I haven't had a chance to continue with Mafia II, thanks to the release of Dead Rising: Case 0. Both releases are polar opposites in terms of pacing, if I have to make a comparison. Back on point, the original Dead Rising showed the potential of next (now current) generation hardware. It may have been somewhat clumsy, but its predominantly humorous tone, and an urgent pace in concert with the sheer amount of enemies to dispatch made for an unforgettable experience. The promise of a playable prologue, with the ability to level up new protagonist, Chuck Greene before the retail release was an offer I could not pass up.
After viewing 2 of the possible endings, specifically the best one and one of the more depressing outcomes, I can advise that Dead Rising: Case 0 is the future of the demo. Electronic Arts (EA on the mean streets) had hinted that in the near future they would be interested in releasing "very long game demos," at a cost to consumers, similar to Battlefield 1943. Case 0 costs 400 Microsoft Points, can be completed (read: will be, whether you are ready or not) in a couple of hours, feautures 12 unlockable achievements and showcases characters and feautures from an impending, full retail release. It was a little bit longer than the average demo, and it cost me money. Sounds like EA's business model has been usurped by a competitor.
It is well worth the paltry price of admission, but for those who did not enjoy the original, know this: nothing has changed. Nothing at all. Combat is still clumsy, survivor AI is still poor, and your objectives (both main and peripheral) are timed. On the plus side, the visuals have received a minor upgrade, and the weapon combination system will provide some laughs. Also of note, firearms can now be used effectively.
The formula may not be as refreshing this time around, and this can be attributed to the small play area and the mixed direction. You'll be doing a lot of backtracking, as well as reading a lot of dialogue text. There is not much in the way of voice work and cut-scenes, but any gaps in presentation are made up for with solid zombie slaying action. There is a single boss fight. It was a bit of a letdown and was conquered on my first attempt. As with the original instalment however, the most satisfaction comes not from an encounter with a lone enemy, rather it is found when running into a blood-thirsty horde and swinging away with a spiked bat. Case 0 is an essential experience when compared to its downloadable competition on the Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network (for those of you who don't know, it is an X360 exclusive). If you own a 360, I heartily recommend downloading this prologue to Capcom's upcoming zombie-themed action RPG.
What are your thoughts on zombies and videogames? Any favourites? Have gamers had enough of zombie flavoured armageddon? More importantly, what are your thoughts on the impending death of the free demo?