Ten years have passed since the events of Dead Rising 2, in a world where zombies are the norm and Zombrex is the only thing keeping people from turning into the living dead. After the first sighting of a zombie 48 hours pass and the city of Los Perdidos is quarantined off from the rest of humanity. You play as Nick Ramos, a mechanic out of Los Perdidos, just trying to survive the zombie outbreak. Along the way you meet up with a small group of survivors, who are trying to desperately escape the city before an air strike is due to go off obliterating the city and all of its infected inhabitants.
The opening of the game introduces you to some of the basics to survive. From eating to replenish health, highlighting the benefits of light or strong attacks with weapons and giving you a small, linear environment to test these new skills out, it makes you feel suitably equipped to progress, though the initial run in with zombies is nothing compared to when you look out over the expansive cityscape of Los Perdidos for the first time and a sea of zombies greet you with open arms (and mouths). Compared to previous entries in the series, this is the first time that the zombie horde truly feels overwhelming, as you will soon find yourself surrounded by scores of zombies, sometimes hundreds, on screen at one time. Given that there are no load screens as you move around to the varying sections of the city within the game, this proves to be one of the more technically impressive parts that shows off the power of the new Xbox One hardware. The city is expansive and has a lot to offer, with buildings now opened up for you to explore in search of alternate attire, weaponry and an amass of collectables.
Collectables in the game range from blueprints that allow you to make some of the games pretty inventive combo weapons to collectable Frank West golden statues, which are placed randomly around the city of Los Perdidos. These statues give you a large amount of XP which help level up Nick. Every time you level up your character you are given a certain amount of points that can be put into different areas, including increased agility, use of both ranged and melee weapons. This allows you to better configure Nick according to your play style, giving you greater control as to whether he’s better with long or short range weapons, or even increasing the durability of the weapons you use. These can all play a big factor into the game, giving you better customisation options with Nick. Some prove to be more useful than others, with weapon storage space and stamina upgrades a must.
With one large city to explore, you need a variable amount of enemy types to either evade or overcome. The enemies range from standard shambling zombies, to armoured zombies that take a large amount of hits to finish off, but the pay off is worth it, with a large amount of XP as your reward. Whilst taking down the zombie hordes, you have the potential to build up combos, where the higher the combo, the more XP you collect from killing your enemies. With some of the combo weapons that are available in the game, this can make levelling up even quicker, giving you a better chance of survival. There are also human enemy types within the game, who can prove to be a bigger force to be reckoned with than the zombies. Random thugs, to armoured army types, to the psychopaths are everywhere and can take a large amount of hits before going down.
Once every so often you’ll be given instructions over the radio that there is something going on in a specific location on the map and that you need to check it out. These can range from optional side missions, which usually means saving random survivors and even encountering some of the psychopaths in the game. These are mini boss battles that hold some of the sillier and more entertaining moments in any Dead Rising game, and is a welcomed inclusion again in Dead Rising 3.
One of my personal favourite Psychopaths is Darlene Fleischermacher, a rather glutinous woman who, whilst lounging back in her mobility scooter tries to harm anyone that goes near the food that she has locked up in the diners store room. Throughout this battle she constantly attempts to run you over in her mobility scooter, while frantically tries to regain her health by over indulging in fast food. Eventually as you beat her, the fight ends in a cutscene that sees her slipping on her own vomit, falling backwards in the scooter and choking to death on her own vomit. You couldn’t make this up. This is just one of the many psychopaths to encounter and can prove to be positive distraction compared to the more serious and somber main story.
For those that may have been concerned about Dead Rising 3 seemingly taking a more serious tone than the other games in the series needn’t worry. The example above shows off some of the more unique encounters of the game and prove to be some of the quirkier moments, much similar to those of the Japanese developed titles. The inclusion of some pretty amazing combo weapons such as combining a helmet of Street Fighters own Blanka and a car battery allows you to pull out the Electric Thunder move, electrocuting nearby enemies. Some of the combo weapons prove to be extremely useful such as the Grim Reaper which can take out an entire group of zombies in just a couple of swings. Combining a sledgehammer and a car battery makes the Electric Crusher, stunning zombies with electricity as you swing the sledgehammer around and ultimately crushing the top half of their body, or even combining boxing gloves with a toy robot to create the Toy Gloves was pretty funny to watch as you go around punching zombies into the distance as a comedic squeak comes off of the rubber ducks attached to the gloves.
One of the main additions to the game is that there is no need for a work bench like that out of Dead Rising 2. Nick can make all of these combo weapons on the go, which makes for a more enjoyable experience. No longer do you have to amass the parts to make the combo weapons and run 5 minutes to a work bench to make these weapons, instead making the game play feel more fluid and not detracting from the task at hand. This has allowed the developers to put a big emphasis on the combo weapons without making it feel like a chore.
Combo weapons aren’t the only thing that can be created in the game however, because as well as the hundred plus combo weapons in the game are the combo vehicles. During the course of the game, you’re able to make a handful of combo vehicles that become extremely useful whilst travelling between main areas of the city. For example Nick can combine a steam roller and a motorbike making the Roller Hog. The Roller Hog not only squashes your undead foe underneath the bike, but also allows you to torch them to death with the aid of flamethrowers attached to the front of the motorbike. Like all of the other vehicles in the game, after an extended period of time, the vehicle will start to break down until it ultimately sets on fire and blows up.
It’s these things that make Dead Rising 3 extremely enjoyable. The relaxed time limit of the main campaign is what Dead Rising 3 needed to make it appeal to the average gamer that want a more casual zombie killing experience. The strict time limit in the original Dead Rising may have put people off of the exploration side of what the game had to offer. Dead Rising 3 throws all of that out of the window and encourages you to explore the city of Los Perdidos, allowing you to take your time and enjoy chopping up and killing thousands of the walking dead. The emphasis on the outrageous combo weapons and vehicles make the game a pleasure to play. For the Dead Rising purists however there is the inclusion of Nightmare Mode, which allows you to have that authentic Dead Rising experience with its unforgiving time limits. Dead Rising 3 also allows you to fight for survival with a co-op partner. Thankfully it doesn’t change the dynamic of the story and allows for some fun times with a friend, whilst dismembering your enemies.
Dead Rising 3 may not be the most polished game to be released on the new consoles, but it is still one of the stand out launch titles to be released on the Xbox One. The absurd amount of zombies on screen prove to be overwhelming at times, but is extremely satisfying when butchering hundreds of zombies with some of the most outrageous weapons seen in any game. The story isn’t necessarily what will keep you coming back, rather the outrageous weapons and sand box environment that houses the madness.
MLG Rating: 7/10 Format: Xbox One Release Date: 29/11/13
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Dead Rising 3 for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 4 days on the Xbox One. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.