Since I picked up Dead Rising 2, I've killed so many dead people that ghosts now dare each other to spend the night in my house. But for all my zombie slaughter, I spend an equal amount of time inventing new ways to curse at the game. For instance, a 19-syllable "co-o-ock" is how I tell the dodge button to work. As much as I love the game, the developers seem to think I was the one who slept with their wives. Like Dane Cook's prostate, Dead Rising 2 is perfectly engineered to annoy anyone who touches it.
At first I thought the game was being a dick. However, as I was studying a book about fetal alcohol syndrome to prepare for an OkCupid date, I noticed that Dead Rising 2 had a lot of the symptoms I was reading about. All this time I was so angry at it, but it wasn't the game's fault! Dead Rising 2 only has fetal alcohol syndrome. Let's take a closer look at the signs.
Poor Coordination; Lack of Fine Motor SkillsYou play as Chuck Greene, motocross champion and single father of a half-zombie daughter. Also, he's a spaz. He moves like a washing machine with a brick in it and fights like a sleeping bag with a camp counselor in it. Let me give you an example: If you use your Xbox controller to politely ask Chuck to swing his baseball bat at the zombie in front of him, he'll stop, turn around and obliterate the one safely behind him. And then the disinterested one behind that. While the zombies begin to swarm, you might ask your controller, "Made-in-China piece of shit! Can't you understand American thumbs!?" Screaming this is how you make Chuck jump.
Chuck is a dick. If you press the B button to ask him to grab a nourishing burrito, he'll always grab the useless plastic tray under it. I think he thinks it's a magic trick. He seems to know exactly what you want to do at any time and mocks you by doing the opposite. I was probably bitten 50 times when I pressed "PICK UP THE GODDAMN GUN" and Chuck thought I meant "REARRANGE THE FURNITURE." Which is understandable, since I made the same mistake in reverse with my ex-girlfriend.
The worst event in every video game is called an "escort mission." This is where the computer gives you a helpless idiot and asks you to keep it safe. These are frustrating because it's now possible for you to fail whenever the computer tells itself to kill itself. Dead Rising 2 is almost completely an escort mission, which sucks because safety is the natural enemy of fetal alcohol syndrome. I just mentioned how Chuck is unpredictable during his combat seizures, but when he's trying to protect a non-zombie you can count on every attack smashing directly into your friend's face. Chuck's decided that easiest way to get survivors to the safe house is in liquid form on the end of his bat. His idea of safety is taking a condom off to give his date something to puke in.
Mental RetardationChuck has serious brain problems. Besides killing zombies with stupid weapons, his main motivation is keeping his daughter Katey safe. So being a genius, he locks her in a bunker with every random lunatic that he finds in the mall. By the end of the game, Katey is sharing a room with hookers, zombie bite victims, thieves, bombers, strippers and one man-eating tiger. She would have been safer if he just tied her outside to a sign that said, "DO NOT EAT. Fatter children ahead."
Chuck's special needs might not be genetic, though. As I was fighting in a night club, I fed him three beers and watched helplessly as he vomited uncontrollably for the next few minutes. Puking after three beers? You know what that means -- this guy must have already been hammered. Then after he finished throwing up, Chuck pulled a gun out of a suicidal stranger's mouth and took him to the safe house to babysit his daughter. Holy shit, not even Andrew W.K. parties that hard. Chuck's going to wake up tomorrow and say, "Oh man, I drank so much that my daughter is in three separate plastic bags!"
Poor Socialization SkillsA lot of fathers wonder what they did to turn their daughters into strippers, but in eight years Chuck will have it narrowed down to that time during the zombie apocalypse when he abandoned his daughter in a room full of strippers. And speaking of them, the survivors in this game all seem to be based on strippers. Every female is in her underwear and most of them refuse to be rescued until you give them thousands of dollars. One of them even demands that you get naked before she joins you. This game was either written by a stripper or from the wet spot underneath one. Which gives it a unique style -- I've done a lot of strange things with a boner in my life, but I've never scripted an entire zombie video game during one.
Besides the fact that the supporting cast was written by horny Japanese teens, they're all programmed to move with the same drunken coordination as Chuck. That means they spend their entire rescue killing each other and you. One husband and wife team were clearly not trying to shoot anything other than each other. He must have mistaken her for a zombie since her tits weren't out. I'm not sure why she was shooting him, but I imagine it has something to do with the writer of this game being shot at by every woman he's ever met.
Lack of ImaginationAt first I thought that this is one FAS symptom that Dead Rising 2 didn't have. The game's proudest feature is the ability to duct tape objects together to invent new weapons. At first this seemed creative and intuitive. Baseball Bat + Box of Nails! Machine Gun + Motorcycle! But after spending hours trying to figure out what goes with Wheelchair, I realized how fragile the line is between totally awesome and a three-year-old screaming random words. Lawnmower + Wheelchair? That's not imagination -- that's random nonsense ending in soupy suicide. Spinning blades on a giant LEGO head? That's ... shit, I don't even know anymore. Great? All I know is that whatever coroner finds the bizarre smear of my remains is going to wonder how I became such a fucking idiot.
Poor Problem-Solving SkillsSo Chuck's solution to keeping his daughter safe is to lock her up with maniacs. And his solution to the zombie apocalypse is running towards cleavage and listening to the mouth above it fuss. Chuck has shittier problem-solving skills than a vegan in a heterosexual restaurant. And it's not only in the narrative; Dead Rising 2's gameplay is the same way.
In most video games, a boss battle requires pattern recognition and a well-executed plan. However, Chuck's attacks are so unresponsive and clumsy that it takes him 20 hours to unhook an 18-hour bra. The designers seem to know this, so instead of elaborate cinematic fights, you hit everything with a bat. Everything. If you find yourself trying to be cute and falling back to scrounge a sniper rifle and outflank your enemy, there's a five-year-old somewhere who's already pounded him into a puddle. And as soon as it's explained to him what a pussy is, he'll know that you are one.
Abnormal Behavior Including Hyperactivity, Inability To Concentrate, Social Withdrawal and AnxietyWow, I think that's how the box actually advertises this game. "Social withdrawal! Anxiety! For 1-2 Players!" Dead Rising 2 takes place in zombies-all-around-you real time, including all your phone calls and conversations with disagreeable survivors. That means that you're often being chewed on while trying to read. It's like getting to third base on the floor of a subtitled movie -- you're making both things less enjoyable. The DR2 structure is a cross between Groundhog Day and a scavenger hunt, which is compelling and infuriating at the same time. This is the work of evil psychologists trying to get the different parts of your brain to declare war on each other.
You don't even get to relax during the impossibly long loading screens that appear every time you go through a door because the moment it lets you play again, a wall of mouths is lunging at you. Pausing the game at any time cuts Chuck's momentum so that when you leave the pause menu the zombie chasing you welcomes you back with a slobbery tackle. If you look away from the game, it puts its finger in your sister. But you have to remember, it's not its fault -- Dead Rising 2 didn't ask to be born this way. And ... and dammit, I love it.
Seanbaby invented being funny on the Internet. You can follow him on Twitter.