Review by MGPythagoras
"Long Review That Examines All Aspects of Dead Rising..."
Dead Rising is the newest title by Capcom, the house that brought us the Resident Evil series, and is also heavily influenced by George A Romero's The Dawn of the Dead. This review is very long and goes quite in depth to provide interested buyers with the entire picture of the game.
Simply outstanding. Everything from the characters to the zombies to the golf club you pick up are well detailed and excellently animated. Every character you encounter, whether it is Frank (the hero), Sophia (a random survivor) or Adam (a psychopath), all have the same amount of care put into their character. Even the zombies, of which there can be hundreds on screen at a time, look fantastic, and you very rarely encounter a group of zombies that all look alike. Surprisingly, Capcom created enough zombie models so when you're wandering through the mall on your little killing spree you'll likely never notice the same zombie twice unless you look for one.
Each store is also incredibly detailed. The Supermarket has shelves stocked with soup, meats, medicines and even a reflective surface on the floor. Shops very rarely look alike, although a few do, but overall the store diversity prevents the environments from becoming repetitive. The locales are changed up frequently too, ranging from your standard mall fare to outdoors, a maintenance tunnel, closed off sections of the mall, a food court and much more. Even the weapons are highly detailed. Look closely and you can see such minute details as the edges on the chainsaw or the handle grip on the golf club.
Cut scenes are also a treat, as the characters look so fantastic and are so highly detailed you will be impressed. Little details such as freckles and creases in the palm of a character's hand are visible. This is what next-gen is all about.
Why not a perfect score then? During cut scenes, frequently the textures in the background look jagged and just downright awful, and it is pretty noticeable when it happens.
The voice acting in this game is top notch. Frank sounds like a tough guy hero. Jessie sounds like the attractive, dimwitted female role she plays. Each character, whether it be the killer clown psychopath or the foreign terrorist, has a voice that well suits their character.
The music is also fairly well done, albeit unnoticeable at times. Standard soothing elevator music plays while walking around the mall, which is a nice touch, and when venturing outside the music picks up to a faster pace, as it also does in boss battles.
The real meat of the score is the weapons' sound effects. Fire up a chainsaw and it sounds like a chainsaw. Cut down a hoard of zombies with your scythe and it makes a noise like air is being cut. Each weapon has its own accompanying sound effects that really further the experience.
Let's not forget the zombies though. As they shuffle aimlessly they make all the groans, moans and grunts they should so it really sounds like you are walking through a mall devoid of human life.
Perhaps both the strongest and weakest aspect of the game, the story both impresses and becomes a let down at times. You play as Frank West, a photojournalist who travels to the little town of Wilmette looking for the scoop of a lifetime. You are dropped off in the mall only to encounter a zombie outbreak. You have 72 hours to escape the mall with your scoop and your life!
Sadly today, strong stories in videogames are becoming obsolete. Unlike many games, Dead Rising's story is focal to the gameplay (if you want it to be) and has the kind of mystery built in to it that you want to keep playing it to solve that next case to figure out who or what really caused that outbreak. The problem is, while some aspects of the story are unique and original, others like the character's personalities and actions are clichéd, but I guess you can't really complain because the entire game is based off a giant cliché; zombies in a mall.
The story is in no way weak, just clichéd at times, and the multiple unlockable endings and Overtime Mode (a continuation of the story unlocked after getting the A ending) ensure you a different experience each time.
One other impressive story-like element this game contains are the psychopaths, While they aren't part of the story per say (only two are), each one has an accompanying cutscene and death scene explaining themselves. While this isn't part of the story, it is cool to see Capcom put effort into a sort of side story with these crazy villains.
Before this game was even released, one word described it; REPETITIVE. Unfortunately, for many gamers this will become a love it or hate it type of game before even trying the game. Gameplay at its core is hack and slash. People can beat around the bush all they want and say, But you take teh picturez and such, but the game is a hack and slash. Run and gun style game. If this discourages you though, please keep reading. I am not yet nearly done describing why this not just works, but works well.
First, you have 200+ weapons, ranging from bowling balls to golf clubs to shotguns to zombie hands to lawnmowers and even the Mega Blaster. Each weapon also has its own animations and effects, ranging from the soccer ball's attack being Frank kicking the ball into the zombie to the chainsaw being a quick swipe, cutting the zombie in half. Shooting is equally fun, although there aren't as many guns as melees weapons, but the shooting controls like RE4 which is nice. Unlike titles such as Dynasty Warriors, you honestly never get tired of the combat. The sheer amount of weapons alone quenches any cries of repetitiveness.
Don't like weapons? Be a man, use your hands! Suplexes, round house kicks, bull dogs and more are all unlocked as you level up, providing fun, unarmed ways to slaughter the zombies. You can even disembowel them at higher levels.
Not satisfied yet? Good. In addition to the main story, in which you must solve eight cases in 72 hours to solve the mystery of the zombie outbreak, you also can take pictures, which is as vital or useless as you want it to be. Pictures reward you with PP, Prestige Points, which are used to level up and are also accumulated by killing zombies. Pictures can be taken of zombies, survivors, psychopaths and other random items. You can even keep your pictures when you're done if you want.
Survivors and psychopaths. Survivors are people who are trapped in the mall. They are human of course and it is your job, if you want to, to try and save them. The interesting thing about this is how the system is designed. You can have survivors follow you and can also tell them where to go. The fun part is their behavior is totally random. Some stop and fight zombies, others hide, and others actually listen to you. You can even equip survivors with weapons and give them health items. You can even carry or hold the hand of some survivors, thus ensuring you save their lives. Psychopaths are basically boss fights, ranging from a crazy butcher to a crazy dad and his sons. Killing them net you their weapon (which is usually a lot better than normal weapons) and, like when you save survivors, nets you a lot of PP and can lead to achievements.
Even more, the little things you can do are really impressive. Every store contains either weapons, books, food or clothing you can utilize (yeah that's right, you can pimp Frank out in various attires including a dress). You can drive a car, motorcycle and even hop on a skateboard.
Of course, there must be some bad. And yes, there is. The save system. While this never bothered me, it has bothered some and as such must be presented for this review to give you a full picture of the game. You are allotted one save, and only one save. During the game, you run on a strict schedule at times, having to be at point A at 10 PM or point B at 5 AM for a case. Well, let's say you save at 4:55 AM and point B is an hour away. Guess what? You're not going to make and must start over. Granted, you can start over with your same abilities, and it is also very hard to screw up your saves (at most times you must actually intentionally screw around to miss a case), but like I said I must mention this.
In the last few years I have yet to encounter a title that lacks multiplayer yet has so much replay value. First, it's impossible to get all the achievements in one run, so you are forced to play through the game multiple times, although you would obviously take different routes to get different achievements. Achievements range from kill one psychopath to kill 53,594 zombies (Wilmette's population) to go zombie bowling. Many of the achievements are creative too, which is something fun.
But we're not all about achievements right? RIGHT? Well, maybe we are, but unlocking ending A in 72 hour mode (the story mode), nets you Overtime mode, which is a continuation of the story mode (story mode ends at day three and Overtime starts at day four) and completing Overtime mode unlocks Infinity/Survival mode which is an endurance challenge of how long you can survive in the mall. Further more, unlocking certain achievements gets you unique weapons like the light saber and Mega Blaster, and you can even build your own suit of Mega Man armor!
Rent or Buy?
Buy. This title truly is a masterpiece of gaming and how it is remembered years from now will be interesting to see. I have never actually enjoyed a game on a second and third lay through as much as I did on the first play though until I played this title. If you're on the fence, try the demo but remember the demo is just the hack and slash aspect of the game. It contains no bosses, survivors, cases, or good pictures you encounter.
-good voice acting
-good sound effects
-A LOT of weapons
-HIGH replay value
-weak textures in background
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/14/06
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