Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Soundtrack September: Dead Rising 2

Game: Dead Rising 2 (2010)
Platforms: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Composers: Oleska Lozowchuk et al

As much press as they earned with their hundreds of zombies on screen at a time, Dead Rising and Dead Rising 2 are both triumphs of set design. Even in DR2's gaudy Fortune City setting, the details of the environment make the gigantic shopping/entertainment complex feel plausible.

For this, the Dead Rising 2 owes as much to its music as to its visuals. Constantly underpinning the action of the game are music cues that alternately evoke feelings of horror, excitement and shopping. Indeed, what steals the show is the totally believable background music being piped into Fortune City's shops, restaurants and casinos. Whether it's a Mexican restaurant's mariachi horns, the heartland rock soundscape of Bennie Jack's BBQ Shack or any of the coma-inducing slow jams played in the mall, every cue on this soundtrack is produced with attention to authenticity. The music deftly spans a spectrum of genres that would make Ween jealous.

With such believable yet kitsch music playing around the player at all times, the game becomes something more than just an orgy of zombie dismemberment. One gets the sense that the game's designers put far more thought into the conception of Fortune City than meets the eye. The tacky result is a setting so believably American, it becomes eerily easy to imagine the game's grim scenario playing out at any comparable retail hub.

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