Date Released: November 22nd, 2013
Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox One
Genre: Survival Horror
Rated: M for Mature
Zombies have long invaded all forms of media like movies, TV, graphic novels, and of course gaming. It only makes sense that zombies would’ve made their way to the next generation, but with Capcom Vancouver’s ambitious Dead Rising 3 not only does it deliver a stellar zombie game, but is an excellent showcase of the Xbox One’s power and what we can expect from the future of the next generation.
Set ten years after the events of the Fortune City outbreak, players take control of mechanic Nick Ramos as he and his friends attempt to escape the city of Los Perdidos after an unexpected outbreak. With a mysterious government operation happening within the city it is up to Nick to uncover nefarious plots and escape Los Perdidos with his friends alive. But with the city lost to the zombie outbreak the higher ups in Washington have set to nuke the city along with everything and everyone in it, including the truth.
A successful sequel, regardless of its medium, must improve upon what made the subsequent entries great and Dead Rising 3 goes leaps and bounds to provide the best Dead Rising game ever. Unlike past Dead Rising games, Dead Rising 3 takes place in a huge city and where the head count for the undead populace can reach numbers in the thousands and can come from any direction even from above. And unlike the previous Dead Rising titles, these zombies are smarter and more vicious than ever before; if you get close or make a loud enough sound, a wave of zombies will be upon you at a moment’s notice. Even when driving, zombies still pose a threat. When running over a dense crowd of the undead the sheer number of bodies will slow your car to a crawl and allow others to hop on your car, damage it, and even attempt to pull you out of the driver’s seat. What is even more impressive is that no loading screens is required when entering buildings or going to other areas; except for cutscenes, not having to wait for the game to load makes zombie slaughtering that much more enjoyable.
Dead Rising was notorious amongst gamers for it saving mechanics and the constricting 72 hour in-game time limit, but for those looking for a nice relaxing and more lenient zombie killing experience or if you’re new to the series, the standard Story Mode offers just that. Story Mode is a more laidback Dead Rising with more time to explore, kill, and players have the freedom to save from the menu screen. Veterans of the series don’t despair! Nightmare Mode is a throwback to the series’ roots with a shorter time frame, tougher zombies and psychopaths, and you can only save in porta-potties and safe houses.
Staying true to the series’ legacy, any and everything can be used as a weapon and just like Dead Rising 2 combo weapons make their triumphant return. Scattered throughout Los Perdidos there are 101 blueprints showing Nick the parts needed to craft powerful combos to rid the streets of zombies.
With the zombie recruitment center apparently filled to the brim you’ll need all the weapons you can get your hands on, but this time around not even standard combo weapons can keep the hordes from getting a chomp out of you. Welcome the new Super Combo Weapons! If you come across golden blueprints these invaluable schematics allow you to build the most insane and powerful weapons imaginable. One of my favorite Super Combo Weapons is called the Elemental Staff, a signal light pole that combines fire, ice, and electricity into one!
If you find yourself in need of a good weapon to help you out in a tight spot and you have the necessary combo parts then there’s no need for a workbench; using his mechanic skill, Nick can easily craft any combo on the go. Speaking of mechanic skills on the go, Nick can also create Combo Vehicles to dive zombie-unfriendly beasts that make navigating the city safer and more fun.
But all good things must eventually come to an end as weapons still break after extended use. Fortunately, to help cushion the blow, lockers within safe houses contain every weapon and Combo weapon you picked up or crafted, this goes double for any cars or Combo Vehicles when you’re in an auto shop.
Racking up enough PP (Player Points) levels up Nick and earns attribute points. For the first time in the series, players have free reign to level up their character in whichever way they see fit by using these attribute points to add to their health or by decreasing the time it takes to craft a Combo Weapon.
There is no shortage of things to do in the world of Dead Rising 3 as there are plenty of side missions, collectables, and the constant urge to go on a zombie killing spree. I would set waypoints to help me have a clear objective only to find myself on the opposite side of the map because I wanted to see how many zombies I could run over and incinerate with the RollerHawg. You don’t have to face the hordes alone either as a second play through Xbox LIVE can easily drop-in at take control of Dick. You still level up and earn attribute points as Dick and when you play through the story the cutscene has Nick and Dick interacting with one another, often with hilarious outcomes as they work of each other’s unique personalities. Personally, this is the most fun I ever had in a Dead Rising game.
The controls are as solid as ever. The new sprint mechanic is a single button press with LB and attacking is as simple as it is addicting. Light and heavy attacks are now mapped to the X and Y buttons respectively, allowing for more varied combat. Once you get your combo counter started you can use an execution move with its effect dependent whether or not you have a weapon in hand. Vehicles are fun to drive and some Combo Vehicles also use X and Y to perform attacks. The only problem I seem to have is when I need to take a sharp turn. By pressing and holding A you can turn as hard as you want, but it always seems that I either hold it for too long and spinout or not enough and ram into things.
Being on a next generation console, Dead Rising definitely looks good. A detailed and expansive world with a remarkable draw distance makes this the most technically impressive Dead Rising. There are some pop-ups that I have encountered like barriers that seem to come out of nowhere or textures needing an extra second to render. Though I’ve come across these occasionally it did not hinder or ruin any enjoyment I had in my playthroughs.
Dead Rising isn’t known for compelling and impactful scripts and dialog, but that doesn’t mean that the voice actors do any less than a remarkable job delivering a believable performance. What is kept intact is the series’ dark humor that it is known for and they did an excellent job making this entry more serious in tone and still keep its humor. The groaning of zombies will constantly be there to keep you on edge, but what I find just top notch is when there are none around. The ambience of distant cries of people send chills up my spine and it is these moments where I wish for the comfort of blood-thirsty zombies, it’s simply that unsettling.
Just like its predecessor, Dead Rising 3 is a game that will help the Xbox One sell units. Newcomers will enjoy the accessibility of the standard Story Mode, veterans will find themselves at home in Nightmare Mode, and both will have a plethora of content to discover. And while some would consider this a mindless zombie killing game, you can’t argue that this zombie killing is the most fun you’ll ever have. There are some bugs that are prevalent, but they don’t hinder the game in any major way that would negatively impact your experience. If you’re looking for that must-have Xbox One game then look no further.
Overall Rating: 4.75/5