base, then leave the base again for another similar mission, etc., etc. The home base loop is the worst trend to happen to games in the past 10 years.
B) There's no automatic "save" system, so if you die during a hard mission, you get respawned all the way back to some long-ago save point.
C) If you attack zombies while they're attacking human survivors, you will inevitably, accidentally hit the innocent humans. Those innocent humans will then attack you. That is insane.
D) You can't kick a zombie while he's down on the ground. That is insane.
E) The game should let you combine weapons from the start. But no. You must earn baseball cards to unlock weapon combinations, such as pairing a shotgun with a pitchfork. That is insane.
I had high hopes that "Dead Rising 2" would offer hours and hours of crazy entertainment in a Vegas-themed cavalcade of casinos, but instead, it reminds me of the word for snake eyes: craps.
("Dead Rising 2" by Capcom retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3; $40 for PC -- Plays dull and tedious. Looks great. Moderately challenging. Rated "M" for blood, gore, intense violence, language, sexual themes and use of alcohol. One star out of four.)
Here are the Top 10 best-selling video games, according to GameStop.
1. "Halo: Reach" (Microsoft) for Xbox 360; rated "M" (blood, violence)
2. "Call of Duty: Black Ops" (Activision) Nov. 9 pre-orders for Xbox 360; also available for PS 3, Wii, PC; rating pending
3. "Final Fantasy XIII" (Square Enix) for PC; also available for PS 3; rated "T" (mild language, suggestive themes, violence)
4. "Call of Duty: Black Ops" for PS 3
5. "World of Warcraft: Cataclysm" (Blizzard Entertainment) winter pre-order for PC; rating pending
6. "Fable III Limited Editions" (Microsoft) for Xbox 360; rated "M" (blood, language, sexual content, use of alcohol, violence)
7. "Dead Rising 2" (Capcom) for Xbox 360; also available for PS 3; rated "M" (blood, gore, intense violence, language, sexual themes, use of alcohol)
8. "Medal of Honor Limited Edition" for Xbox 360
9. "FIFA Soccer 2011" (EA) for Xbox 360; also available for PS 3, Wii, DS, PS 2, PSP; rated "E"
10. "Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood" (Ubisoft) Nov. 16 pre-order for PS 3; also available for Xbox 360; rated "M" (blood, sexual themes, strong language, violence)
(Ratings: "E" for "Everyone"; "T" for "Teen"; "M" for "Mature 17+")
NEW IN STORES
Game architects are turning "Castlevania: Lords of Shadow" (Konami) into a film-esque action-adventure, co-starring voice-overs from Patrick Stewart, Robert Carlyle and Natasha McElhone, and featuring huge orchestrations and sweeping images.
This is a big game. IGN.com reports in early previews of playing eight hours to get into the third chapter -- and there are 12 chapters in the game.
Simply put, this is a third-person action-adventure that puts you in control of a warrior, battling oppressive forces in a hopeless era -- that old sci-fi, fantasy trope.
The game is being compared to "God of War" and "Shaddow of the Colossus."
The game retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3. It's rated "M" for blood, gore, nudity and violence.
In "Enslaved: Odyssey to the West" (Namco), you play as a monkeylike guy named Monkey, in a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi fantasy where the world is green and lush but bad guys are robotically evil.
Throughout "Odyssey," you must protect a girl named Trip, who has some kind of power over you. Basically, this means you must kill a bunch of bad guys.
The people who came up with this game want it to be a touching story between Monkey and Trip, as they get tender on their journey. As for the action, you solve puzzles, combat bots, set traps, blow things up and ride a hover skateboard-thingy, among other things.
The game retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3. It's rated "T" for blood, language, suggestive themes, violence.
"NBA 2K11" (Take Two) is the annually updated basketball-er, although there's something highly unusual about it. Michael Jordan is on the cover, not a current NBA star.
You can star as Jordan and work his way up through the pros. You can also play as classic teams from history, in classic arenas.
As for the basketball gaming itself, there's a new ability to adjust your shot in the middle of a jump. The NBA draft combine has been put back in the game. Visual presentations were made in conjunction with TNT TV channel. And you can make players go through news conferences and endorsement deals.
The game retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3; $50 for Wii; $40 for PSP; $30 for PC and PS 2. It's rated "E."
Contact Doug Elfman at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.