While the Dead Rising Triple Pack is set to breathe beautiful new life into a long-beloved franchise, the remastered release of the iconic series’s first three full games will be a little less complete without its best installment: the downloadable expansion, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero.
Case Zero was technically a DLC intended to hype players for Dead Rising 2 and introduce them to protagonist Chuck Greene. Instead, players got an emotional, action-packed experience that served as its own cohesive adventure even as it showcased what was in store for the first sequel.
Set three years before the events of Dead Rising 2, Case Zero sees Chuck and his zombie-bitten little girl, Katey, stranded in a small town in need of both a means of escape and a steady supply of Zombrex, the drug that keeps Katey’s transformation into the undead at bay. It’s largely the same dilemma that face father and daughter in the main game, only in a small town setting. There are still survivors to save, weapons to build, outfits to collect, and hundreds of zombies to kill. Best of all, you get to do it all without having to wear Chuck’s terrible motocross jacket.
While conniving photojournalist Frank West tends to get most of the credit, Chuck Greene acquits himself extremely well as a leading man. That capability is never on display more confidently than in Case Zero when Chuck’s everyman desperation is allowed to creep into the character’s personality.
With only 12 hours to fix up your bike and dose your daughter, players have a lot to do in little time. In fact, there are more tasks to complete in the expansion than there are time to complete them. Survivors will be lost. Zombies will survive. There is no such thing as perfect. That might be the case for Dead Rising 2 as well, but the the expedited time frame lends Case Zero an urgency that’s not found in the full game, and that sense of pressure adds real emotional weight to your choices while making for a compelling zombie-bashing experience that culminates in one of the series’ more memorable boss fights — one that begs to be replayed over and over.
Within the confines of Case Zero’s small, but densely packed world, players are treated to an enclosed adventure that also serves as a perfect complement to the struggles Green will face in just a few years’ time. Though the Dead Rising Triple Pack will undoubtedly be a chainsaw-filled good time, and Dead Rising 4 looks to be shaping up to be a worthwhile entry in the series, it’s still too bad that Case Zero isn’t going to get the remastered treatment it so richly deserves.