Dead Rising Review
Console: Xbox 360, Wii, Cell
Release Date: August 08, 2006
Genre: Third-Person Action
Rated: M for Mature
-Eric Lee Lewis
Finally a game about survival and braaaaiiiinnnss…
*Sigh* Willamette, Colorado, A beautiful town with lush trees, small businesses, a shopping mall, a population of 53,000+, and a little bit of a zombie problem. Our story starts with Frank West, a photojournalist, taking pictures of the carnage the zombies are causing in town from the safety of a helicopter high in the sky. Eventually, after taking some pictures, Frank gets dropped off on the roof of the mall and is told that he has 72 hours before the helicopter will be back to pick him up. Mr. West agrees and sets off to get into the mall security room after meeting with another survivor named Carlito. Soon enough, you are meeting survivors and watching them get chewed on by your living-impaired nemeses. Luckily, almost every object that you see in Dead Rising is either a weapon or a wearable item.
Dead Rising was a game that promised fun and freedom. Luckily it delivers on those promises…for the most part. Finding hidden weapons and “Easter eggs” is part of the charm of this seemingly Dawn of the Dead-inspired game. But sometimes you are given the task of hauling around survivors. Otis, the mall janitor, is constantly calling you on the satellite phone and handing out missions. Missions vary from “kill this guy” to “go get the survivors here and take them there”. At first these missions aren’t so bad, but after a while, Otis calls you at the worst times. For achievement hunters, not answering all of Otis’ calls takes away the ability to get the achievement for answering every single call. It’s hard to answer the phone when you are surrounded by a mass quantity of blood-thirsty undead.
After a few hours we see the zombies change up a little and become stronger. On top of the tougher enemies, we also meet psychopaths. The psychopaths are living beings that have either lost their minds during the outbreak or have just been given a reason to kill everything and everyone. These psychopaths play the role of boss characters and a means to story progression. So, if you want to be able to figure out what is going on in Willamette, which is why Frank is there, then you need to take on any psychopath you can.
The issues in this game aren’t only the zombies and psychopaths; sometimes the controls are your worst enemy. The controls are quite “floaty” at some points while Frank moves in a stiff manner. This sounds like a contradiction, right? Let me try to explain this: Frank’s body moves like he has been riding a horse for a day straight and he is trying to learn how to walk all over again. While his movement is stiff, the controls seem to move Frank too much with the smallest tilting of the analog stick. When on a ledge, just out of reach of your undead foes, it is hard to keep our protagonist on that ledge. Not only is his walking horrible, his jump is worse.
The saving grace of Dead Rising is the RPG aspects. Frank has a leveling system. Every level that he gains by collecting PP (prestige points) earns new abilities, raises health, and allows for more inventory slots. Now, you may be saying, “Eric, what kind of abilities are we talking about here?” Well my friends, I am talking about the ability to do spinning lariats, shoulder tackles, walk on zombies’ heads, and way too many other abilities to name in this review. PP can be obtained through simply killing zombies, completing missions, saving survivors, or taking pictures of people in precarious positions.
For a game released a little less that a year after the Xbox 360 launch, Dead Rising is a good looking game. Of course, years later it looks a little dated but not as bad as you would think. The graphics aren’t what gamers should be worried about. The soundtrack in Dead Rising is bad. Every time Frank ends up in a dangerous situation, some rap/rock song plays. Not a different rap/rock song, the same one over and over and over.
Dead Rising is still a great game despite some small issues. Any self-respecting zombie fan should get this one. Scratch that, any fun-loving gamer should own Dead Rising. For maximum enjoyment, finish this game with the best ending and unlock “Infinity Mode” or as I call it, Dawn of the Dead mode and see how long you can last.
This is one of Eric’s favorite zombie games. He also says that it is some of the most fun you can have in a game. What game do you think is the most fun?