TITLE: Dead Rising
DATE RELEASED: 08/08/2006
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 1
XBOX SYSTEM LINK: No
XBOX LIVE COMPATIBLE: Yes
HDTV Support: 720p
5.1 Surround Sound: Yes
GENRE: Action (Adventure Horror)
PLATFORM: Xbox 360
ESRB: M (Mature)
Retail Price: $59.99 USD
Dead Rising was the first game that I played on MY own 360 so I actually had the chance to really get into this game without the threat of “I gotta’ hurry through this game real fast before my friend goes home on Sunday and takes his 360 with him”. Being a huge fan of “survival horror” games I was holding Dead Rising in very high hopes. I knew it was going to be technologically impressive just because of the sheer amount of action it produced onscreen without compromising the integrity of the 360’s performance too greatly, but I wasn’t sure how impressive the game was going to be once I started playing it with the intent of being entertained. It was apparent, after I saw the entrance way full of survivors in the start of the game being torn limb from limb that this game was going to be exceptionally fun. Though it was a little iffy at times, which I will get into later in the review, the game did live up to my inherent prediction.
What can I say about the graphics? The game is impressive. No, it doesn’t have sharp, crisp, in depth details, but what it does offer is something just as good. This game was hyped as a game that could produce and keep up with many hundreds of decently detailed moving objects on screen at one time, and for all intents and purposes it does just that. Sometimes, during very heated and populated moments in the game, the player will encounter some slow down and chop, but in the grand scheme of it all, it isn’t really that big of a deal. When you look at how much is actually going on in the game compared to how badly the game is slowing down, it is easily overlooked. Outside of the sporadic slop you encounter every once in a while the rest of the game looks pretty good. The atmosphere of the game is fantastic. Though it doesn't have stunning next gen graphics I would say graphically it sits somewhere between higher than last gen xbox games and just below first gen 360 games and given how much is jammed into the game I dare say that, that is quite impressive.
My one biggest gripe with this game is the sound quality in the game. Given the fact that we are now in the next gen era of games I would expect that as much detail be paid to the sound as the graphics. Sadly this is where Dead Rising falls a bit short. A lot of the sounds within the game sound very much like prefabricated sound effects that are used over and over again in a million other different things. On top of that, at times it is difficult to hear what is going on or where sounds are coming from because everything is making so much noise all at one time, that it drowns out the important stuff. One problem though, that I very much dislike and am greatly annoyed by is the twang and metallic sound that creeps in just before the game starts to get choppy. I know that it is something that can not be helped, but I have seen other games handle that problem exceptionally well. All in all, it isn't to large of a problem, but like I said, I expect my sound to be up to par with my visuals.
Ok, so all that negative press you just read. Don't bother retaining that knowledge. Why? Because it doesn't matter. This is the part of the review that matters. The game play in this game is what sells the game. Want to lob pop cans at unsuspecting zombies from an overhang in the mall? Ok, do it. Want to slap a ServBot mask on a couple zombies and take incriminating pictures of them? Go for it! The game play this game has to offer is so wide and deep that it can and will keep you entertained for hours. Now one might be thinking, "yeah right. . . you kill zombies woohooo big deal". Nay say if you want to, but you are just wasting time that you could be using to play this game. How many games out there offer you the chance to do basically whatever you want in the game however you want? Not many I dare say. It is stunning to see how much they actually crammed into this game. Tons of different costume combinations, tons of weapons, tons of enemies, and even a few vehicles (Yes, that's right vehicles in a game based inside a mall) creep their way through this game. I would very much like to get into everything that can be done in the game, but that would take a very long time so I will try to keep it concise and to the point of what is important to the core of the game.
The game is a mixture of a lot of different elements all combined into one shiny package. I would best say the game is the gooey by-product of a threesome between Fatal Frame, Final Fantasy, and Resident Evil. Though the game really doesn't focus on any specific aspect you, if you choose, can go one way or the other through the game, it is really up to the player. If you want to go through the game snapping pictures and saving survivors you can. If you want to run through the game stomping zombies trying to survive till rescue comes you can, or if you want to focus on leveling up your character, and learning new moves to become a zombie beat stick that is also an option. Really to understand what the game has to offer one must play it for them selves; it is just so large that this tiny review can not cover everything.
In games like these, stories kind of take a bit of a backseat. This is somewhat the case for this game but it does still hold its own. The game focuses around the main character, Frank. Frank is a photo journalist on his way to investigate a scoop in a small town with a rather large mall. The game focuses on the murder, mayhem, wasps, zombies, and madness that ensues as things are slowly uncovered over a period of three days while you wait on a rescue helicopter to come and pick you up. Really that is all you need to know. There is no encompassing storyline that keeps you on the edge of your seat at all times, but it does have a story line that keeps you just interested enough to continue through the game and not allow yourself to be sidetracked into killing zombies for three in-game days straight and doing nothing else.
I don't really dabble to much in live but I do have a basic account and have checked out what they have to offer for the game. Really all there is to download for the game is a slew of new costumes. They are free which is nice, and it is great to see that the game was supported after it came out. I would recommend getting them just because it is that much more added to your experience.
Bottom line this is a very good game. It has lots and lots of replay value, and you are always finding something new to use wherever you go. When killing zombies gets stale there are plenty of other side missions to keep you occupied. Though some parts of the game can get quite annoying. For example, the dialogue text in the game is so small that only a hi-def TV can display it properly. Don’t even try to read it unless you are right up on it because you will just end up straining your eyes. In game there are only really two things that consistently pop up and prove to be rather annoying. One comes in the form of the guide that contacts you via your radio you are given in the game. He rings and rings until you pick up and when you pick up you are crippled by the fact that you can’t really use any of your weapons because you are using your hand to hold the phone. It gets better though, because if you happen to get grabbed by a zombie the communication is cut off and he will call back, but instead of going back into the conversation he has to make a remark about how rude it is to be cut off and then he starts his communication all over again thus taking up even more time while you are trying to dodge a thousand zombies while not being able to use your weapons. “EXCUSE ME PAL, SORRY FOR CUTTING YOU OFF. IT ISN’T LIKE I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF A COUPLE THOUSAND ZOMBIES, BUT I WILL TRY TO BE A LITTLE MORE COURTIOUS NEXT TIME YOU CALL!”
Secondly, the other major annoyance comes from the courtyard. It seems a few survivors that have broken free from prison have somehow managed to commandeer a military vehicle with a rather large turret strapped to the back. These guys really aren’t out to kill the dead. They are in it for the living and will stop at nothing to run down you and any survivors that are crossing the courtyard. Tack that on top of trying to get through an endless sea of zombies and it gets pretty darn frustrating. These guys will somehow manage to find you from all the way across the courtyard and continuously shoot their rather large turret at you until you die. Until an alternate path is found in the game you have to go through the courtyard, and because sometimes the AI is a little . . . well, retarded, trying to get survivors across to your safe haven proves to be a most daunting task. Have hope though, because once you become strong enough to obtain “best stick” status these guys really aren’t all that much trouble.
So with all that in mind I am giving this game the ol’ go out and buy it right now stamp of approval. With all of its flaws this game still shines brightly. This is really the first of its kind and they did a very good job of putting it together. This is a game that you will find yourself playing over and over again even after you have beaten it a couple of times just because there is so much in there that can’t be found or used in just one or two play passes through the game. If I had to rate this on the number scale it suffers just a bit. I would give this game a very solid 6. I give it a six because of a few things. The sound is a big drag for me, I wish it was just a bit more crisp. The visuals, though impressive, are not next-gen and for all the press they got and all the promises we heard about the game being visually next gen I feel they feel just a bit short. The AI needs a lot of tweaking as they would rather run into a wall or better yet a horde of zombies than listen to what commands you are giving them. This makes it damn difficult to 100% the game when you have to restart over and over again because your survivor got snagged by one stinking zombie and then trapped by twenty and killed. With all that in mind though I still say this was an awesome first attempt at something pretty new and fresh. When you get done with the game you really start to realize that even though there are thousands of zombies in the game it really isn't about them, they are really just a foot note. The real bread and butter of the game is the depth and entertainment.