I haven’t written a review for a while and figured since it is so close to Halloween, why not do a game that suits the event so naturally Dead Rising came to mind and having played the third entry fairly recently I figured it was the obvious choice.
I’ll start off with a little overview of the series for those of you who are unfamiliar – Dead Rising is a sandbox zombie survival game with a large amount of freedom given to the player, allowing you to use whatever you can find as a weapon, ranging from illogical laser cannons to compact discs being used shurikens (you can probably anticipate the effectiveness of them), and tasks the player with killing hordes of zombies, rescuing survivors and uncovering the source of the outbreak via story missions with a host of optional side missions to give you a nice distraction.
Dead Rising 3 takes place several years after the events of the second game and follows the story of Nick Ramos, a mechanic working in the town of Los Perdidos who ends up caught in the middle of a zombie outbreak. After discovering that the town is going to be destroyed by an airstrike in seven days, Nick begins looking for a means to escape with his fellow survivors. I found the story of this game to be more in-depth and connected to the previous two titles than the connection the second one had to the first (I know that sounds weird but it will make sense after you play it). I felt more immersed and interested in the characters than the previous titles and made it a priority to progress the story to find out what happens next.
Gameplay is mostly the same as the previous titles – third person gameplay with free roaming and the ability to use just about anything as a weapon, this time around however I found the controls to be much tighter and responsive (the previous two had somewhat clunky controls), making a huge improvement over its predecessors, additionally third person aiming for projectiles now allows quicker movement which opens up better dodging options. Vehicles have also seen a huge revamp adding in combo vehicles (the combo weapons from the previous game remain but can now be created without the aid of a crafting bench) with devastating power, allowing easy navigation of the zombie-filled streets and the power to decimate hundreds in mere seconds. I feel this was a brilliant addition to this game as it allowed me to access different areas without being slowed down by having to avoid a crowd of zombies to preserve health for story missions.
Being a game released exclusively on the current generation of consoles, the graphics have seen a vast upgrade with environments looking more detailed then ever. Character models are fluid and lifelike and the amount of zombies onscreen at once is impressive, making Los Perdidos feel like it is truly overrun. Co-op makes a return allowing a second player to play as Dick who plays a small role in the story, essentially he just follows Nick around. However it was nice to see he actually has a presence in the games cut scenes and made the second player seem all the more significant.
The amount of items available to the player in the game numbers in the hundreds this time around and there is a ridiculous amount of combo weapons (a good thing I assure you), from Nick’s signature combo weapon – the Sledgesaw – a sledgehammer merged with a cement saw to the DIY-inspired Freedom Bear – a giant robotic stuffed bear toy, dual-wielding light machine guns which can be placed to act like a sentry turret. There is no shortage of zany, fun and creative weapons to craft and enjoy. I love that these have become a staple of the series and I hope that the creators realise this with future Dead Rising entries.
The optional missions sometimes culminate in a boss battle with the game’s psychopaths who are truly demented people who have lost their sanity in some way due to the outbreak. These boss fights felt far more enjoyable when compared to the battles in the previous games. I feel this mostly owes to the smoother controls and better dodging implemented this time around allowing me to challenge these for the reward without becoming stressed due to an insane amount of deaths.
The soundtrack of Dead Rising 3 follows on from its predecessor, featuring a vast majority of high-energy tracks in the cut scenes and boss battles, with a few of the boss tracks created by returning artist Celldweller (a personal favourite of mine) and somewhat gloomy ambient when you are exploring, the music fits in well and adds to the experience and atmosphere nicely.
Overall I feel Dead Rising 3 is at the best of the zombie survival genre and anyone who enjoys zombie games or any fun game in general should definitely experience it.