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Dead Rising 2: Not afraid of asking the important questions.

As the old saying goes: ‘Zombies improve anything’. Look at the films they’ve enlivened with their shambling grotesqueness. Night of the Living Dead would be like a more annoying Noah Baumbach film if it weren’t for zombies turning up to eat Barbra’s brother – though I’d put money on it still being better than Margot at the Wedding.

Video games are no exception to the rule, as virtual shoplifting simulator Dead Rising 2 demonstrates. Without zombies you’d be walking around a deserted shopping centre in Las Vegas looking for things to take, which isn’t too far removed from that Michael Jackson documentary a few years back. I guess they thought having MJ in a game called Dead Rising might have been poor taste. Then again, they recently announced a Jackson MMO so who knows if taste comes into it. Maybe they realised having Martin Bashir asking you for a running commentary of your actions every few seconds would be un fun, or that you’d get bored of hearing the “I’m dancing on your stupid face, Martin” sample.

I didn’t own an X-Box when the original came out so as far as I was aware Dead Rising was the working title for Pele’s erectile dysfunction ads. I jest, the original game nearly made me buy a 360 because it looked like someone had reached into my brain and created the world’s finest game. And if it weren’t for rumours of early X-Boxes sounding like Brian Blessed bringing a mammoth¬†off in a wind tunnel, and getting hot enough to melt the fillings in your neighbours’ teeth, I’d have made the leap a long time ago.

Dead Rising 2 offers proper zombies from days of yore, before they learnt skills like running and Krav Maga. It also offers equally old school game mechanics. It’s a game that hates you and is more than willing to wee all over the chips you tirelessly made from aspirational potatoes. Think you’ve reached a point where you can handle its many challenges? It brings out a broadly painted, psychotic Italian chef to remind you that you’re a complete pussy.

But keep chugging away at Dead Rising 2 and eventually you’ll reach a point where none of its broad racial and sexual stereotypes give you that much bother. And then the wee doth start to flow in the other direction. Of course it helps that ‘chugging away’ involves twatting zombies about the head with different sized objects and causing comic pratfalls with a variety of different substances. It presents a number of creative options that are perfectly pitched for anyone who has long-harboured dreams of running around a shopping mall, dressed in lady’s underwear, beating zombies about the face with a dildo. (You know who you are).

Dead Rising 2 is no Little Big Planet but it presents you with a number of amusing outlets to fulfil your most puerile creative desires. That is, once it’s finished beating you about the brow. At first you will find it surly and obnoxious but after a while you’ll begin to understand its bizarre logic and see a uniquely amusing character emerge. It’s a bit like John Prescott, really. John Prescott with zombies.

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