Dead Rising Xbox 360 Review
Dead Rising was Capcom's first foray on the Xbox 360 platform and what a dubut it was. Dead Rising is a free roaming action game released in 2006 where a photographer tumbles upon a Midwestern mall in the midst of a full on zombie outbreak. During the game you'll protect survivors while re-killing hordes of zombies. You'll also investigate the outbreak and find out who's responsible and why they did it. Dead Rising is my favorite game for the Xbox 360, but I'll do my best to try to take an impartial view of the game.
Frank West is a freelance photojournalist who apparently must have a decent amount of money, since he charters the helicopter to fly him into the town of Wilmette after hearing a tip that strange things are going on there. Once it becomes clear that the town is anarchy, Frank is dropped off on top of the town's mall, and he instructs the pilot of the helicopter to pick him up in three days. At first it seems like the mall is something of a safe haven from the zombie outbreak but soon of course thing go araiey and the mall is riddled with zombies. You'll then meet Brad and Jessie, Department of Homeland Security agents who are looking for the terrorists responsible for the outbreak. The mall's security room severs as your base of operations, and you'll be sent out on missions from the mall's janitor Otis in order to advance the game's story, or save survivors. Periodically you'll run into crazy survivors who have down right lost it, usually taking a murderous turn of their chosen profession. These individuals are called psychopaths, which pretty much serve as the games boss fights. The cut scenes staring the psychopath's a some of my favorites. The game is mostly fully voice acted, with the exception being conversations Frank has with survivors while trying to coax them into following him back to the security room. Voice acting is terrific, with amazing performances, and memorable dialogue. The cut scenes themselves are shot very cinematically and are a treat to watch, making the games story very enjoyable. mention how scary it is.
Dead Rising is a free roaming game, so technically you only have to do what you want to do in the game. However in order to level up Frank's stats, unlock new modes, or get the games best ending you'll have to progress through the game's main story which is divided up into segments called cases. The game has its own time system, and each case in the game has a limited amount of time to be completed. In addition to the story cases there are also survivor and psychopath cases, which also have a limited time for completion. This makes time management a key component of the game. About five minutes in real life is a hour in the game's time system. You always have to play a balancing act, between who do you save, should you advance the story, Should you fight a boss, and do you have enough time to hunt for supplies. Even though the game technically only has one attack button the combat system is surprisingly deep, even when unarmed. There are over 50 a potential weapons to be found in the mall, some more conventional then others as well being more of effective. list weapons. Such as handguns shotguns, machine guns, sniper rifles, uzis, chainsaws machetes, knives, two by fours, metal pipes, soda cans, jewelry, baseball bats, golf clubs, guitars, pruning shears, samurai swords, and even toy weapons like swords, or nerf ball launchers. Plus anything you can pick up in the game, you can throw at a zombie. You can even pick up novelty masks and put them on zombie's heads so that they can't bite you, rendering them harmless. Truly there is a smorgasbord of weapons in the game. You can collect multiple books of the game that have different effects on items or your character, such as making certain weapon attacks do more damage, making it take longer before items break, making survivors more brave , or increasing the amount of health food restores. You can try various vehicles around the mall, trucks, sports cars, compacts, hummers, motorcycles, and even a lawn mower to literally mow zombies down. Vehicles primary use is to travel around the mall quicker, but they can also be used to quickly kill zombies by running them over. It's a shame that there are too many vehicles inside the wall, with the exception of motorcycle. Zombies are generally easy to kill the game, since they move slowly, but it's the sheer number of them that makes them a big hazard. In the maintenance tunnels for instance there can be as many as supposedly 1000 zombies on screen once, whereas in the main mall usually won't see more than 400 or so at once. Saving survivors is a big important aspect of the game, and can be quite daunting at first until you know the ins and outs of it. You can escort up to eight survivors at once, although I would try to avoid the escorting more then five when possible. After finding a survivor, you must go through a conversation with them, occasionally having to fetch an item, before they finally agree to fallow you. Then you must proceed to escort them back to the security room to end the process and gain experience points to level up Frank. This however is easier said than done. Some survivors have a limp and must be carried or held by Frank back to security room. Survivors usually fallow a little ways behind Frank, but by setting a destination by holding the L. trigger and pressing Y while looking at the destination, the survivor can go off ahead on there own. Usually survivors will constantly stop and yell for help if the zombies is even a little bit close to them. They will also often get grabbed and mall by zombies, which is of course bad. If Frank wanders off to far from the survivor, or hasn't cleared a path for you zombies for them, the survivor will often get swarmed by zombies and quickly killed, which is of course really annoying. Sometimes after being killed survivors can even turn the zombies themselves, which I think is pretty cool. Luckily some survivors can be armed with weapons, usually if Frank can use it, then a survivor can use it. Also if a survivor is low on health can give them food items to restore it. Survivors are generally stupid, and often walk too slowly, wander off and get attacked, get stuck in the terrain, and when armed accidentally attacked you or another survivor. Which is why I recommend to never give a survivor a shotgun, as they'll kill everybody. The boss fights against the psychopaths are really the highlight of the game. Depending on what weapon you're using they can be very easy or very difficult, it's up to the player decide what kind of challenge they want. I also love the diverse look and attacks each one has. They often take mundane average professions and put a sinister twist on them to be scary. It's just really awesome. Another element of the game is that since Frank is a photojournalist you can use his camera to take pictures throughout the game of the environments and the people and zombies you encounter. Once you take a photo the games judges the quality of it, based on how much drama, gore, sex appeal or comedy is present and then scores the photo. Also the closer you are to the target the higher score you'll receive. Then the score will be converted to experience points to help Frank level up. A few points in the game you'll have to use your photography skills, but only in side quests, so they don't like the photography aspect, you have to use it which I think is a good design choice.
Most people tend to think that Dead Rising is very hard, but like most games gets a lot easier with experience. Choosing the right weapons, always caring food with you, and having a strategy when fighting the psychopaths will all do a lot to make the game easier. More important though is leveling up your character, and increasing Frank's stats. At the start of the game when Frank is level 1, you only have four bars of health, do pitiful damage, have no special moves and run very slowly. All of these things will be upgraded as you level up, by saving survivors, and killing zombies. Adding to the difficulty is the games peculiar save system. Unlike most games the game only have one save slot per device, meaning that you can have only one game saved to the hard drive and then only one saved game to each memory card you have, assuming you have a memory card in the first place. This of course encourages overriding older save data, but due to the game's design you might run out of time to complete a case, but already save your game, so are then forced to either skip the case or restart the entire game, both of which being pretty annoying. The strategy around this is to have memory cards, or flash drives, and save three or four times a day in the game's time and only when you have plenty of time to complete the next main story case to prevent being screwed over by the clock. Remember that you can also save your game in the mall's bathrooms, in addition to the main security room. If you're still finding the game too difficult, you can always save a few survivors and kill some zombies until you die, but then reload the game using this saved statistics. This makes it so you can start a new game with Frank still maintaining the skills and stats of whatever experience level he was before you died. I would say that's not too difficult to complete all cases if you start the game at level 10, or whenever you get run speed 2, which is usually when Frank is between level 14 and 22 of experience. It will be tedious, but you even say the first two survivors on the roof, kill yourself, repeat the process until you level 50, and then start playing the game seriously.
The control the game can be a little complicated since it seems like they really needed more button. The analog stick moves Frank. The A button is jump. The X button us attack, or when selected eat food. If you hold down the attack button to do a different attack than if you quickly taped it. They're also several moves that can be performed by pressing X in conjunction with the A button, like to jump take for instance. The B button is context sensitive, so when nearby can pick up a object, use a object, put on clothes, and talk to survivors. The Y button calls out for survivors, and when escorting them tells them to hurry up. RB and LB scroll through your inventory to select items. Holding the L Trigger brings up aiming mode so as to work precisely fired guns or throw objects, but all aiming and also escorting survivors by pressing the Y button you can set a destination or where you want to survivors to run to. Pressing right on the directional pad will let you receive calls on the transceiver from Otis. Pressing up on the directional pad will unequipped occur in the item, in case you rather go unarmed. Pressing down on the directional pad will drop on the ground the currently selected item. Once you acquire the move, and are unarmed, clicking the left analog stick will perform a powerful double leanet move. Mention the camera controls.
The graphics in Dead Rising are amazing. The lighting is great and the texture work, especially on character's skin is spectacular. Character models are also very nicely detailed, almost resembling real people, except for sometimes a bit blocky shoulders. The stores in the mall are wonderfully detailed and seem realistic thanks for great texture work and design choices. The frame rate is usually pretty good, except when there are too many human characters on screen at once, only then does it dip to the low 20s. A very weird thing I noticed, is that the textures are much more sharp and lush in the original release of Dead Rising. The platinum hit version's textures look dull and flat, likely due to over-compression of the textures. So it would seem like the original release is better but I also notice that the first version is prone to freezing while in party chat when entering the park . The glitch is not present in the platinum hit version, so it's up to you to decide what's more important , but for me it's the graphics. Anyway Dead Rising is a graphical marvel, and only recently have I started to see games that come close to or surpassing graphically like L.A. Noire or Heavy Rain.
Music in the game is subtle but brilliant. While roaming the mall, realistically elevator style music plays over the loudspeakers. Main story cut scenes are company by eiiorie, tension building music, and psychopath boss fights each have their own theme, which is usually a memorable and fitting licensed track. I especially love the ending results screen music.
The twists and turns of the story and its characters are unforgettable, this coupled with the great graphics and music and satisfying combat, and gameplay variety are all reasons why I consider Dead Rising to be a classic Xbox 360 game. Granted the save system is archaically designed, the survivors can sometimes be very stupid, and some people might find the game to be too difficult at first, but I wouldn't let that stop you from trying out this stellar game. For people who can't stand hard games it's a 8/10, for me it's a 10/10, but I think that most people will enjoy Dead Rising as much as a 9/10.