Review by megaman2005
"A good game, and somehow Capcom actually managed to make a decent storyline."
Let's face it, if you own a 360, you've heard of Dead Rising, it's that simple. With the 360 in a state of slumber as Microsoft is holding most of it's punches as it awaits for the the release of the PS3. Dead Rising attempts to keep 360 owners happy as they wait for other big titles to be released later in the year, by mixing up the old zombie horror formula, and comes up with some new and different, and I may just go as far as saying better than most other things you've seen before.
The story follows journalist Frank West, a freelance photographer who catches wind something strange going on in the small town of Willamette, Colorado. Frank has 3 days from the moment he lands on the roof of the Willamette mall to uncover the mystery behind this strange incident, and get out alive. Of course, depending on the player, the story may not be the most important thing on your first play through. Saving survivors, taking photographs, or just plain exploring are some things you can do as you play through the giant mall, infested with over 52 thousand zombies (yes there is an achievement for killing the entire population of Willamette). The main draw of Dead Rising lies in the idea of using anything as a weapons. Although not everything in the mall is usable (oddly you can't pick up tennis rackets even though they are hanging on the wall in front of you) Dead Rising does deliver everything they promised, and you'll be hard pressed to find a more exciting and fun game than this.
Some people I talked to complained to me that they want to play Dead Rising, but are mad because it only came out on the 360. Why did they make it this way? The graphics are a good indication. Although the in game graphics are nothing too special, the CG cutscenes are fantastic, with great facial expressions that help put the feeling of the scene into a more visual context. Also, none of the current gen systems could hold the amount of enemies that are on the screen at any one time in this game without some bad slowdown. It's simply amazing the first time the zombies bust into the mall and you get to see how many enemies are all attacking at once without one bit of slow down. Capcom did a great job of utilizing the 360's power. The one complaint I have, which continued to annoy me to no end, is the ridiculously small text size. I have a decent sized TV but even then the letters only appeared as the size of an gnat which is very annoying when someone tells you and important mission objective and you can't read it. It would seem the text was made for HD TV owners, which, unfortunately, doesn't mean anyone who owns a 360 automatically owns and HD TV.
What can I say. The voices are good, not excellent, but good, although the moans and groans of the walking undead are very nice and varied, and you can actually distinguish which zombie is making which noise as you get close to them. The music in the game is very fun, since instead of a hard rock soundtrack that you might expect to find when you first pick up the controller, Capcom instead utilized the very best elevator music and muzak that you'd expect to find in a mall. The music plays over the malls PA system, so it doesn't cover up the excellent sound effects in the game. Is it strange that I call the sound effects excellent? You'll understand when you hear them. Everything sounds very realistic, from the sound of a zombie getting cut to pieces by a stainless steel katana blade, to the disgusting sound of an enemies head exploding into red mush as you club them over the head with a bowling ball. Any game that can gross me out simply with sound alone means you're on to something great.
Easily the biggest problem in the game. At first handling is no problem. If all you had to face were zombies, the control scheme would be just fine. However when you face the games bosses this turns out to be a different story. Most of the bosses ask you to do incredible moves, with very little to work with. Only one of the boss fights requires any kind of real strategy at all, and the fight isn't a part of the main story anyway, and most of the time your best option is either using guns, which isn't very fun after you get your hands on 2x4s and lead pipes, or using powerful melee weapons like chainsaws and sledge hammers, but this also means you'll need at least 4 or 5 healing items so you won't end up dying in the process. I will say that the aiming system is at least okay, sometimes you'll find that you can easily get five head shots very quickly, but when you face bosses it seems too complex for some reason. Truly the boss battles seem to be designed so you have to stand back and used fire arms instead of the weapons in which this game was built for. Truly, it's hard to get through these fights without a lot of frustration. Also, some of the moves you can learn as you level up through the game are borderline useless. For some reason you are required to click the left thumbstick in conjunction with the A and X buttons in order to do a simple football tackle that does only limited damage anyway. Really, the only good moves you learn are the jump and spinning kick, and the disembowler. Hopefully, should Capcom make a sequel(and it's Capcom so you know they will) they issues can be resolved.
Besides the boss fights the rest of the game is an incredible experience. Hidden weapons lay everywhere, the ability to change clothes is fun, silly, and downright creepy at times, and it's also fun using the camera to capture as many strange and silly things you can find. The achievementsare, if nothing else, interesting, and add a little incentive to keep playing for a while to come. The biggest problem, besides the boss fights, is the how narrow the window of opportunity is to continue the story. All the story events are on a strict time limit, which means if you aren't at a certain area at a certain time the whole story is gone forever unless you reload your last saved game (which might have been a long time ago, since you get so distracted by other things that you just forget to save), or save your character stats and start a new game. Dead Rising runs on a one save per profile function, which means you only have one save file so if you miss an event it's either go back, or play what's left of the game. The whole game is designed for multiple play throughs, which is why they did this, but I don't really think it was necessary. If the in game time was slowed down, this would help things, because you never have enough time to really go and do what you want and stay on the storyline as well. However, the satisfaction of putting a bucket on a zombies head, kicking him down a flight of stairs, and then proceeding to use a golf club to hit golf balls into a horde of zombies somehow seems to make up for all the little mistakes. Not to mention Capcom also made an interesting story line, so you actually do want to see the end of the game and solve the mystery. For some reason, I hope Dead Rising and Resident Evil meet up in some kind of cross over game, sometime in the near future.
The bottom line, if you have a 360 and are 17 or older, buy this game. Heck, even if your not 17, but it anyway. It's worth it, and hey, I promise not to tell your mom. Along with Prey, this game is a bright spot in a rather boring time in the 360's life span.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/29/06
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