Review by Carnival Nights

"Must…Eat…Brain…"

Finally, Capcom does a zombie game that isn't Resident Evil. Dead Rising is Capcom's latest zombie game and let it be known, there is no Raccoon City, no evil Umbrella Corp. and most importantly no mansions, police stations, or train cars filled with puzzles. Just one big giant mall…filled with zombies of course.

You're Frank West. Some poor sap who thought it would be a great idea to get dropped off into a mall full of zombies and you'll be living with them for the next 72 hours, but look on the bright side: You don't have to pay for anything.

The entire 72 hours (roughly 7 hours) of the game is broken down in cases. These are essentially missions given to Frank that must be completed within a time limit. Missing a case warrants it as expired an essentially means you've failed to complete the case. What's really great about this system is that the difference between passing or failing is who you rescue when you've been given scoops. Now what are scoops you wonder? They're essentially side missions that involve the rescuing or murdering of survivors and while it isn't necessarily to rescue or kill them, they really help immerse you into the situation you've placed yourself in. The only real con of cases is the fact that there isn't any branching involved. Although the endings you receive depend on whether you complete or fail cases, branching would've really given this game even more replay value.

Although zombies are nothing new to Capcom, the way they implemented them into this game are. Essentially Frank is trapped in a mall that is filled to the brim with them. What's so great about this idea is that it's something that people have always dreamed about, but were never able to play out in video game form. Before Dead Rising, most people had to resort to either Halo 2's zombies custom game or Grand Theft Auto's cheat code that makes every single NPC attack your main character. The concept should also remind gamers of a little movie that was released not too long ago that (the director's name and movie series name are right on the cover), but surprisingly enough there's no obligatory sex scene.

The game's selling point, everything being a weapon, is definitely no gimmick as Dead Rising contains several weapons, both real and improvised, to bash away at the mindless undead that fill the mall. Also, being in a mall you can expect several unique varieties of weapons and items that you would've never thought of whacking a zombie such as women's purses, clothes hangers, kiddy light saber swords, CDs, plates, hot sauce, and lawnmowers and of course you've got your typical power weapons that include the likes of 2x4s, machine guns, machetes, axes, motorcycles, and etc. Although there are tons of weapons which can be used, there are also tons of hand to hand abilities Frank can learn as he progresses in levels. A little bit of an RPG flair is added since Frank can level up by gaining PP (Prestige Points) by taking well timed photographs with his camera, defeating zombies, and rescuing and killing survivors. Also by gaining levels, Frank's own stats start to increase such as strength, speed, inventory capacity, and etc.

The whole architecture of the mall is also wonderfully well done. In most games, most notably several Resident Evil games, the design of the environment is fitted to the style of the genre so you'll notice in Resident Evil games that for some reason, a crescent stone that was taken from a statue is meant to be fitted into a crack in a wall that coincidentally has a crescent shape, but in Dead Rising the design of the mall is exactly the same design you would expect in a real mall. It definitely would be of no surprise if a real mall architecture designed this mall because it is indefinitely the most genuine piece of gaming environment to ever be experienced.

In this world, there's a yin and a yang. The good and the bad. Although Dead Rising has tons of great things going for it, the bad just can't seem to go away no matter how much you try ignoring it. Graphics, sound, and controls are nothing to rave about.

The only notable comment to make about graphics is how many zombies can fit on screen with absolutely no slow down. Sound is absolutely horrid with very annoying survivor voice overs that repeat over and over and over again. Aiming would've been great if the right analog stick was used, but instead a very counterproductive left analog stick was used. Survivor AI also takes a back seat with them being incredibly stupid regardless of the situation.

Many will cry foul to the fact that there is only one save slot and absolutely no autosaves or checkpoints, but it something that makes sense. The developers at Capcom meant for this game to be replayed over to see the different endings and to play out scenarios differently. To add multiple save slots would only kill that idea by having gamers save only at the most crucial moments and from there, just take an alternative route to the ending.

If you're thinking Dead Rising is just another zombie game, then you're dead wrong and you owe it to yourself to experience what this game is truly about. Although there are some nagging problems, that's still no excuse to skip out on this game. Besides, there's nothing more satisfying than killing a zombie with a lawnmower.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/15/06, Updated 08/17/06


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