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[8/16/06] Dead Rising

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Game: Dead Rising

System: xbox360

Developer: Capcom

Rating: Mature

Type: Singleplayer-Horror




Capcom returns to the zombie genre in a new piece of destruction and horror. However, straying from the Resident Evil series Capcom has provided us with a more upbeat and humorous title that concentrates on the destruction of the sole enemy that has made itself famous among other titles: zombies.


The game features countless amounts of zombies on screen at once and the same amount of weapons that you are able to use to deal with them in any way you please. There are so many weapons that can be used to defeat your normal zombie foe that if you think a specific item can be used as a weapon chances are it will. Dead Rising is seen and played as more of a sandbox game with similar techniques utilized by other games such as GTA.






You are photojournalist Frank West set on a mission to obtain the biggest story of all time by visiting the quiet town of Willamette, Colorado from a tip. As you make your way into the heart of Willamette via helicopter you begin to notice something wrong. The army has blocked all roads into the town and people are wondering the streets moaning and wailing. Cars have stopped dead on streets and some people are attacked by various mobs. Your instinct as a photojournalist springs up and you immediately take pictures of the strange occurrence not knowing of what awaits you ahead...


As you head to the center of Willamette you encounter probably the biggest mall that you have ever seen, complete with various plazas, food court, amusement park, and Environment Park. You tell the pilot to drop you off on the helipad on top of the mall, before you jump out of your getaway ticket you tell the pilot to come back in three days to pick you up.




There are a lot of gameplay concepts in Dead Rising so this section will tend to be long.




o Dead Rising features a level system that enables you abilities and perks to help you throughout the game. This gives the game an RPG feel while still retaining combative elements.


o Your health is represented by orange bars, as you level up you can increase the number of health bars you are able to contain, to a maximum of 12.You can regenerate your health by eating food which will give you back a specific amount of health bars depending on the food.


o Your inventory is represented by empty blank boxes; you can level up and have a max of 12 slots of items. You can keep items in your inventory however each item takes up one box of inventory; during the beginning levels players must choose wisely which items are required to complete a case.


o Prestige Points (PP) are points that level Frank up. You can obtain massive amounts of PP by taking specific pictures, rescuing survivors, completing cases and scoops, and defeating bosses/psychopaths. As you level up (max level 50) you can upgrade your stats like life, inventory, attack, etc. and obtain some new moves. However the game gives out these upgrades randomly but gives special moves in relation to effectiveness to specific levels.


o Main missions are dubbed "Cases" and will advance the storyline further. Cases must be completed to advance the story if the player wants to. Optional missions like rescuing survivors are called scoops, failing a scoop does not inhibit you in any way except a loss chance at obtaining more exp. If you fail to accomplish a case the story will end and you will be presented with the option to continue playing the game (players usually choose this to get achievements, unlock weapons or goodies that take too much time to actually play through the story), or load from a previous save.


o You are given missions by a janitor named Otis that calls you with a transceiver. Whenever you pick-up the call you cannot attack, jump, nor use any weapon. You can however switch to a different item and cancel the message; however Otis will simply call again to give you more missions. This can get quite annoying when surrounded by zombies and your transceiver decides to ring.


The game and its many missions revolve around game time. The whole game lasts 3 whole days or 72 hours. In relation to real time the game takes around 6 - 7 hours of real time to fully complete. Each mission contains a time limit that constantly drains, however the game gives you enough time to complete the main missions and optional side missions. Thankfully you can access a menu by going to your wristwatch that tells the time and the list of missions and how much time they have left (you can also enable a guide arrow for each objective). The game can be harsh on the time limit if you tend to take a *long* time on specific missions causing you to rush through hoards of zombies just in time to make it to the next mission.




When you die in Dead Rising it's game over. It's frustrating to find out that you've been playing for about 2 hours and forgot to save only to die and reload from your last save or start the story all over again. However you keep your current stats when you restart the story.


The save system is probably the aspect that receives much criticism from many players. The save system is limited to a single save slot per save device or gamercard. You can overwrite that slot with another save however you cannot have multiple saves to a single gamercard. There are no checkpoints in the game and progress can only be saved in bathrooms or the "safety room." This frustrates many players if they have saved during times when there is not enough time to complete a mission and players must restart the story, there is nothing lost when the story mode is restarted as you keep the statistics of what you had before you restarted. So players can play the story multiple times to level up and acquire more moves, life, etc.




The Camera is vital to gameplay mechanics as its major purpose is to rack up PP. As you take pictures certain entities on screen are classified in different categories giving you various amounts of PP:

Horror: pictures of zombies.

Drama: pictures of survivors in dire or relieved situations.

Brutality: pictures of zombies being killed or blown apart.

Outtake: ex. putting a Kobun mask on a zombie and taking a picture of it.

Erotica: pictures of female zombie / survivor cleavage.

Misc.: Pictures of nothing really (repeated pictures of survivors give Misc. points).


The Camera's use can also be tied in to specific scoops and cases to advance the story.



Ah the main basis of the game. Dead Rising features a countless number of weapons that can be used to bash the heads of mindless zombies. However Capcom has imported durability and each weapon has a limited use before being broken apart. However books from bookstores extend the life of various weapons and keeping various books in your inventory can make weapons last for a very long time before falling apart as book power ups stock. With all of these weapons and powerups available to the player, Dead Rising gives a much more open feel to the zombie killer genre and replayability.



The Ai in the game tends to be "not very smart" but unfortunately I’m not referring to the zombies themselves but to the survivors that you must save. The survivors tend to lag behind or get themselves stuck in a corner. As you rescue survivors they tend to obey your commands like stay here or follow me, however each survivor behaves differently, some are aggressive and will attack anything causing you to go back and save him/her. Others are complete cowards and will tend to be petrified in a mob of zombies and some will eventually outright kill themselves (if given a gun) of their own will due to their hopelessness. So keeping survivors alive is a pain, but successful rescue will rack you crucial amounts of PP.





The graphics in Dead Rising don't really represent the term "next-gen" as most of the character models have been toned down to compensate for the massive amount of zombies on screen (The 360 can support around 1000 zombies on screen without slowdown). The mall itself is pleasant to the eye yet doesn't feature eye-popping graphics. Capcom has made its point on focusing on the gameplay element than the graphical aspect. The in-game text however is almost unreadable without an HDTV as the game was ment to be played on HDTV and is a real let down for players without one. You can fix this problem by altering your Xbox360 to a widescreen format.




Each weapon contains it's own unique sound and impact on zombies that represent it's effectiveness. A simple bucket thrown at a zombie will resound with a low *thump* while a katana will give a loud *shing* with a dribble of guts and limbs hitting the floor. The sound effects are clearly heard and have no hindrance to the gameplay but to please the player on what he/she had done to eradicate hoards of zombies.


Like every mall, Willamette mall features various forms of Muzak that coincides with various blood splatter hitting the floor and complements the game's atmosphere very well. During boss battles commercial songs are used by various artists that don't really hinder the gameplay yet are kind of distracting due to the lyrics. However the xbox 360 lets you play your own music during the game.


The voice acting in the game isn't unbearable yet it's not the best but what you would expect in a video game. The game tries to add tension with pauses between dialogue, however various speeches made by survivors aren't really up to par with the main cast.





Dead Rising gives a simple control scheme that is relatively easy to use and maneuver. Conventional button layouts are used such as X: Attack, A: Jump, B: Use, Y: Command Survivor, Right Trigger: Aim/Throw Weapon. Items are easily accessible with the left and right bumper and the camera is brought up with the Left Trigger. There are really no problems with the controls as they are simple to use and are easily learnt by beginners.



Now lets recap:


*Countless amounts of zombies on screen without any slowdown.

*Innumerable ways of dispatching zombies with various weapons.

*Easy controls

*50 achievements and various unlockables.


*Camera is easy to use and ties in well with gameplay.


*Plot twisting story with 6 different endings.



*Save system is meant for players to not take advantage of a save system, yet causes frequent frustration when a player screws up.

*Inability to attack while receiving mission information.

*No online play

* Some of the boss battle music doesn't really fit in well with the game.

*Not so smart AI


Controls: 10

Gameplay: 9.0

Graphics: 8.5

Sound: 8.5


Overall: 9.0


Grade: A-

Edited by Smilee
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Judging by that review, a kickass game. Taking pictures seems a bit FAtal Frame-ish, which is a nice touch I guess.


What are the bosses like (without giving too much of the plot away)?

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Alot of people who I've talked with agree that this game would totally fail if they added Online play. You can't really build upon something this good with online play.

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I think Capcom made the right choice to not include online play as the game really is based on singleplay enjoyment.


Boss's are basically people that have gone insane from the zombie presence (ex. A crazy clown with dual wielding chainsaws or a Vietnam vet that see's everyone as Vietcong). Some bosses tie into the plot and some are just there to kill and terrorize. They are all delusioned and some are quite difficult to beat but drop powerful weapons and other items when defeated.

Edited by Smilee
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Having played this game all last weekend, I've got to throw my two cents in here. I'd have given it a lower score. Parts of it were a lot of fun, but there were just too many things holding this game back.


Don't get me wrong, beating on zombies is a ton of fun, and the sheer number of them, combined with their accurate zombie-mob-like AI creates a real feeling of tension. The main story is told rather well, with the voice acting and dialog, at least for the main characters, being top notch and just a little bit campy, as is only appropriate, most of the time. The ability to replay the game with your existing stats adds quite a bit to it, and takes the pressure off of the optional scoop missions. There are also some interesting twists near the end of your 72 hours that I won't spoil for you.


But Smilee's done a pretty good job of expounding its virtues, so I'll focus on what I didn't like.


Variety. Yes, there are a TON of different things you can pick up and swing at zombies. However, only a very small number of weapons are you ever really going to want to use. The attack animations for many objects leave you horribly vulnerable, while others take too long to swing or just don't do enough damage. For 90% of the actual gameplay, you will end up using or hunting for a small subset of weapons consisting largely of the typical shotguns, smgs, knives, nightsticks, and baseball-bat shaped bludgeons and blades.


Heavily armed, non-zombie enemies. These wouldn't be a big deal if the game's controls and weapons weren't obviously intended for battling hordes of slow moving zombies. Most of the boss fights, and the (not really) optional psychopath fights require fast manuevering and lots of guns. The gun-aiming controls are not up to par for this kind of first-person antics, and when you're hit, you are taken back to third person mode and lose any shot you may have lined up. Eventually, you will end up fighting armed and armored human opponents as regular enemies as well. This leads to plenty of frustration, and ultimately, most of the major fights are best won by stocking up on shotguns and getting the enemy AI stuck on a corner. In short, these many human fights don't play to the game's strengths, and will be frustrating breaks in the zombie-bashing fun.


Inventory handling. As Smilee pointed out, your cellphone (transciever? whatever..) will quickly get extremely obnoxious. That thing rings it's shrill tone CONSTANTLY, and answering it means you are completely helpless for however long it takes for Otis to get his message across. This mechanic could have easily been much better handled.


Also, when a weapon breaks or runs out of ammo, you quickly and automatically switch to the next item in your inventory. This wouldn't be so bad if your healing items and books weren't stored in the same inventory. It will happen often that you will be merrily bashing through a horde of zombies when suddenly you will break to swig from a jug of orange juice, or to thumb through a magazine amidst the hungry mob. This is even worse in a boss fight, where health-item managment is often crucial and you must constantly be dodging to avoid fire.


Friendly AI. My biggest gripe by far, and really the deal-breaker for me. Many of the game's missions involve rescuing survivors, which means leading them back accross the sea of zombies to your safe haven. Some of them you can grab by the hand, ICO-style, or carry on your back, and those are the easiest to deal with. Some of them, however, you just have to hope will follow you. You can arm them, but shotguns and submachine guns are the only really safe bets, as giving them melee weapons will usually get them killed. If they do decide to stop, you can run back to beat the zombies off of them, but the zombies often just keep coming, and the AI won't be smart enough to move out of the growing horde. It's also pretty easy to end up beating your own survivor to death while you're trying to peel the zombies off of him.


Finally, and this one doesn't hurt the gameplay but really bothered everyone in my house, the save system. In general, it's not too bad once you figure it out. The only really bad part is the screen you get upon death, which gives you the option to load your save or to save your progress and quit. These seem perfectly reasonable options, until you realize after the fact that the game only saved whatever the hell it pleased and threw the rest out the window. Let me clarify: The game will save your character levels, achievements, kill count, etc, but it will NOT save your position along the game's plot. In fact, it will DELETE your existing save and leave you with none, your only option being to restart the game from square one, albiet with your existing character stats. ALWAYS save in bathrooms, NEVER on the "you died" screen.


Basically, I had fun with it, but it's not something I would rush out and buy. I'd nab it when it comes down a bit in price, about $35 feels like the right price point for this one.

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Thanks Daeval, maybe that's why the demo I tried out doesn't let you try out a boss fight. I was going to go buy it this weekend but now I'll just go pre-order gwnf.


Maybe I'll just end up renting for achievement points >.>.

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Yeah I had trouble deciding whether to score the game a bit lower yet I kinda overlooked the cons a bit too much.


There are 50 achievements and some take quite a while to complete for one rental!

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