Axe? Assault Rifle? Traffic Cone? The choice is yours...
Dead Rising 3 is a shining example of what we expect from launch titles with new consoles; a safe and tentative step into the future.The new generation of consoles weren’t destined to be as revolutionary in the gaming world as their previous counterparts were seven years ago. A refinement of what we already had, bringing us slightly closer to the PC master race was what we were promised and, in many ways, Dead Rising 3 is a shining example of this.
It’s a typical launch title; a refinement of previous generation standards, held back by some of the same issues, but shows signs of better things to come.
For some - myself included - the first two Dead Rising titles represented something of a clunky and, at times, uncontrollable mess. Sure there was fun to be had for those who could cope with the awkward and fiddly controls, but killing zombies on a massive scale was nowhere near as enjoyable as it should have been.
But Capcom Vancouver set their stall out very early on that this is a new Dead Rising game, one that is infinitely better than its predecessors.
It’s instantly clear that new zombie-slayer Nick Ramos is on an adventure that is both perilous and full of action. As soon as you assume control you’re heading through hordes of zombies on a partially destroyed highway briefly before a commercial airliner plummets into the ground a short distance from your location. It seems, once again, that zombies have made the proverbial hit the fan.
Given the number of zombies on screen at one time, it’s hardly surprising the city is in such a state as there are hundreds of them stalking the streets, either out to cause chaos or waiting to have their heads lopped off. It’s here, in instances like this, where Dead Rising flexes its muscles and gives your new hardware a workout, signifying the start of a new generation. There’s no two ways about it, this would never run on a 360.
In a similar fashion to the previous two titles, you find yourself 72 hours after the zombie outbreak and among a small group of survivors looking to escape from the madness of Los Peridos. In terms of depth, the protagonist Nick isn’t totally captivating as he has very little story or personality, but he does have a few gem moments throughout the game to stop him from being completely uninteresting. After being locked in the city by the government as part of some shady conspiracy, you have to complete several quests to escape before the city is set ablaze to kill the infection.
It’s the supporting cast that really make Dead Rising 3 the game that it is, which was something that was missing from the other titles. Rather than being a chore to save or take down some of the folks scattered around Los Peridos, you feel obliged to help them and actually care about some of them. There are moments of empathy and emotion, and then there are moments of utter madness, leaving you to wonder what drugs were inhaled during development. One key moment is fighting a morbidly obese woman on a mobility scooter and making her choke to death on her own vomit. Yes, you read that correctly.
For all it tries to have a serious overtone to it, Dead Rising is silly at heart and balances the two moods perfectly. Whilst Nick sometimes has to come to terms with his morality issues and the way in which human interactions in a crisis are shown, it’s hard to take events seriously sometimes when you’re wielding a chainsaw paddle of death. Or a sledgehammer with grenades strapped to either sides of its head. Crafting is back, better than ever and the sheer volume of weapons at your disposal is ridiculous. From a humble stack of plates, to a devastating RPG you can pretty much wield anything you set your eyes on and the same can be said for combining any number of items you can get your mitts on. As you progress through the game and level up, you can unlock blueprints which grant you the ability to create new and unique weapons and also combine vehicles, turning you into an unstoppable zombie slaying machine.
Crafting is back, bigger than ever and the sheer volume of weapons at your disposal is ridiculous.
In some cases, this is actually a downfall in Dead Rising 3 as you very rarely feel like you are in actual danger or peril. Even when you’re surrounded and the odds seem to be out of your favour, it’s not too difficult to escape with a few swings of a katana or a few short bursts of an assault rifle. The most dangerous sections are during the night when the zombies become stronger, and where you fight actual humans rather than the undead. There’s a nice blend between the two and in some cases both the undead and live citizens pose a threat to you in tandem.
Nick doesn’t always make survival the easiest of tasks it must be said, as some of the old troubles with controlling your character and item acquisition still remain. With so many items available at one time comes issues with selecting which one you actually want to pick up. You can’t cycle between the nearby items; you have to move about a bit until the one you want is selected. When you’re trying to hightail it from a horde, this is far from ideal and considering you will have trouble negotiating around obstacles and the environment then these are only accentuated. The majority of the time there are very few issues with controlling Nick, but there are some buggy sections when trying to climb over cars or sprinting around an upcoming corner.
The Walking DeadWhilst the game is a crazy ride of zombie slaying and survival, it’s not one that looks visually appealing the whole time. There’s one thing for sure, this isn’t a game that shows the power of Xbox One like RYSE and Forza do. The volume of zombies seems to have taken away some of the available power/budget for graphics fidelity and attention to detail. It looks good, but not a title that represents a significant step over the previous generation, with textures frequently being bland quite and a hell of a lot of late pop-in occurring. Then there are the bugs, and there are so many of them. Fair enough, the majority aren’t game-breaking, but some are; this extracts the fun from the game entirely when you have sunk 10+ hours into it, only to have to start all over again.
Similarly, some of the quests are rather dull and the formula gets rinsed out and repeated so often that it begins to tear at the seams. Apart from the main story, there are side missions around the city which boil down to fetch quests more often than not which can become rather repetitive. Thankfully there are as many outfits and collectibles to find as there are weapons and vehicles, which keeps things entertaining and gives you free rein to muck about in between missions to break some of the monotony experienced.
Then there’s Kinect. The revolutionary camera that has been the subject of a great overhaul since the previous generation, and its functionality finds its way into Dead Rising 3. Whether you regard its implementation as worthwhile depends on your opinion of the Kinect system as a whole. The game can be paused and navigated by voice commands which works well, sometimes, but can also be really annoying as Kinect will occassionally pause or resume the game for no apparent reason. You can also use your voice to distract enemies which is actually quite useful, or shout at bosses mid-battle to tell them to calm down or that they’re crazy. For what reason you do this is still unclear, but you can do it nonetheless.
Probably the most enticing prospect for Dead Rising 3 is Nightmare mode, which ramps up the intensity of the experience by shortening the time you are allotted to complete missions and help survivors. Whereas the main campaign is more of a gentle stroll through the game, Nightmare mode gives you more to think about in terms of equipment management, mission completion and survival instincts. It’s a good job really, given that throughout the entire time of playing the main campaign I died only once.
- Massive fun
- A good sandbox
- Tons of weapons and equipment
- Doesn't look next gen
Dead Rising 3 Xbox One ReviewFor all the fun that you can have in Dead Rising 3, you can't help but feel that some potential has been wasted in the rumoured transition from being a 360 title to an Xbox One title. It's not a looker, there have been many corners cut in terms of graphics and appearance with weak textures and frequent pop-in from the upcoming environment. It's to be expected as familiarity with new hardware takes time, but given the quality we have come to appreciate from the outgoing generation the bar was set higher. What is nice however are the SmartGlass capabilities that make mission selection and navigation infinitely better and easier, and show how these sort of features can be integrated in the future. Making navigation choices on the fly is satisfying and saves from constant pausing and breaking of play. You might not necessarily consider this as the title which justifies your outlay for the console, but it doesn't get more fun than bonking a zombie on the head with a traffic cone wearing stripper boots.
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