Published on December 17th, 2013 | by Gary Mullen4
Review: Dead Rising 3
Dead Rising 3… let’s get something clear from the outset of this review – I don’t do zombie games, don’t like zombies, don’t play zombie themed games, so I’ve never played the first two retail games in the series or the arcade titles that were also released, however I have found myself falling in love with Dead Rising 3!
So what is Dead Rising 3? As I previously said, it is a survival horror game developed by the guys at Capcom Vancouver and published by Microsoft Studios. It is now the 5th game in the series if you wish to include the two arcade titles, and early this year it was announced at E3. At first I wasn’t too impressed due to my dislike for zombie games, there are too many of these games and I just generally don’t like zombie horror games, though I did enjoy playing Valve’s Left 4 Dead series with my friends. So with all that being said this wasn’t on my “to buy list” when I was purchasing my Xbox One, Watch Dogs had that honour but later in the year we found out Ubisoft was to delay Watch Dogs till next year so what else could I buy? This brought me back to Dead Rising 3… ooohhh dear.
Dead Rising 3 is an open world game which gives you complete free run of the city to carry out your main and sub missions or you could totally blow off the missions and find fun ways to kill those zombies. The city itself is quite small but packed full of zombies who just want your brains, your heart and well they just want to eat you. The missions are spread over the whole area of the city and you will have to fight your way through the zombie hordes to get to a suitable area for each of the missions. On your way to each mission you may come across survivors who need your help by killing the zombies surrounding there van or building, these can be worth doing as you can call for help from those survivors later in the game to help you out.
Dead Rising 3’s story takes place 10 years after the events of Dead Rising 2. You play as Nick Ramos, a young mechanic which works out well as the game brings back the feature to create “combo weapons” and Capcom have added an addition of “combo vehicles” which just screams fun! The world is in greater chaos now and the zombie outbreak has caused a nationwide pandemic, the human race is facing a dark time. A small group of survivors must escape the city to survive not just the zombie threat but of another. The survivors are stuck in a locked down city which has been overrun by the zombie hordes and the government’s plan to eradicate the problem is the only way they know how, which is firebomb the city and remove all trace of the infection. It all seems simple enough doesn’t it? Did I mention how bad the zombie issue was? I screen grabbed a picture during my gameplay and counted the amount of zombies on the screen, there were 142 zombies!! That’s right they were over hundred zombies on the screen chasing me! As you will learn as you play it’s not about pretty graphics, but about the scale and amount of objects on the screen at once.
While I mentioned the firebombing of the city, this brings back the feature from previous Dead Rising games, the ticking clock. Before you get worried about your gameplay getting limited, you shouldn’t. It doesn’t tick all that fast as I had plenty of time to have fun killing masses of zombies along with doing the main story and sub missions before the government plans to end the zombie infection in the city.
Word for the wise, you shouldn’t go head to head with a horde of zombies with your fists. Firstly you aren’t Bruce Lee. If you do, the zombies will gather round you and you will be surrounded and your escape route will disappear. If that does happen you will mostly likely find yourself dead, which reverts you back to the last checkpoint losing everything you gathered like experience points, and blueprints you found. I found this rather annoying as sometimes I just wanted to chill and go on a mad zombie killing spree and leave the mission hunting for another day, but I would usually find myself dying due to taking too much on and losing any cool blueprints that I came across.
With this massive zombie problem, you will be hoping that our heroes will have a wide range of “tools” to help them get them through the problem that is the zombies. Well you won’t be disappointed! Like previous games there is a wide choice of objects you can use to unleash your anger on the zombie apocalypse, from the trusty plank of wood, up to date weapons like your guns. Each weapon has their advantages and disadvantages; the flare gun is handy to clear a horde of zombies by shooting it into the distance which makes the zombies chase it, leaving you with a clear path but honestly, where is the fun in that! The grenade launcher allows you to hit small group of zombies with a single shot, however the reload times and limited ammo are not so good in the long run. While the machine gun is your average weapon, just enough fire power to take down a zombie with enough ammo to get you through a street, but sometimes getting up and close with a baseball bat may be the only option.
There are also a large selection of vehicles which you can use. If the emergency lights are flashing then the car is ready for the taking. Knowing this will save embarrassment before getting close to a car you think is good and before you notice it’s a trap! With the world being quite open, you would think just get a good car and race to the end. With that kind of thinking you are out of luck. The city is full of roadblocks and burnt out cars as you would expect after a zombie riot has ran through the city. You should be able to see what roads have major roadblocks via the map however, be warned some clear roads may not be as clear as you expect, there will be hundreds of zombies which don’t mind taking a beating to disable your car.
A preview look of a vehicle combo plus me failing all in 10 seconds!
Now I know what you’re thinking, if you played the other Dead Rising games are you able to combine you weapons again to make something awesome?! Of course you can silly, I did mention blueprints and “combo weapons” at the start didn’t I? Plus now you’re able to combine vehicles to get you around the city in style, why cruise around on a Harley when you can mix and match a Harley with a road roller! Now you can look cool and squash zombies at the same time! Plus it doesn’t end there, you can combine weapons and vehicles to make the ultimate zombie killing machine. As long as you have the blueprints, you can combine weapons/vehicles anywhere without a work bench on the condition that you can see both of the items that you need for the combo in plain view. I do have a tiny moan about the vehicle combination, some are not improvements and can make the original vehicle worse than it was before. For example, combining two bikes is not something I would do again; I didn’t like the outcome of the combination but I guess this comes down to personal preference and I’m sure plenty of others will love it. As for the weapon combinations, some were great fun. My personal favourite is mixing the shotgun and grenades to get a Boom Cannon, and I challenge you to find a more fun weapon in the game!
With every zombie kill you will gather experience points, and with that you will need X amount of experience points to level up. You can also get experience points from completing challenges and once you level up you will get points which can enrich your character by unlocking weapons, and additional weapon slots for said weapons. Best to plan what you will need ahead of time as some weapons are key to having an easy boss fight.
It might be worth noting my initial plan was to blow the storyline and kill zombies the whole time, however I seemed to have been dragged into the story without thinking about what I was doing. This could of been the lure of creating more awesome weapons, or it could be I was getting too attached to the NPCs in my group and I wanted to save each one. Plus I was more than happy to go down killing zombies when the city gets blown up but it didn’t feel right sentencing them to the same ending as I. So my feelings towards the other survivors made me get stuck in to the story at hand and get out of this doomed city. The story itself was steady with some sinister characters that would make your skin crawl and several boss battles that made you think on how to beat them. Overall the storyline is not something that will go down in history as the best story ever but it’s what you expect from a game like this.
Microsoft’s not so new gimmick makes its way to Dead Rising, SmartGlass. Microsoft said at this year’s E3 that they are even more invested to push it on to their games which are published under Microsoft Studios. SmartGlass does bring in some basic functionality along with an exclusive mission for the application. Now I’m not keen on the whole tablet on my lap while playing the game on the TV but while playing I thought I should give the application a chance to see what was on offer and to find out if it provided any improvement to the experience. The main feature is the live map which can be a godsend when trying to work your way through the city, but after long use of trying to navigate the streets of the city while looking at the tablet, I found it very distracting which can be problematic when zombies are trying to kill you. Other features SmartGlass gives the game include the exclusive mission from which the main feature was shown at E3, the airstrike. Yep, from what it seems that feature is only for SmartGlass. So does SmartGlass enhance the game in anyway? Not really, it’s more a distraction but I did enjoy using the live map to help me get through the streets and find areas I hadn’t searched.
Let’s talk about the problems of the game. The biggest complaint people have about this game is the graphic; the game finds itself in-between generations, not quite polished enough to be next gen but the game wouldn’t be able to run on the 360. However being a launch title this is a normal situation; Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero which were the Xbox 360 launch titles also had the same complaints. Once you start playing you will get lost in the gameplay and find out that the visuals are not the important part of a game like this, the power of this game lies in the scale. To have hundreds of zombies chasing you throughout the city is the reason why the game is needing the extra grunt of the Xbox One (the old gameplay over graphics situation!). On my run through of the game, I didn’t encounter any bugs or issues with the gameplay.
I suppose this wouldn’t be an Xbox review without touching on the achievements! Taking a look at the achievement list, you can see a dreaded grinding achievement, “Kill 100,004 zombies”. This is a large number and can be quite off putting when you are trying to get the full set but this isn’t as hard as it seems, as you can destroy a lot of zombies in a short space of time but this will probably require more than one play-through to get this one. Good thing is you can jump in to the game at any chapter you have finished and all of your stats and blueprints will stay with you which is always a positive note when doing grinding achievements.
So after all that, what does this game offer? We have a decent yet generic zombie plotline, iffy graphics, mind numbing achievements but an awesome array of weapons/vehicles and hordes of zombies to be killed, so what does this mean in terms of the game? This is probably one of the better launch titles of the Xbox One, plus for any fan of zombie games its a must. Only real issue is the repetitive gameplay of killing zombies. While it’s great to see a massive number of zombies on the screen it can be quite tiresome, you have to be in the right mood for this game and to plan your attack and sometimes you just can’t be bothered with the hassle involved. While the weapons and vehicle combos are fun, they are short lived. In the end if you haven’t got this game I would add it to the shopping basket as it will seriously fill in a good week worth of gaming in a very sadistic way.
So there we have Dead Rising 3. I will leave you some final advice before you take on the game, ensure you are always carrying food, and if you can get your hands on a flare gun, grab a hold of it as fighting isn’t always the best option, however sometimes it’s just great fun to go all in guns blazing!
Summary: Let's be clear, I don't really do zombie games but this had me hooked. While the visuals don't push the console, the zombies will!