Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Dead Rising 3

The original Dead Rising was a landmark title for the previous generation of videogame consoles. Launching at a time when the industry was still undergoing a transition period, it was an experience designed to showcase just what the Xbox 360 console was capable of. And […]
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The original Dead Rising was a landmark title for the previous generation of videogame consoles. Launching at a time when the industry was still undergoing a transition period, it was an experience designed to showcase just what the Xbox 360 console was capable of. And that it did. Seven years later and a new Dead Rising title is upon us, but while Dead Rising 3 refines the experience the series offers gamers, it’s arguably less convincing a demonstration of the potential of new consoles.

Dead Rising 3 casts you as Nick, a less likeable and far more generic character than either Frank or Chuck. Nick is trying to survive a zombie outbreak whilst rescuing fellow survivors, running errands and trying to find a way to reach a safe distance before the military annihilate the area and everything within it. New character then, but little else has changed. That is, as far as the story is concerned.

In its attempts to up-the-ante for this new console generation Dead Rising 3 has made some decisions that change the Dead Rising formula dramatically. Players will still fight hundreds of enemies with breakable weapons, find wacky costumes and get help from other survivors, but the surrounding mechanics have changed considerably. Players can now combine items anywhere once they’ve found the correct blueprints, including the new vehicle combinations. This latter opportunity is of important note as the map featured in Dead Rising 3 is significantly larger than that of any previous title offered by the series, so much so in fact that it alters the formula considerably.

Dead Rising 3 features such a big world that the learning of its nuances is no longer an enjoyable task. Whereas the malls of the past have invited the player to scout for prime locations and given them welcome item bonuses for doing so, Dead Rising 3 is simply too grand an undertaking is this regard for anyone but the most die hard completionist. The developers were well aware of this it would seem, as they have offered the player compensation by way of a regularly restocked locker filled with every item they have found thus far, including the combo items they have created. Fans of the series may baulk at such a change of pace, but it’s undoubtedly a renovation designed to appeal to a wider demographic; Dead Rising 3 isn’t a core demographic centric experience like it’s predecessors; this is a format exclusive launch title for a new Xbox.

Other new adjustments come by way of the freewheeling save system – available anywhere, at any time – and the chapter restart. The player is welcome to restart the campaign at any point and retain their earned experience when doing so, but opposed to starting from scratch they can instead choose to start from any chapter they have previously completed. Again, some my suggest that the team at Capcom Vancouver have committed Dead Rising blasphemy, but this external asset is not quite so easy to condemn: if offends you, don’t use it.

While the negatives of Dead Rising 3’s changes come at the forefront of the campaign, there’s no denying that the action remains hugely enjoyable. The balance has been perfected to the point at which the challenge remains stiff but never unfair. Players will meet new enemy types as they become able to create more powerful weapons, will unlock new safe houses as they explore new areas, rescue more survivors as they become willing to take more risks. There is always a reward waiting to be earned, and as has always been the case with Dead Rising videogames players will have to budget their time appropriately in order to make the most of the opportunities presented to them. Missions will be failed and the opportunity lost forever, but keeping your cool when this happens is just as important as making sure you’re well equipped when running into the zombie horde.

Electronic Theatre has often suggested that videogames on this new generation of hardware would borrow more from Hollywood not so much in terms lf character or story, but rather with the presentation of those assets. Credit sequences, introductory cutscenes that come after the tutorial, camera angles and lighting techniques; these are all aspects which will likely become uniform on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 as videogames strove for an even greater cultural acceptance. For all it’s attempts to make Dead Rising more cinematic experience Dead Rising 3 often falls flat, mainly due to poor writing. The fact that Nick was a mechanic is excuse enough to have him constructing things, but the throwaway dialogue with which the mechanic is introduced is telling of a story hobbled together to suit the gameplay.

On the whole the storyline is interesting enough to pull you through the videogame, but it’s actually the point-to-point mission structure that is Dead Rising 3’s finest asset. Constantly taking you to new areas and making you feel that something interesting is just around the corner, Dead Rising 3 is as engrossing as it is violent: very much so. The psychos remain the weakest point of the campaign – both though forced upon the player and those which are optional – especially when playing in co-operative mode with a friend, but regardless Dead Rising 3 is and enjoyable way to kickstart a new generation of consoles without demanding too much from the widest definition of the core audience imaginable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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