The original Dead Rising on the Xbox 360 was a very enjoyable game, providing humorous gameplay within a zombie-filled setting. As the series progressed, it was not very subtle that Capcom’s development teams were looking to push the limits on how many zombies can be on screen at any given time. So in that respect, Dead Rising 3 is a perfect launch game for the Xbox One. The system has the technical allowance for Dead Rising to throw thousands of zombies at you. Trust me, it does just that.
What Is It?
Dead Rising 3 follows the journey of a young mechanic named Nick Ramos in the Los Angeles stand-in of Los Perdidos. Nick is a nice enough guy but at times simply becomes too nice. He has a passive attitude towards many of the situations you put him in, but thankfully it’s not enough to discredit him entirely as the protagonist. Nick runs with a small group of travellers, including his boss Rhonda and some sort of friend in Dick. Dick is useless in single player mode but is cleverly used as the multiplayer character- and also provides an aptly named achievement for his use.
The story follows the standard, time-limited story structure of the Dead Rising franchise. Nick will need to complete several chapters over the course of six days to escape Los Perdidos or face being victim of a bombing. The game’s Nightmare Mode intensifies this by speeding up the clock and increasing the zombies’ aggressiveness. Nick will run into various types of survivors. Some will simply require help to escape a horde, but others will provide side quests and join your party. Once again, Psychopaths will occasionally pop up as boss battles.
Dead Rising 3’s story is hampered by flat writing. It unfolds like a cheap soap opera but the journey itself is still fairly worthwhile. Numerous disconnects tend to pop up. Side quests may introduce connections that the main story either ignores or takes too long to acknowledge. The main story even becomes guilty of this. Survivor side quests don’t exactly payoff for anything beyond giving you Prestige Points, but they do allow you to even the playing field during a Psychopath battle.
The story is easily made more enjoyable by the ridiculous ways you can play the game. An otherwise flat dramatic scene is perked up if you have Nick wearing a banana hammock and a Blanka mask. Dead Rising 3 does a great job of keeping costume and weapon consistency throughout its cut scenes. The game also does a solid job of connecting this story with its predecessors and creating a wide Dead Rising universe.
Why Should I Care?
After a brief slow start, Dead Rising 3 turns into a hell of a lot of fun. The game corrects a lot of gripes that were a part of the previous games. Those alone are nearly worth the price of admission. You’ll be giving a lot of freedom.
The most welcome improvement is the ability to save anywhere in the world via the pause menu. You won’t be limited to finding a safe house or a porta potty so long as you aren’t playing Nightmare Mode. Combining weapons also doesn’t require a work bench. So long as Nick has a weapon or vehicle blueprint, he can create powerful combinations on the fly. This may not be the reason why Nick is a mechanic, but I’d like to think it makes a lot of sense. Once any weapon or vehicle is unlocked, it will be stored in a weapons locker throughout various safe houses and garages. A noticeable downside is that combo vehicles tend to break with minimal effort, with the exception of the rollerhog (a combination of a motorcycle and steamroller that shoots fire; it’s sure to be your favorite). That will leave you on foot more often than you may like.
Of course, that will leave you surrounded by thousands of zombies. The amount of zombies on screen can leave you in a state of awe. It’s fun to climb up to higher ground and gaze at literally three full blocks of zombies. But of course, it’s more fun to chop and burn then with no noticeable lag time. Dead Rising 3 maintained a very consistent, sharp look no matter how much mayhem was on screen. The zombies looked great on individual levels too, many of which having distinctive looks.
But with that many zombies, how does it affect the gameplay? For the most part, it’s steady. Weapons perform well and easily controlled but it’s still too easy to hit fellow survivors during melee combat. Driving can be awful at times because your vehicle will feel as though it’s floating when not plowing through a thick crowd. When the crowds are immense, it does slow you down quite a bit. It becomes incredibly difficult to move around and so you’ll want to keep explosive weapons on you to give yourself some space. As often as you may be overwhelmed, you may also be overpowered. The combo weapons can rip up almost too many zombies, but it still becomes fun. They also help make Psychopath battles that much more manageable.
Being on the Xbox One, Dead Rising 3 is meant to offer enhanced Kinect and SmartGlass functionality. The Kinect features are useful enough. They’ll allow you to shake off zombies with a quick jostle of your controller or a wave of your arm. Vocal commands will help guide survivors in your posse, but I didn’t find myself cues to attract zombie attention or taunt Psychopaths. Using Kinect is far more integrated than SmartGlass, though. You can’t actually use any SmartGlass features unless you find a specific phone to unlock the additional content. If you don’t? Well, no SmartGlass for you. It’s fair to say that Dead Rising 3 teases this particular functionality to a misleading degree.
What Makes It Worthy My Time and Money?
Yes. Dead Rising 3 is a great early showcasing of what Xbox One games can do. More importantly, the game provides a lengthy amount of fun. The normal story mode can take anywhere between 12-16 hours to complete when you include most of the side quests. Nightmare mode will push you to complete the story faster. There is plenty of replay value as well that goes beyond just Nightmare mode and multiplayer. There are upwards of 10 endings, so the game can play out differently (I personally received Ending S).
So if you’re limiting yourself to just a couple of games to start off your Xbox One experience, Dead Rising 3 should be in serious consideration for your collection.