What would Dead Rising 2 have been if it had starred original Dead Rising protagonist Frank West instead of glum, whiny Chuck Greene? At once the same and more fun. Off The Record is a re-imagining in the style of an old Marvel 'What If?' comic or DC 'Elseworld' tale. Myself, I spent most of the cut scenes being distracted by how much Frank looks like Dan Aykroyd.
In the story itself, very little has changed. There's the same overriding arc, albeit with a few surprises and changes along the way to suit the different personalities in protagonists. With Frank comes his camera, meaning that you have the opportunity to photograph events as you experience them. You can earn points and trophies therein, adding a little variation to gameplay. Also added are a few new weapons to build and an all-new environment to play in. A small funfair sits off the Strip, where you can amuse yourself by jumping on a rollercoaster and pretending you're doing Zombieland. A checkpoint mechanism has been brought to the game, making psychopath battles less infuriating - but also less tense and rewarding when completed.
But the biggest improvement comes with a sandbox mode, doing away with the story and the ticking clock and any need to find Zombrex. There are medals to be won and cash to earn, but mostly it's an excuse to cut loose and trash some zombies. There's an achievement to kill 100,000 zombies. But by the time you've done that, you'll probably never want to play the game again. Zombie killing gets old eventually, even when you do it with as much style as Frank West.
I honestly wish that Off The Record had come out before Dead Rising 2. It's a much improved playing experience, making the game even more fun and a little less broken. But there's no ignoring that it's exactly the same story. After the initial joy of playing as Frank wears off, it settles down and you find yourself going through the same old motions as Chuck Greene only a year previously. It's even more frustrating in that I was on a third playthrough of Dead Rising 2 when Off The Record was released. Off The Record makes Dead Rising 2 redundant whilst also being a little redundant itself.
If you've not played Dead Rising 2, skip that game, add an extra Scream Queen to the score below and go straight for Off The Record. It's the definitive Dead Rising experience.