Review by Raganork10
"The worst zombie game ever..."
They're slow, scary, stupid, and unbelievably popular. That's right, they're zombies, and we al know how many times zombies have appeared in video games. But what's not to love about them; they're fun to decapitate and mess with, and it's pretty funny to watch them attack people. Dead Rising, fortunately, has not just a few zombies, but a mall swarming with them. That's great!...or so I thought at first. My experience with Dead Rising actually made me hate zombies. Why? Well, you'll see.
Let's start out with the controls. They're easy to get used to after a while, although the control scheme isn't exactly convenient for first time players.
Now that that's out of the way, let's get onto the main problems with Dead Rising. There are 3 major issues that completely ruined this game.
One: There's a time limit. You don't even know how many things are wrong with this idea. For starters, there are missions that you have to complete in order to progress in the story. If you beat all the missions you beat the game. Ok, let's break this down so you can see how the time limit plays in. You have 72 in game hours (6 real hours) to solve the mystery of the zombie outbreak at a local mall. Within this time, you must solve a series of 'cases' to unravel the mystery. Alright, simple enough. But now imagine trying to get from one side of the mall to the other, then fight a boss, then retrieve an item, then return to the security room all in about 6 in game hours (30 minutes). That's pretty hard right? Now include a swarm of hundreds of zombies. Oooh, that's pretty tough. Now include a small health bar and a small weapons inventory space. Umm, that's really hard. Now that you're done with all that, you have 15 real life minutes to go underground and disarm bombs in a swarm of zombies while fighting a boss with grenades on him. It will drive you insane and make you furious. You will constantly be reminded of the time you have left that you will be forced to do nothing but follow the missions consistently. You'll be lucky if you have more than a half hour to enjoy leveling up and killing zombies. This ruins the experience because most people that buy this game do so in order to kill zombies in every way they can, which you can do if you find the time for it. Basically, the whole game is a chore in which you must follow a strict schedule to get everything done. But maybe you don't want to follow the story; maybe you just want to kill zombies until time runs out. You can do that, but without following the story you wont be able to get the best weapons, you'll miss out on many achievements, and the game will become repetitive quickly if you don't beat the game correctly.
Two: Leveling up. After getting a specific number of prestige points (pp) you will level up, which grants you a RANDOM bonus. This can be a health boost, inventory boost, attribute boost, or a new attack move. I stress random because anything can happen when you level up, there's no set pattern. Meaning, you can go 3 or 4 levels without getting a health boost (which you will definitely need) or a inventory boost (which lets you hold more weapons). Instead, more often than not you will probably get a rather useless attack move, such as throwing a zombie that's got you in a choke-hold. Basically, you need to level up in order to beat the bosses, but the sporadic system of leveling up can make it hard to accomplish anything on your first play-though. Which leads me to...
Three: Difficulty. This has got to be one of the hardest Xbox 360 I've ever played. It gets really hard really fast, all thanks to the time limit and leveling up. Almost all the bosses are difficult if you aren't levelled up good enough. Surviving in a pit of zombies can also prove to be quite difficult. They aren't any difficulty levels, just one really hard standard mode. But probably what makes this game so hard is the weapons. There are many different weapons as almost anything can be used to fight zombies with. Obviously, a gun is stronger than a stuffed bear. Most weapons are just for comedic purposes, such as the giant lipstick prop. However, some are actually so strong that they make it feel like you're cheating (**cough** mini-chainsaws **cough*). But eventually, all weapons break, which forces you to seek out new weapons. This is perhaps most aggravating when fighting a boss, because you must then seek out any nearby weapons if your current inventory is wiped clean. Overall, the game is too hard on the first playthrough (which should be spent levelling up) and extremely easy after beating it the first time. If the difficulty makes you mad, then just wait until you hear about saving. You can only save in the Security room or the mall bathrooms, of which there are about 4. After finding one of these inconveniently located save points, you can save on one file. That means you MUST overwrite your previous save. That also means that if you mess up the story mode because you arrived at a mission too late, you must restart the game. You can carry over your current stats, but starting over is a pain to do in any game, especially this one.
Now onto the minor problems with the game. There are healing food and drinks that can be used to restore your lost health. Most of the time, you can find healing items anywhere. But when you are in desperate need of health, any box you open will contain anything but food stuff. I once had 2 bars of health and broke open 3 boxes only to find one head of cabbage and two shower heads. This makes the game more survival based, which is great, but it seems that the good things disappear when you desperately need them most.
There are also guns in the game. But they are more of a pain to use than anything else. You must stand still and aim over the shoulder to attack anything. This leaves you prone to attacks a lot, so they aren't always the best weapon to use. If they weren't so powerful early in the game, they'd be useless. There isn't a very big selection of them anyways.
I would also like to mention the underground: a tunnel of zombies standing neck to neck from wall to wall which serves as the ultimate zombie zone. Many achievements can be obtained here, but without adequate skills and items, don't even think about going there.
Now for some positive things. You can customise Frank, the protagonist, with many different combinations of clothing from many stores. This is actually quite entertaining to do and adds some weird experiences in the game: anyone up for Frank in a skirt?
The game is also fun to play if you manage to beat both the "72 hour mode" and the "Overtime mode." These are the two main modes in which the story takes place. After beating both, you unlock Infinity Mode, a mode in which you can do whatever you want to survive. This is the ultimate survival experience and what actually makes the game fun. This mode should have been available from the start. Without Infinity mode, this game would've been even more terrible.
It's boring and uncaptivating, pretty much like many other zombie games. You are a photojournalist and must find out the mystery surrounding the zombie outbreak at a mall in Colorado. Once you enter the mall, you must solve a series of cases to find out who created the zombie virus and who released it in the mall. There are many different endings, most of which leave they mystery unresolved. If you get the "A" ending, you find out everything that happened. It is not scary at all. It is more comedic and dramatic if anything, which isn't a bad thing, but not really appropriate for a zombie game. It has some characters that try to be serious, but end up being more funny than serious. Such as Adam the Clown, a clown that has gone crazy after seeing his audience turn into zombies and ends up laughing the entire time he talks, which brings out a few chuckles in people more then seriousness. Overall, it isn't interesting or exciting. Although unique, there's nothing about it that makes it amazing or better than other stories.
There are many basic noises and standard sound effects. Guns sound similar to those of Resident Evil 4, and everything else sounds OK. As for voice acting, I can't tell if Capcom hired professional actors or not. Most people sound like emotionless zombies (no pun intended). Frank always sounds shocked at everything he hears. Such as the scenario when he is handed a gun and is asked if he ever used one before, to which he replies in a surprised tone, "I never fired at a person before!" Nice voice actors Capcom.
One thing affects the graphics in Dead Rising, and that is weather or not you own a HDTV or not. If you don't own one or an HDMI cable, you will be plagued with EXTREMELY small text and blurry graphics. Unfortunately, after 2 years of complaints Capcom has still not decided to include an update to fix this problem. So if you have a standard definition TV, be prepared to zoom in on the TV and squint whenever you get a call from the frequently annoying Otis in order to read the microscopic text.
Dead Rising could've been a decent game, but instead is a mediocre and monotonously irritating experience that will leave you frustrated or with a broken TV due to frequent controller throws from game restarts. Rent it if you're a zombie lover, but if constant restarting and annoying as heck gameplay isn't your thing, don't bother. It isn't scary, it isn't exciting, and it becomes boring after a while. But hey, that's Dead Rising for you.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 02/20/09
Game Release: Dead Rising (US, 08/08/06)
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