The Dead Rise and Fall
I’m going to be completely honest. I absolutely love B-horror movies. I do. There is a certain level of magic that goes into those productions I just find fascinating. Most are so bad they turn into comedic features. Let me tell you, after the years and countless hours I have put into those movies, I get a little giddy when it comes to a game that can capture the same essence of this movie genre. Dead Rising has always been a series I could rely on for this transition. Much like Saints Row , Dead Rising never took itself too seriously, and I have always respected the development team for that–for just not giving a damn in the believability of the scenarios.
So when the Dead Rising 3 announcement came along, I felt a certain longing for campy horror inside clichéd plotlines. Naturally, I did what any true fan of the series would do. I began playing the series again, but not Off the Record , ‘cause that is just infuriating. After completing the original entries, I came away with what I wanted to see in Dead Rising 3 . I knew what the franchise needed to fix itself, and what it would need to raise the bar, not just for the franchise, but also for the whole genre. Then I began to wait.
The wait is now over, and Dead Rising 3 has been spinning in my Xbox One for some time now. The simple answer to the question of the game’s quality is that it’s a solid experience all around. However, unfortunately (and fortunately), there’s more to it than just a solid experience.
Picking up some ten years after the events of Dead Rising 2 , players find themselves in Los Perdidos: a town overrun by more zombies than you can shake a stick at. Literally, it is massive. You play as Nick, a mechanic who has an uncanny knack for making things. At the start of the game, he is amongst a group of survivors trying to find a way out of Los Perdidos. Of course, that just isn’t going to happen, otherwise the game would be over already. After a few quick refresher courses in controls and combining weapons, you find out that the President is somewhere in Los Perdidos, and the government is going to blow the town to smithereens (or at least the organic life forms) in roughly five days. It’s time to get out of Dodge. So with a campy, over-the-top storyline in place, we will dig a little deeper into the game.
Let’s not have any illusions of grandeur here, this is a Dead Rising game. As such, there are certain “series staples” you will either love or hate. Melee weapons are always better than firearms; collision mechanics are not as sharp as they should be (though this can at times be a godsend), and you will often use health items by mistake. Some say the health bar mentality is something we should not be experiencing anymore, but (while it can be annoying) I, for one, find it refreshing to still have the need to monitor your health instead of just sitting behind a wall to regenerate. But this brings up an obvious problem when playing the game.
Trudging through countless gaggles of zombies never feels like much of a challenge. When you are faced with a serious threat, you find yourself not really prepared. I am, of course, referring to the psychos you will face. After all, we all know in the zombie apocalypse, other humans are going to be the biggest threat that survivors will face. Here in Dead Rising 3 though, the problem is not really anything new, it just sticks out a bit more obviously. Seriously, these fights will cause a level of frustration that would cause blissfully unaware babies to start crying. This is only accented more by how damn slow Nick is to stand up after being knocked down.
However, one big thing was changed this time around: the use of the in-game clock. When characters say they have stuff to do or tell you, in previous games, you only have a certain amount of hours or whatever to get it done. This is no more, and it’s something fans have long wanted from the series. Some of the side-quests still run on a specific timeline and therefore give you a little bit more tension to how you play. The plus of having the clock gone still outweighs any minus. In addition to this, the game no longer requires you to find half-dead survivors that you have to lead back to a safe house. Having this annoyance removed from the game mostly makes up for all other issues, big or small.
Graphically, Dead Rising 3 is a nice-looking game. There’s a lot more texture than before, and the insane amount of zombies populating the screen adds a sense of overwhelming circumstances to an already desolate world. As much as I can praise the grim and gritty look of the world, there are also a few hiccups that bring into question Dead Rising’s next-gen acceptance: There are several instances of environmental pop-in during cinematics; the characters occasionally don’t look quite as realistic as they normally do, and my major pet peeve–the blood is shiny. Glistening in the wind shiny. It detracts from the realistic approach Capcom set out with this title. Because the characters in the game look damn good.
Much like other titles on the Xbox One, the character emotions come across hyper realistic on their faces. Couple this with the voice work, and we have some campy, horror-movie action firmly locked into place. Even with the voice acting being a little vacant in parts, you find yourself wondering if this was done on purpose. The other golden nugget in Dead Rising 3 is the score. It is hauntingly ominous. The score really succeeds in adding several layers into the context of the story.
Dead Rising 3 is exactly what I wanted. I wanted a game that focused on some of the issues the previous entries had and tried to fix them while staying true to the series. In some cases, this is done perfectly. In others, well, let’s just say we might need to revisit the old drawing board. Are those things bad enough to prevent you from having a good time with the game? Absolutely not. It’s fun. It’s as fun, if not more, than any of the previous games. It’s not going to change the world ten times over, but for a launch title, this is where we should be. Dead Rising 3 might not be the game everyone wanted, but it is a game we needed. I, for one, am thankful it is here.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.0 Graphics
The graphics are nice for the most part. 3.6 Control
Controls are the same as in previous entries into the series. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
This is a B-movie script and sound effects. Depending on who you are, this is a plus or minus. 3.5 Play Value
Always a fan of the series, this is exactly what I expected. 3.7 Overall Rating – Avoid
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best