Back in 2006 fans of zombie games rejoiced with the release of Dead Rising for Xbox 360. The controls may have been clunky, the difficulty level high, and the graphics little more than average, but an open world zombie game with characteristics borrowed heavily from Dawn of the Dead was guaranteed to be a success.
2010 saw the release of Dead Rising 2, which took all the features of its predecessor and multiplied them tenfold. It was bigger, funnier, harder, and most importantly they had solved most of the issues with the controls which made the original, at times, frustrating to play.
We’ve also had two XBL Arcade games tied in to Dead Rising 2, working as both a prologue and an epilogue, as well as Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, which saw the return of Frank West as the hero.
Each of these games were well received because of their lighter tone and the ability to kill zombies in unique ways thanks to the wide variety of weapons and combos.
Which is why you have to question why Capcom have decided to approach Dead Rising 3, a release title for Xbox One, with a darker, grittier edge. We know that dark and sombre are trending right now (thanks to the success of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies) and we know that dark zombie games get people playing (thanks to the success of… all of them), and it was a nice change of pace to play a zombie game which didn’t take itself too seriously.
The mechanics we know and love are still there, and to be perfectly honest, a lot of the humor is still there as well. We may have been advertised a more serious zombie slaughtering affair, but what we have is not at all different from what fans of Dead Rising have come to expect from the series.
We still have crazy combo weapons, we still have various tasks to complete in a certain time frame, and we still have those colorful psychopaths to defeat along with their cut scenes and gruesome deaths.
In fact, very little has changed at all.
The graphics are now better and the controls feel even more refined. Playing Dead Rising after playing Dead Rising 3 is a horrendous experience, and it makes you wonder how anybody lasted more than 5 minutes playing the original without throwing their controller out of the window in a fit of murderous rage.
This time we play as Rick, a mechanic stuck in a city which is in the middle of a zombie outbreak. It’s up to Rick and his comrades to track down pieces of a plane so that they can rebuild it and fly to safety before the entire city is nuked. Of course along the way Rick has to battle endless hoards of zombies (and I mean endless – there is constantly a countless number of zombies on screen at any one time which is hugely impressive – and they’re not clones of each other, too), looters, thugs, villains and psychopaths.
Gone is the constant need for hunting down Zombrex (thank God) and instead the focus is on story, adventure and zombie killin’. This certainly helps the game to flow in a much smoother fashion than its predecessors, and the ‘pick and choose’ side missions are varied and interesting (with only a handful of those being fetch quests).
The game also introduces a challenge mode whereby players can partake in tasks, with the reward being a rather meaty amount of PP – the currency needed if you want to level up Rick and progress comfortably in the game.
There are a lot of collectables available in Dead Rising 3, which will certainly keep completionists busy. So far I have only managed to find around half of the combo weapons available (including the introduction of some incredibly over-the-top combo vehicles) and that already feels like a pretty overwhelming amount. Some of the weapons available to create really do have to be seen to be believed. Case in point: a gun that shoots dildos. True story.
The world itself is huge, and you never get too much of a feeling that you are constantly backtracking. For me it seems strange that Capcom chose to set the game in a city, as it seems beneath them to go for something so simple. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do for a location if the game manages to drum up enough interest so that a third sequel can be realized.
It’s a fun game, and is certainly worthy of being a release title on Xbox One. I am yet to find myself becoming bored with it, as the story, weapons and various ways of slaughtering the zombies are enough to keep me coming back for more.
Co-op is as strong here as it was in Dead Rising 2, although it is easy to get frustrated if somebody joins your game with no real interest in playing the game ‘properly’. Maybe that’s the boring fart side of me talking, but if I want to stand there smacking zombies with a coat hanger then I can just as easily do that in my own game rather than hijacking somebody else’s.
Dead Rising 3 is a great game. It has memorable moments, fantastic graphics and smooth gameplay. For me, it is the best exclusive title to be released on either of the big two consoles to be released this holiday season.
Let us know what you think about Dead Rising 3 in the comments below! Is it the best launch title on Xbox One?
Article by - Mike Jeavons
Update Date: 12/17/2013