Review by gaiaquake
"One of the 360s best games so far"
As you can see on the score above I have given this game a 9 not a 10 it deserves. This is simply because I don't think any game deserves the perfect ten. Dead rising is the best game on the 360 so far and I will give a more accurate score at the end of the review.
So... a game set in a mall full of zombies. Why does that sound so familiar? Hmmm was their a movie with a similar premise?? Anyway moving on. Dead rising looks from basic first impressions to be nothing more than a dull generic hack and slash game. However there is so much more to it than that. In fact I think some of the things implanted in this game are incredibly intuitive.
Graphics: The graphics in Dead rising are. In my opinion amazing, however they are not the photo realistic graphics most people want from next gen. The violence in dead rising is meant to be comical. Would shoving a shower head in the face of a zombie and then watching the blood squirt out be as funny if the zombies looked real? I doubt it. Dead rising goes for a slightly more cartoony style. Think comic book cartoony not Disney cartoony. However it is still done incredibly well. Frank looks brilliant and incredibly detailed as do most of the key survivors. Also one thing that is good is the massive amount of character models this game has. At time there can be up to 1000 zombies on screen at once but all of the zombies have different models. Sure if you really tried to find some similar ones you probably would find them. However considering the early resident evil games which had like a max of 4 zombies on screen at once only had like 2 character models this is a big achievement.
Audio: Dead Rising boasts some quite impressive audio. Most of the time the only music playing is the peaceful jingles played in most malls. This plus the constant groaning of 1000+ zombies makes it very y chilling indeed. When in a boss fight music is played and each boss has their own "theme tune". Even if you don't like the tacks you can always play your own tunes though like in all 360 games. Survivors also have their own screams and shouts. Most survivors can be hard screaming for help and in pain when attacked by zombies. My only real problem with the audio in this game is that when asking a survivor to follow you there is no voice over. The plot cut scenes and psychopath death scenes all contain very good voice acting but survivors don't get this. Instead you just get text. Annoyingly the text is very small unless you have a HD TV so you will have to strain to read it. I've managed to get used to it now but be warned if you have very bad eyesight.
Story: Dead rising's story isn't the best ever invented but is still pretty good considering the obvious comic nature of this game. The initial premise to dead rising is that you, Frank West freelance photojournalist, have heard that the town of Willamette Colorado has been blocked off by the army. Frank West gets a helicopter in to town to investigate and finds the town overrun by the living dead (heh didn't see that coming did ya). He gets dropped off on the mall roof and has 3 days to find out what has caused the outbreak and take this information with him to make his award winning story when the helicopter comes back in 72 hours. I don't want to spoil the story for you but let me tell you it does quite good. Nothing ground breaking or award winning. Let me just tell you that in the final hours before the helicopter arrives things get very interesting!!! Or maybe they don't. You see the actions you perform throughout this game greatly affect the direction of the story. There are in fact 6 endings to dead rising. Next I will tell you about the gameplay in Dead Rising and how it affects the direction of the story.
Gameplay: When I first saw this game previewed over a year ago, before the 360, was released, it looked like a very basic slasher game. You have a wide selection of weapons which you can use to beat the crap out of zombies with etc etc. However there is so much more to this game. As mentioned about the main protagonist in this game has 3 days to find his story before the helicopter arrives to take him to safety. Therefore you spend the whole game against the clock. Various things in this game happen at set times and it is up to you the player to manage your time carefully. Basically there are two different types of missions in this game: cases and scoops. Cases are plot missions which must be completed to progress the main plot in the game and therefore get the "good" ending. The other missions or "Scoops" are side missions given to you by the mall janitor Otis. They could be anything from rescuing a survivor to killing a mad man in the mall. It is up to you in this game to decide what your main priority is. For example you may have a plot mission that expires in an in game hour. You may also have several survivors in dire need for help. You decide where to go and what to do. If you miss a scoop then a survivor dies or a psychopath gets away. However if you miss a case the truth behind the zombie incident stays a mystery forever and you must load a past save file or just get a different ending. Now one question you may be asking yourself is what is the point of doing scoop? They don't affect the plot so why should I waste my time with them?? Well the answer to this is PP or prestige points. As a journalist you must take pictures which will be later used for you ground breaking zombie story. These pictures are rated on terms of gore, horror, drama and erotica and you are awarded PP based on these criteria. PP is also obtained by rescuing survivors, killing mad clowns, or other random stuff like going on a treadmill. This PP is used to level you up. As you level you gain more health, you get faster, you can hold more items and you can learn new moves. By the time you have reached the level cap you will be able to take down most zombies without weapons. Some of my favourite moves include Disembowel (pull out a zombies intestines!!!), and Face Crusher (grab a zombies head and smash it into the ground!!!!). The PP is a real incentive and also makes the game a lot easier. Some bosses may be really hard to do at early levels but after doing a few scoops things get a lot easier. Another neat feature is that if you are finding the game too hard you can restart at you're current level. For example say you come to a very hard boss but are only level 9 or 10. You can restart the game at this level so when you fight the boss again you will be around level 19 or 20. This nice little feature also adds to the re-playability of this game. There are a few very slight problems with the gameplay in dead rising one of the being survivor AI. The developers have tried to make the survivors more human by making them react to their surroundings. One survivor may be terrified and only follow you when the coast is completely clear. Others are too brave and rush into crowds of zombies. Even though it would have been less realistic it would have been better if the survivors simply followed me like mindless zombies (no pun intended)
Relay: As mentioned above you play dead rising against the clock so the length of this game is not based on your skill but is the same every time. The 72 hours take about 7 real hours. This may not sound like a lot but the game has many features that will keep you coming back for more. First of all there are the multiple endings that are mentioned above. There are also some nice achievements that require a lot of had work to attain. This includes Saint where you have to rescue 50 survivors (out of 53) and Zombie Genocider where you must kill 53,594 zombies. For those that don't know 53,594 is the population of Willamette and this achievement is a joke on the fact that zombies still spawn even after the entire population is dead. Completing the main game and getting ending also opens up another mode which includes more of the story and the prestigious "true" ending. Completing this mode unlocks infinite mode where you simply have to survive for as long as possible in the mall. There is a leader board for this mode and also a leader board for the most PP gained in a single game. There are also some random extras that make you come back for more. I recently found a shop that contained battle axes that I never knew existed which provided great entertainment for an hour or so. Little secret things like this keep the game fresh all time.
Overall this game is brilliant. The time management system is a great feature that I could see implemented more in games of the future. It really feels like you are part of a zombie outbreak with the number of zombies increasing as time goes on. The survivor AI can be annoying at time and I would have like a bit more depth in to the stories of some of the psychopaths but this does not stop this game from achieving greatness. Just have to wait till Dead Rising 2 now (please Capcom make it)
Overall Score- 9.8
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 10/20/06
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