Game - Dead Rising (360)
Stephen Mercado AKA rates it:
Community rates it:
193 of 371 readers found this review helpful.
System: Xbox 360
Release Date: 08/08/06 (US)
There have been quite a few Zombie Video Games released over the past years. From the sleeper Zombies Ate My Neighbors for the Genesis & SNES, to the historic RE series, even PSP had its own Zombie-branded carnage in the form of Infected. With all these awesome (and not-so-awesome) Zombie games, how is it that not one captured the spirit of the Zombie opus: George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead? Well that period in time is over, while it may say Dead Rising on the box, make no mistake, this is the Video Game adaptation to one of the greatest films of all time.
Dead Rising is split up into several chapters, spread across 72 hours (in virtual time, the actual number of hours in real time is closer to about seven). The story follows freelance journalists Frank West as he explores a giant mall, trying to solve the whole Zombie mystery. Along the way, you have to save people, fight off hordes of the undead (as well as some crazy psychopaths) and even snap some photos, or not.
Unlike most games, Dead Rising is completely non-linear; meaning you can go about things your own way. You can choose to ignore the story line and just explore the mall and / or save some survivors if you want. Hell, you can wait out all 72 hours on the mall roof and never even have to fight a single Zombie, but where the fun in that?
Exploring the mall proves to be the most fun you’ll have with the game. The mall is broken up into several different sections, with each section having its own unique look and selection of stores. Couple that with a deep, and hilarious, selection of food to eat, miscellaneous items to use, weapons and clothes to try on, and you have quite a lot to mess around with.
But of course, a Zombie game wouldn’t be one without the undead legion themselves. DR’s biggest draw, is that it uses the awesome might of the 360 to render hundreds (yes, you read that right) of Zombies on screen at once. Nothing compares to being surrounded on all sides by a veritable sea of the dead. And what’s more, they can be killed in all sorts of sick and twisted matters. Hack them up to pieces, literally, with the knives and other sharp blades, smash their skulls in with a sledgehammer, or even mow them down, again literally, with a lawn mower! You could spend days, weeks, and even months trying to devise ways just to kill those zombies (or re-kill them, as the case may be).
Another plus for DR is its level system. Much like a standard RPG, 'ole Frank earns experience points (called PP in the game) for all his different actions, such as saving people, defeating bosses, doing random acts such as riding a treadmill and, oh yeah, slaying the undead. Just like an RPG, leveling up gives Frank both new abilities, such as various pro wrestling moves or even the hilarious Zombie ride ability, as well as improved stats; more health, faster run speed, can carry more items, etc. What’s even better, is the fact that Frank’s game level is saved from game to game, further encouraging more play-throughs.
Unfortunately, DR isn’t all sunshine & bloody gore; it has quite a few problems as well. The most pressing of which is the crummy save system. Throughout the game, restrooms (as well as a few select areas) serve as your only means to save your game. Sadly, these save points are few and far between; not to mention guarded by wave after wave of zombies. This can be extremely frustrating when, say, you just narrowly pass a hard mission, or saved a bunch of survivors, only to die on the way to a save point. Sure, there are a few chances to save after missions, but for the most part, saving your game is a pain in the ass.
The other pressing issue is the whole story mode itself. The missions are too unbalanced, with one mission being incredibly hard, while the next one is painfully easy. Not to mention that story mode itself is hard to keep up with. Because the game is split into 72 “real” hours, the game is always counting down, and nearly every mission requires you to be in certain place, at a certain time. Miss that time and story mode disappears altogether. Factor in incredibly cheap bosses and you have a story mode that’s not entirely fun to play.
The other main problem is the survivors; they’re all dumb as rocks. Each one lacks any intelligence whatsoever. They’ll often get “stuck” in a crowd of Zombies and will either just stand around and get eaten, or a weak attempt at fighting back. Trying to lead back one survivor can be a pain, but when leading around upwards of eight at once is migraine inducing.
Regardless of its shortcomings, DR is still one hell of a game. There’s a ton of stuff to do, and even though the story mode can be frustrating at times, killing zombies never really gets old. Those of us who always wanted to play out our Zombie fantasies now have the (not-so) perfect game to do it with.
Scores for those who need them:
Lasting Appeal: 3½/5
Added: Thursday, December 21, 2006
Language: eng[ Did you find this review helpful? Yes No ]
[ Back to reviews index ]
Want to comment on this review?
Register here for a free user account, and you'll be able to.