(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)
- The Game Itself
- 4.5 Stars
- The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
- 3.5 Stars
- The Audio: Rating the Sound
- 3 Stars
- Replay Factor
- 4 Stars
- Bonus Content
- 2 Stars
- Bottom Line
Dead Rising 3
- Street Date:
- November 22nd, 2013
- Reviewed by:
- Mike Flacy
- Review Date:1
- December 4th, 2013
- Game Release Year:
- Xbox One
- Capcom Vancouver
- ESRB Rating:
- RP (Rating Pending)
'Dead Rising' first hit the scene as an early 360 title before going multiplatform, with a multi-version sequel. Capcom went in a another direction from 'Resident Evil' by capturing one of the best aspects of zombie fiction, daunting numbers of zombies in a great sandbox area. With 'Dead Rising 3,' the series return to its exclusive Xbox roots with a grittier look but more zombies than ever before, and this time the sandbox is an entire city.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Set in the fictional city of Los Perdidos, Capcom has transitioned away from the enclosed areas in the previous 'Dead Rising' games to an open world concept in 'Dead Rising 3.' You take control of a new character named Nick Ramos, a mechanic that seems to be innately awesome at building weapon/vehicle hybrids. Battling a corrupt segment of the nation's government, Nick's mission is to escape Los Perdidos in less than a week while battling thousands of zombies and crazed psychopaths as well as saving as many people as possible along the way. While the story seems somewhat secondary to the visceral appeal of destroying the zombie horde, it does have some high points towards the finale.
Of course, the city is filled with plenty of random objects, the majority of which can be used as weapons. Players will also find tons of blueprints strewn about the city, specifically to unlock weapon and car hybrids that pack a heck of a punch. One interesting tweak to 'Dead Rising 3' is players don't have to track down components to build items more than once. Upon visiting one of the many safe houses in the city, the player can reconstruct any weapon that's previously been created; the same goes for vehicles within garages. While the crafting system does limit you on the number of weapons that you can create at any given time, it's a welcome change to hunting down items and trying to make room in the inventory system to carry all that stuff around.
Combo vehicles are particularly awesome in Dead Rising 3, particularly the bulldozer / bike hybrid called the Rollerhawg. That particular vehicle rolls over zombies smashing them with ease in addition to blasting them with two twin guns of fire. The Turret Rig was also useful due to the powerful shotgun blasts firing from the top of the van. Standard cars are also plentiful along the streets, but definitely degrade more quickly than combo vehicles.
Survivors are also more impressive in 'Dead Rising 3,' specifically because the majority can navigate through the zombie horde without taking much damage. Survivors can also be equipped with weapons in order to provide a bit of extra firepower during boss battles or simply running around Los Perdidos. Survivors can be added within the safe house and players can also check out stats of the survivors to see who's best suited for the streets. If a survivor does take a bit of damage, you can hand them food to help gain back from health.
Similar to the previous games, you can find magazines within the city that provide player bonuses. While you can only equip one magazine at a time, it doesn't take up an inventory slot, and the bonus is often extremely helpful. I often stuck with the vehicle durability bonus, since that's ideal when zooming around the city. However, there are plenty of bonuses that increase the usefulness of weapons, food and survivors.
I really love the new upgrade skill tree system in 'Dead Rising 3.' While the PP system will be familiar to Dead Rising fans, players can now choose what skills to upgrade as you progress through the game. Prefer melee weapons? Focus on skills like health, agility and hand-to-hand fighting. Players earn skill points based off the their current level, meaning a higher level means more skill points each time you level up. Similar to the previous games, any progress that you make when playing through the main campaign the first time will carry over to new campaigns.
Similar to the previous 'Dead Rising' games, there are boss battles sprinkled throughout the story. While several of these battles are optional, taking on the psychopaths will provide greater experience rewards as well as unique weapons. Unfortunately, battles with the seven psychopaths aren't terribly difficult if you have mastered the dodge roll and have access to a few ranged weapons. Perhaps it's because I'm starting to get older, but the psychopath characters also seem much cruder this go-around. It felt like Capcom was walking a tightrope between slapstick comedy and a dark storyline for these characters, but the characters usually devolved into gross or silly depictions.
The inclusion of voice commands with the Kinect feels somewhat tacked on and not specifically integral to the gameplay. For example, you can scream out a specific phrase during boss battles which distracts them, but it isn't necessarily required to defeat each one. You can also scream out to attract zombies and use voice commands to navigate the menu. Voice commands seem overly sensitive though. At one point, I paused the game and walked into another room to have a conversation. When I returned, the game had un-paused itself and my character was extremely dead. To be safe, I exit to the Xbox One menu system instead of simply pausing the game, a somewhat minor annoyance.
I was quite impressed in how Microsoft handled SmartGlass as a secondary feature within 'Dead Rising 3.' After you link up your smartphone to the Xbox One, your device becomes the smartphone in the game. This means you will receive calls and text messages from in-game characters. You can also use the apps to track down specific cars or objects in the game as well as mark them on your map, extremely useful when searching for a vehicle among hordes of hungry zombies. One fun aspect of the SmartGlass feature is unlocking access codes and access to military support such as massive air strikes. One minor note, you really need to keep your SmartGlass device plugged in order to keep the screen active at all times.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
While the visuals don't look significantly better than a typical Xbox 360 game, the most impressive aspect of the graphics engine is that the framerate stays solid at 30 frames per second most of the time. Previous 'Dead Rising' games have suffered from significant slowdown issues when encountering large packs of zombies, but the developers had no problem significantly increasing the zombie count on-screen while keeping the game at a relatively smooth framerate.
However, you will still find the occasional clipping issue when wandering around the zombie-filled landscape as well as some wonky camera angles that are difficult to manage when surrounded by enemies. Character models are definitely reminiscent of the previous generation of consoles, but the animations seem more varied than previous Dead Rising games. Also, Dead Rising 3 is displayed at 720p resolution, another aspect of the graphics engine that feel stuck in the previous generation.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The sound effects work really shines in 'Dead Rising 3' and stands out as the most impressive aspect of the audio. Zombies have never sounded creepier and it really adds to the nervous tension when attempting to escape an angry horde. Capcom also did a great job of integrating suspenseful chase music when the player lands in a spot of danger. The soundtrack wasn't particularly memorable, but it was adequate for the game.
The weakest portion of the audio work are the voiceovers. Nick Ramos is an extremely bland character, specifically due to the lack of emotion in his voice. Andrew Lawrence's line delivery for Ramos is often awkward and feels pieced together. The other voice actors and actresses are equally as awkward. It's obvious Capcom didn't spring for any well-known actors or actresses to bolster the main characters or even voice actors that have a ton of experience in video games.
To complete the story with a majority of side missions under your belt (in order to get the best ending,) you are looking at about 15 to 20 hours. If you want to max out your character's level and hunt around for all the collectibles in the game (tragic endings, Frank West statues, destroying propaganda speakers) that's going to add another 10 to 15 hours of playtime. There's also the extremely difficult Nightmare mode for anyone that wants an insane challenge. For a huge fan of the first two 'Dead Rising' games, this Xbox One launch game will last quite a long time.
A quick note about co-op, I had some trouble connecting to other players the majority of the time. When I did connect with a player, I was continually dropped unexpectedly within about 10 minutes of gameplay. Not sure if it was launch week issues, but it hasn't improved since then. My guess is that a patch will be issued to fix the online issues at some point.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
Though there is both a Day One and regular edition of 'Dead Rising 3,' the Day One content is free to download for anyone from the store for a limited time. It includes both Frank West and Chuck Greene outfits that have attribute modifiers and two unique weapons. The outfits are a nice bonus for series' fans. Any Xbox One owner should download this free add-on while it is available.
When it comes down to it, 'Dead Rising 3' is less difficult than the original two games, but significantly more entertaining. While it takes a while for the story to get moving due to the blandness of the main character, the twists and turns that await players in the third act of the game are extremely gratifying for any fans of the other 'Dead Rising' titles. Similar to the first two games, there are multiple endings as well, although the S rating (best ending) is much easier to achieve compared to previous games. If you are a fan of the zombie genre and picked up an Xbox One recently, don't hesitate to buy 'Dead Rising 3' as it should provide many hours of pure zombie entertainment.
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