Dead Rising (XBOX 360) Review

Dead Rising

The original Dead Rising was one of those games that looked amazing: free-roaming zombie outbreak in a mall with loads of weapons, including stupid comedic ones? Yes please! Sadly, upon playing it, the tight time limit and poor companion AI really let it down… At least by memory, what about now?! Has this somehow changed? I am replaying it because of the film I’m reviewing alongside it, or am I doing it because I truly believe something may have changed in the past decade or so? … Yeah. Well, maybe it’s not as bad as I remember? Let’s find out!

Background:

Dead Rising 1

Frank goes full on slapstick with a frying pan attack!

Dead Rising was released exclusively for the XBOX 360 in August 2006 in the US, with the rest of the world getting it a month later. It was digitally ported to the PS4, XBOX One and PC in 2016 for its tenth anniversary.

Despite being made by CAPCOM, the game has no in-story connection to the Resident Evil franchise, it’s an entirely separate zombie-based game series…

Gameplay:

Dead Rising 4

Everyone loves tightly-timed escort missions, don’t they?

The actual gameplay is quite simple to explain. You move around an open sandbox zombie infested mall, and you can attack hoards of the undead with either melee or ranged weapons, from baseball bats and guns, to footballs and mannequins, to TVs and Mega Man’s Mega Buster, somehow. Basically you can enter any shop in the mall, or any of the behind-the-scenes areas, and pick up anything you see and use it, even if it’s effectively useless. That was definitely the highlight of the game when it came out, that and the amount of zombies on screen to use the weapons on. Throughout the game you can level up with “PP”, or Prestige Points, allowing you to increase you strength, speed or carrying capacity. You gain PP by completing missions, killing large amounts of zombies, or using your camera to take photos, with PP based on stuff like “Horror”, “Erotica” and “Outtakes”. It’s a fun system, and ahead of its time when you think of how many games have photo modes nowadays…

The major problem with the game though is how you’re supposed to complete it. The only mode your start off with has you surviving for 72 hours in the mall while completing “Case Files” that move the story along, plus survivors you have to save and guide to the safe zone and boss characters called “Psychopaths” to defeat (though some of them are connected to the Case Files). All of these things are time sensitive, so if you’re on one end of the mall and the next Case File starts the other end, there is every chance you could miss it, and if you miss it…that’s it. You can continue playing and get a bad ending, but in terms of properly completing the game and getting the next mode, “Overtime Mode”, you have to get the good ending. Overtime Mode is literally an extra day in the mall with more Case Files, complete THAT and you get the proper, full ending and unlock a Sandbox Mode where you can just have fun and mess around in the open world, a.k.a. what most people would’ve liked to do from the off…

The other major problem is the ally A.I. You save someone and try to guide them to the safe zone and they think it’s a good idea to wander into a zombie horde and have a bit of dance. Nobody really likes escort missions at the best of times, but think escort missions x100 but with poor A.I. path-finding and that’s the big issue with getting top marks on this game. So many times you just want to leave them behind for being so stupid…

Some of the Psychopath battles can be fun, but given the limited movesets and not exactly super-responsive movement, they can also be a chore. Like a lot of new franchises from this era, the game has the framework of something special, but that’s all it is…

Graphics and Sound:

Dead Rising 5

I mean, I’m pretty sure he could’ve walked past that zombie, but whatever…

Relatively early days for the 360, the game looks somewhere between the high-end PS2 game and a later 360 game. Perfectly fine, and given the amount of action and movement on-screen upping the resolution of the models would only cause massive slowdown. In other words, the game looks fine given its place in history, but obviously dated compared to today (emphasis on obviously).

The sound is good, but again won’t blow you away. What little music is fine, the voice acting borders on bad but given the horror B-Movie vibe it kind works in its advantage, and the gory spats and thuds of tackling the undead are satisfying enough…

Story:

Dead Rising 6

Given I can’t take 360 screenshots, I couldn’t find a cutscene picture in the press pictures, so here’s Frank on a skateboard to make up for it.

Frank West is a photojournalist who is dropped into a riotous Willamette, Colorado and finds out that a zombie outbreak has occurred. Taking refuge in the local mall Frank soon investigates things (and saves a bunch of locals) and finds out that the virus was spread by a unique kind of bee and that a man named Carlito is planning on spreading them across the country. Frank and other allies manage to stop him, and our “hero” eventually escapes to tell his story, while former researcher / ally Isabela is taken into custody.

That’s a short recap, anyway. There are lots of alternate, most bad and/or vague endings if you don’t do all the Case Files, but they’re obviously non-canon, for what little canon there is in the series…

Downloadable Content:

There were a few “locker keys” available as DLC, each one giving you access to a unique costume… that was it! Ahhhh, early day DLCs, eh?

Thoughts Then:

Dead Rising 2

Ah, the old “violently ram a park bench into them” trick. Good one!

As I said in the opening paragraph, I played it a bit, watched my friends play it quite a bit, but overall I wasn’t impressed. I really liked the idea behind it, but it was just frustrating… Thankfully the sequel came along and fixed pretty much all my issues, but that’s for next week!

3 Star Game Old

Thoughts Now:

Dead Rising 3

I bet there’s a whole generation of fans who associate the Servbots with this franchise rather than Mega Man…

Now? It’s still not good. Still frustrating, still poorly planned, and now doesn’t look particularly good and I have knowledge of a much better sequel, so… It’s even worse. I won’t be too hard on it, obviously it having a latter sequel that’s better is no way to rate a game in isolation, but still, I can’t recommend picking it up, even if you see it on the PS4 digital store for a fiver…

2 Star Game New

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s