Dead Rising 2, despite all the wonderful taped-together implements of destruction, was missing something. Or so Capcom thought, anyway. Hence the release of Dead Rising 2: Off The Record, which replaces earnest motocross driver Chuck Greene with misanthropic photographer Frank West as the main character.

Frank West, for those of you with short memories, was the chap from the first Dead Rising game. Instead of valiantly fighting to save his daughter from the zombie plague, he took photographs of people missing their heads and happened to uncover a vast conspiracy almost by accident.

Well, he’s back, for better or worse, and he’s brought his camera with him. We tooled around for a bit to see if the new additions made it worth a purchase.

Dead Rising 2: Off The Record screenshot
Lego masks? On zombie heads? OF COURSE

I’ve covered wars, you know
Frank’s camera makes a return – in addition to earning XP by killing things with combo weapons, you can now level up by taking pictures of exciting events. Along with Drama, Brutality, Horror and Humour, Erotica returns as a viable photo subject – so if a sexy lady zombie falls over and you take a picture up her skirt, you get more points. Stay classy, Capcom.

You can evern share pictures with friends in Co-Op mode, if you find a particularly Dramatic/Brutal/Horrible/Humorous/Arousing situation that you just can’t keep to yourself.

Sandbox mode
One of the problems with Dead Rising (and its sequel) was the levelling system. If you ran into a situation that was too difficult to tackle, you were encouraged to restart the game – keeping all of your upgraded stats and skills, but redoing all of the plot again to gain even more XP.

Not ideal. To counter this, Capcom have introduced a Sandbox mode – activate it, and all the missions (and that ever-present timer) are switched off, and Frank can engage in zombie-smashing mayhem and exploration with carefree abandon. To liven up proceedings, Challenges are scattered around the map, which range from killing a certain number of undead to putting novelty hats on as many as possible - all in the name of bonus XP.

Dead Rising 2 Off The Record Screenshot
Frank West is kind of overweight and rubbish, which we appreciate in a videogame hero

I can see Uranus!
The map’s been updated too with a new Uranus Zone – a space-orientated theme park. While we’re glad of the extra space to run around in, we’re not sure if it warrants the forty quid you’ll need to gain access to it.

A whole different story
Well, not entirely different – you’re still scrubbing around Las Vegas, fighting zombies and evading psychos, but the addition of Frank means that a few important features are changed and a handful of new baddies, missions and combo weapons are thrown into the mix.

Overall, though, this is still Dead Rising 2 once you peel away the novelty. If you missed the original, this is a great place to start as nothing’s been lost (although you might not get all the self-referential gags) but if you’ve already got a copy of Chuck Greene’s adventures in your collection, there might not be enough here to warrant buying it all over again.

Dead Rising 2: Off The Record is set for a UK release on 14 October