Dead Rising 3 is the latest in the Dead Rising franchise (as the name suggests) that was popularised in the last generation of consoles because of it’s great sense of good old fashioned dumb fun. This time, it’s come exclusively to the Xbox One. Is this a worthy launch title? Or has Microsoft killed the franchise in this next instalment?
Dead Rising 3 was one of the launch titles Microsoft showed off for the Xbox One at their E3 press conference this year, and it was certainly one that garnered a lot of excitement for Microsoft’s next generation console, and seemingly helped to get some people back on board with Xbox, after what many people believed was a unsatisfactory console unveiling. Whilst some people began to worry that Dead Rising had lost it’s humour and was heading into a far more serious direction that they didn’t want to see after watching the E3 gameplay, I can absolutely ensure you that this is not the case.
Dead Rising 3 takes place in the fictional city of Los Perididos, and certainly has some more serious overtones than it’s predecessors, but this is something that I personally don’t mind. It results in what is honestly the most realistic representation of a zombie apocalypse i’ve seen in any game, aside from the Horse Head mask, the Gimp suit and the “Recreational Marital Aid” Cannons of course. The game has received a lot of slack from some journalistic sources on the Internet for running at 30fps, 720p native on the Xbox One – but again this is something I have come to find is not as issue, especially due to the nature of the open world employed in the game. The huge scale of zombies spawned in at one time along with the zero loading times in the open world is damn impressive and makes for some great gameplay. This is a game that is great to explore on your own, but is also great with a co-op partner. The ability to drop into another multiplayer game creates a great co-op experience in the world of Los Peridos, especially with the large open world and the addition of vehicles. Hours of fun can be had tearing apart the never ending supply of zombies with a friend.
This open world is accompanied with an array of vehicles, both custom and stock, that can be spawned in at any vehicle workshop marked on the map once it has been built once. This is a great feature that certainly adds something to a franchise that sometimes felt a little lacklustre in it’s last iterations. Rampaging through literally hundreds Zombies on a “RollerHawg”, the mechanical lovechild of a Motorcycle and a Steamroller with added fire, was enough to prove to me that Dead Rising 3 was a worthy next generation launch title, regardless of the frame rate or resolution. There’s a whole lot more to a game than an extra pixel count, and although we all like our games to look as good as is feasibly possible on our relative machines, it seems like with the coming of the next generation of consoles the entire internet has forgotten what makes a game truly great – awesome gameplay, something that Dead Rising 3 has in an abundance.
Fans of the series will also be pleased to hear that there is a seemingly never ending array of Weapons to be crafted in this game – ranging from a simple Handgun with a Flashlight attached to the barrel to what is basically a Mini-Nuke. The mechanic for creating custom weapons has changed though, no more do you have to go hunting for a workbench to create your weapons, you can create them anywhere you like providing you have found the blueprint for the weapon. One of the nicest, subtle features of firing weapons is the haptic feedback provided in the Right Trigger of the controller when you fire – it’s a nice touch that surprises you at first, but adds something to the game that wouldn’t have been possible in the last generation of consoles.
The plot remains as absurd as ever, with an eccentricity applied to the bosses and psychos of Los Perididos that keeps up with the trend of previous Dead Rising games. The bosses don’t appear to be anywhere near as challenging as previous in Dead Rising 2 however, and in my case I was able to beat them without having to restart my story in order to have a level anywhere near what was required to beat them. Whilst this isn’t the only way to beat them, most if not all bosses seems to have a way to stun them and then attack them from close range with a “Special Attack” that will greatly reduce their health. This comes along with what appears to be no time limit, which allows you to take your time and explore the world a little before continuing on with the story. This is of course in the regular ‘Story Mode’, as Dead Rising 3 offers a ‘Nightmare Mode’ for seasoned veterans of the series that want more of a challenge, and similar mechanics to last iterations – something I have yet to try to take on.
The game certainly looks impressive too, and Capcom Vancouver have certainly taken advantage of the increased performance abilities of the next generation of consoles to produce something that looks really great, especially in the cutscenes. The more serious cutscenes in the game are also made 100% more hilarious with the inclusion of a Lego Head Mask or a Horse Head Mask, seriously – it’s great fun. The Flares and explosions in the game are some of the more visually impressive elements in the game and it certainly helps convince you that this is a game that wouldn’t have been able to be produced on the Xbox 360.
The game isn’t perfect though, the camera control and aiming system seems overly sensitive, and certainly took a little getting used to at first. Of course you can turn the sensitivity down in the settings, but at default it seems a little overly sensitive – and this is coming from someone who typically plays FPS games at their maximum sensitivity. I also would have appreciated a more developed combat system, as it feels like all you have to do to get out of any sticky situation is to hammer your way through with a heavy attack with almost any melee weapon.
Alongside this, the Kinect integration seems both forced into the game, and rushed. It’s seems to be not responsive to the actual game commands, but overly responsive to simply talking whilst playing. I had to actually turn off the option to open up the menu with a Kinect voice command as besides it being entirely unnecessary and more effort than simply pressing the damn button on the controller that is in your hands, it triggered itself several times without my wanting it to. Thankfully it’s easy enough to turn off each individual voice command in the settings of the game, but it’s something that should have either being worked on a whole lot more or just left out completely. As positive as I am for the development of Kinect and integrating it into games, I’d rather it was used appropriately and not just shoehorned into the game, as seems to be the case here.
All in all, Dead Rising 3 is a worthy entry to the the franchise as well as being a very worthy exclusive for the Xbox One. It may not be the kind of exclusive you’d buy the console for, but this alongside others such as Forza Motorsport 5, Titanfall, Halo and Quantum Break – the Xbox One is certainly going to be putting up a fight against the currently more successful Playstation 4 in the next generation, and aside from all the whining “Console Wars” fanboys we’ll see in Youtube comments and forums, that competition can only lead to great games coming out from both parties.