Dead Rising 2: Day 0 – Brilliant marketing or major stumble?

So yesterday the mini-prequel for Dead Rising 2 went on sale for $5.00. At least I think that’s what 400 points equates to. I hate MS Points, but that’s a rant for another day.

I’ve heard people criticize this game as being a paid demo and you can certainly look at it that way (though curiously enough, there’s a trial version… which would be a demo of a demo) but I guess their intent was to deliver you some unique content that would get you psyched for the game. At $5 that seemed ok and I liked the idea that I wouldn’t have to replay this content in the full version. And after an hour or so of playing I felt like I had a really good idea of what the full game would be like (though since I played a bit of the first Dead Rising, I had a good idea anyway).

So maybe this is brilliant marketing. They get a few bucks out of us, we get a fun experience and excited about the game. And it was fun, though I felt the rather heavy storyline (your 6-7 year old daughter has been bitten and you need to keep her from turning into a zombie) kind of jarred against the campy fun of jamming a traffic cone over a zombie’s head and then bludgeoning it with a purse. The voice acting of the little girl is what made the difference I guess..she sounded really cute, though the Dead Rising engine can’t actually make anything or anyone LOOK cute.

Still, I had fun and don’t regret the purchase at all. So, marketing thumbs up!

But then there’s the flip side. Dead Rising is kind of a 1-trick pony. You kill zombies with any and everything available while playing what’s essentially an adventure game of sorts. Find hidden items, escort people. There’s a bit of level-up goodness, too.

For me, Dead Rising 2: Day 0 really scratched that zombie obliterating itch. I liked it! But I felt like it was enough and that I really didn’t need to run out and spend $60 for more of the same in the full game. Admittedly I wasn’t 100% convinced to buy before I tried Day 0, but it was within the realm of possibility. Now it isn’t. Dead Rising 2 is now on my “grab it on sale for $20-$40 sometime in the future” list.

I guess you could point at a demo and argue that it is the same double-edged sword, but Day 0 has to be a bit longer and more engaging than a typical demo in order for them to justify the $5 cost.

I’m just wondering if Capcom will generate more, or fewer, sales by putting this out there. I guess we’ll never know for sure.