Jeff Markiewicz On January 18, 2011 at 11:17 am

Before the release of Dead Rising 2, we got a small taste of it with a standalone release called Case Zero. Initially people thought it was going to be a paid demo but quickly realized it was more and most thoroughly enjoyed it. The biggest absence was cooperative play which eventually came with the main game. Now post-release of the Dead Rising 2, we’re getting Case West. This one is double the price of Case Zero but is it worth the extra dough?

The story begins after the ending of Dead Rising 2 and Chuck Greene is still on his journey to find evidence that he was set up. Encountering the now-famous journalist Frank West, you set off to a Phenotrans Facility to meet up with a source and uncover what has been happening. It’s a simple premise that will help answer questions for those who have dabbled in the franchise and cause more questions for those who are diehard fans. It is on par with the writing the series has had so far so it’s clearly not Oscar worthy but it gives you enough drive and information to keep you interested until the end.

If you’ve played Dead Rising 2, you know what to expect. You’re in a zombie infested area and it’s up to you to do case files (quests), rescue people, and of course kill zombies. Unlike Dead Rising 2 though, a lot of the annoyances have been removed. Saving people is typically just walking up to them and talking. There is definitely no escorting this time around so at most you’ll have to fetch something for them. Weapons are plentiful and you’ll rarely ever have to settle for a second rate weapon. The area is not that large meaning that even though you are still under a time limit, you’ll never have to worry about making it somewhere on time. Also as an added bonus, you start at level 40, meaning you’ll most likely be thriving rather than just surviving in this new hostile environment.

Along your journey you’ll have Frank West as a constant companion. He cannot die and is actually sometimes useful. If you plug in another person, they’ll step into Frank’s shoes but the experience is nearly identical to Chuck. As for online cooperative play, it’s the same drop-in drop-out experience that Dead Rising 2 had, which was perfect. Each game you play is public but you have to accept that person into your game or simply ignore it. This also means that even if you have no friends, you can have the full experience. The most coveted feature people wanted from Dead Rising 1 and Frank West was his unique picture-based gameplay. Unfortunately that has not returned, in its place is a half-baked picture saving feature so you can view them later. Nothing is scored. No points given out. But for Dead Rising 2’s gameplay, this is some of the best. It doesn’t last too long, around 3-4 hours but considering how rich the play space is and it can be played cooperative, this no reason not to at least go through it again. It’s simply that much fun.

If you have played Dead Rising 2, you know what to expect here. The amount of zombies on screen is amazing. The biggest switch is in terms of location. Instead of a mall or a Las Vegas that feels like a mall, you have a military complex. This also means less costume variations and less bright colors unfortunately. In terms of art style, this means it looks a little more generic than the main titles but the different area adds some nice variation to series. The look also helps lead you along by forcing you to ask what’s going on here and why. If you’re a big fan of the previous titles, you probably know the answer but for those who aren’t, the style works well.

This is a full standalone production and the sound design got the same treatment. There are new voiceovers all around. Frank West’s voice actor has stepped into the booth once again which is cool to hear his voice again. The weapons that return from Dead Rising 2 and a lot of the other effects sound exactly the same. The new weapons sound great too and are completely original. The blast hammer is one of the favorites, for both function and sound. The location shift is also handled quite nice. Since this is no longer a mall or Vegas, you won’t have elevator music everywhere. The tone is slightly more serious but this is Dead Rising so it’s still a light-hearted over the top experience.

With the removal of a lot of the annoyances and the abundance of good weapons, Case West bridges the gap between niche title and mainstream even more. It simply boils the gameplay game to its rudimentary fun. There are still time limits but the area is not that large. Saving people is as simple as walking up to them and talking to them. There are some you have to track down but it never feels like a chore. Frank West is back but the biggest disappointment is that his unique camera-based gameplay did not return. Sure you can take pictures but instead of being rated and awarding you with experience, it simply saves the picture to be viewed from the main menu. If you’re a hardcore Dead Rising fan, no reason not to pick this up. If you saw the merits of the franchise but were held back by all the minor annoyances, this one is for you. Case West boils it down to the simple fun that this series has been built on.


A lot of the major annoyances have been removed. Some still remain unfortunately but this is the most accessible and enjoyable installment in the franchise yet. The story may not shed much light for diehard fans but the story is competently told. The Dead Rising 1 camera gameplay unfortunately does not make a return.


New location may feel a little generic but the new location adds some nice variation to the franchise. Tons of zombies on screen are still amazing. Not as much costume variations or bright colors make it lose some of its charm.


Completely new voice work. Frank West’s voice actor returns. Tone shifted from elevator music-filled malls to more serious secret facility. New weapons sound great.


Well produced expansion to Dead Rising 2. Beloved character from the first title makes a return. Story helps bring new fans up to speed on what’s happening as well as bring up more questions for the diehard fans. The location switch gives some much needed variation to the environments that we’ve been used to. The story is well voiced and the original voice actors have returned. A lot of the annoyances like escorting survivors and struggling to find good weapons is over and makes for a much more enjoyable experience. Unfortunately Frank does not bring his unique camera-based gameplay along. Despite this, Case West boils the game down to the simple lighthearted fun that the franchise has been built upon and is well worth your dollar.

One Response

  1. gossmaker says:

    I love how this is stand alone and you don’t have to own the original game. Rocking!