Dead Rising to the Occasion … 3

I am probably one of the few people who didn’t overly enjoy the first Dead Rising game. Sure, it was fun to run around a shopping mall, hacking and slashing zombie guts with various different weapons. The game characters were different, to say the least, and the boss battles were that good combination of difficult and entertaining. But, the saving feature was an absolute pain in the proverbial. Whoever sat in the developers meeting and said ‘how about instead of clicking start to save, we’ll make the player run to the nearest toilet instead’, needs their head looking at. Thankfully, Dead Rising 3 brings back the fun of slaughtering zombies, combines it with the tongue-in-cheek humor of Dead Rising’s boss battles and, the cherry on top, allows you to click start to save the game! A revolutionary step in the tried and tested history of the save game, if there ever was one.

To be perfectly honest, merely comparing Dead Rising 3 to the first two in the series would not do the game justice. It’s a brilliant game in its own right. I have played both Dead Rising 1 and 2, I have even played ‘Case Zero’ and ‘Off the Record’, but despite all of the gory, slicey, bashey, smashey, zombie skull cracking fun, I never completed any of them. The save feature played a big part in this, but it was also because I often found myself getting bored with the series. There are only so many zombies that you can kill before you switch off to all of the mesmerizing gore – hence why ‘The Walking Dead’ series has had so much touchy-feeley acting and very little zombie killing. Dead Rising 3, however, has really held my attention and still does, even after completing the game. There are so many reasons why I’ve enjoyed, and still enjoy, playing Dead Rising 3. It’s a complete all rounder and I would even stretch to say that, at the moment, it is the best game available on the Xbox One.

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Possibly the greatest achievement of the game can be found in its story. It’s the most engaging Dead Rising to date, with a gripping narrative, lovable characters (all with their own comedic value at times) and a dark undertone that looms over the general gameplay from the offset. You play as all round nice-guy mechanic, Nick Ramos, around ten years since the events at Fortune City in Dead Rising 2. In the months following the clean up in Fortune City, the powers that be created a Zombirex Chip which could be implanted into the bodies of all those infected who once relied on the Zombirex injections to keep them un-zombified. These chips also included a tracking device, so that the government always knew where the infected population were. But, shock-horror, something went terribly wrong and the chips stopped working, causing masses of the population in Los Perdidos to become zombies – a mass zombification, if you will. Thankfully, a few green-peace types thought that the chips were in violation of their human rights and so went underground and continued using the injection, so that the government couldn’t track their movements, curb their benefits, read their thoughts or steal their babies. Damn conspiracy theorists, always knowing the truth and such. As Nick, you lead a rag tag group of survivors made up of one or two non-infected, in the form of Rhonda and Dick (who is playable in the online co-op) and a few infected, including Annie, the love interest and Red, the leader of the resistance. Yet, there’s always much more to this story than meets the eye, and it really drives you to uncover every hidden detail.

… the zombie horde were too busy munching on their flesh to notice me slip right past them. The bitter realities of life in a zombie apocalypse, I guess.

Alongside the main story runs a bunch of fun and quirky side missions of varying difficulty and humour. At the beginning of the game, Nick stumbles across a mobile phone that had been conveniently discarded on the floor, which he so happened to find in all convenience of the guy on the other end. This guy is sitting up in an office somewhere, watching his CCTV screens for signs of people in need, once he’s spotted something interesting, he will then call Nick and give him the location. These interesting things range from helping an awkward but kindhearted(ish) guy,  Kenny, who wants to be a hero just like Nick, to aiding a woman on her shopping spree, dressed in a Lady Gaga-esque meat coat – anything in the name of fashion, am I right?! These side missions earn you extra PP (XP) and serve as fantastic little distractions from the main story. On occasion, the people that you help out might want to join you on your travels. These folks are then added to a ‘survivor board’ which can be found in any number of safe houses, allowing you to add and subtract survivors from your group, depending on what you need them for or how annoying they are. I can’t tell you how many times fellow survivors have saved my skin … not necessarily because they were effective in combat, but because the zombie horde were too busy munching on their flesh to notice me slip right past them. The bitter realities of life in a zombie apocalypse, I guess.

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Dead Rising 3 also gives you another type of side mission, what I’ve come to call ‘Psycho Boss Battles’. These are not ‘normal’ boss battles, far from it. These people are all deranged in their own special way and each resemble one of the seven deadly sins. These battles are not integral to the story, and can be missed, but you would be foolish to do so. They are, in themselves, complete genius and are, for me at least, one of the best aspects of the game. Of course, I don’t want to give too much away, but for a taste of the type of battles you could face, I will describe to you the Gluttony Psycho. Picture an all you can eat buffet, on a quiet inner-city street, littered with burning cars and the corpses of the un-dead. A stranger is banging on the door of the establishment, wanting to enter and raid the place to feed his family. As ‘good-guy mechanic Nick Ramos’, you of course oblige to help him. Together, you force down the door and walk in to the empty room, the stench of rotting food stings the nostrils as you stand and watch the starving man run towards the egg fried rice with the questionable eat-by-date. But look, over there! What is that grotesque creature moving in the corner? Is it some sort of special infected, the ‘boomer’ of Dead Rising 3? Why no, it’s a morbidly obese woman riding a mobility scooter screaming at you to “LEAVE MA’ FOOD ALONE!”. She speeds towards the hungry man, shoving a fist full of french-fries into her ketchup stained lips as the mobility scooter screeches under her body-weight. She pins him against the counter with the scooter, crushing the breath out of the helpless stranger. She reaches over to the counter, grabs an over-sized spork and proceeds to stab the man to death with it. Blood dripping down her numerous chins, she reverses her scooter and revs the tiny engine in your direction, thus beginning one of the most disgustingly brilliant boss battles that you will ever encounter.

There is so much to love about this game that I’m just going to have to list a few things off through fear of rattling on for far too long. The graphics are fantastic, facial animations are better than ever and slicing through zombies has never looked so incredibly gory and, I would imagine, realistic. The zombie mechanics are intelligent, with masses of them moving towards any sound and quickly crowding you out. When I say masses, I mean masses. I attempted to count the number of zombies that had piled around the truck that I was standing on at one point, and got bored at the two-hundred mark. One of the aspects of the game that keeps me coming back for more are the vehicle and weapon modifications, all of which are found through collectible blueprints, dotted around the city. There are around eleven different vehicles to create and over 100 various weapons to craft, each with their own unique twists and uses.

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Overall, Dead Rising 3 is a must have game on the Xbox One. When I first saw it advertised all those months ago, I was slightly skeptical about it. I was worried that it would be too silly, even unbelievable, and could easily become boring. I cannot stress how wrong I was in my assumptions. It’s a fantastically fun game, with an incredible amount of depth to its story, its side missions, the various weapons / collectibles and even the city itself.  It is graphically impressive, the sounds are breathtaking and chill inspiring and there’s so much to the game that it’s almost impossible to get bored. If you have the One, then you should get this game.

If you want to check out some of my gameplay footage, watch the video below!

Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox One
Genre: Survival Horror
Player Modes: Single Player, Multiplayer
Price: £44.99