What's oddest of all about Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is that the small additions to the game have the biggest impact - the new weapons and slight tweaks outweigh the larger areas and mini-games. Some are merely extra content: samurai swords, defibrillators and grass-strimmers show up as new tools. Others serve to address balancing issues, with safe-deposit keys and cash-stuffed briefcases letting you earn money at a decent rate without exploits.
The biggest single new feature - a new theme-park area for Frank to explore - feels oddly staid. It's initially exciting, with rollercoasters and arcades complementing Fortune City's three casinos and two malls, but look at things in more detail and they start to crumble. Few of the mini-games are anything more than target-shooting and the rollercoasters are just one-hit wonders. The biggest irony of Fortune City's Uranus Zone is that it's generally a bit arse.
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In a way this makes sense; Dead Rising 2, in the way it doesn't force you to experience the main story and offers up a long chain of quick thrills, is all about the one-hit wonders - but usually there's more to them than this.
It's the same story with the technical side of things too; while Capcom claims that loading times have been speeded up and that network performance has been improved, the reality is that such things are overshadowed. It's the faster zombies, the new voiceovers and the ability to combine a grass-strimmer with a kitchen knife to make an ankle-shredder that make the real difference.
Besides, while loading times might be quicker, any discussion of the technical aspect still has to begin with pointing out the occasionally rough graphics and the consistently wooden controls.
While it's easy to pick holes in Capcom's recipe for both Dead Rising 2: Off the Record and the core Dead Rising 2 game, to do so is to wander down the wrong path. Yes, the controls are stiff and yes, Frank West's idiocy is a continually jarring annoyance, but you know what? Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is still a fantastically fun game. It's free-form and creative, filled with areas and mechanics for you to explore at your leisure, with just enough direction and purpose backing it up to satisfy story-nuts.
This is a game where you can kill enemies with alien probes and where perving on zombies can make you inexplicably wiser. It's toilet humour of the most crude and crass variety, but it is humorous. Likewise, blowing up zombies with arrows taped with dynamite might be a stupid type of fun, but it is fun.
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record has problems - and that's compounded by the fact that some of those issues are inherited, rather than new. It's a game with strengths too though, and while Off the Record doesn't prove to be any better than Dead Rising 2 on the whole, it certainly isn't any worse.