Review by kiriyama2

"Now I know how the people at the end of any zombie movie must've felt"

Have you ever been watching a movie like Dawn of the Dead, Zombi 2, Land of the Dead or basically any zombie movie in existence where at the end of the movie there's always that final onslaught of zombies that swarm upon the hapless humans, and just go about devouring them and you see the other ones running away in terror, and trying to fight them off? Now have you ever watched a movie like that and thought: Hey that'd be awesome to be a part of? Well thanks to the fabulous work of the people at Capcom you can be that guy at the end of any zombie movie who's injured and has to run through swarms of zombies in a desperate attempt to get away.

In Dead Rising you play as Frank West, a freelance photojournalist, who goes to a small town in Colorado to investigate some rumors about the town. Once in the town you get to control Frank and get used to the picture taking system that's implemented in the game. Taking pictures of zombies amassing near school buses that have been abandoned in the middle of the street, a guy standing on top of a car fighting off the dead that are trying to make him their lunch, and other such wonderfully horrible picture opportunities. Then you're just dropped off on the top of the Willamette Parkview Mall (which in my opinion is way too big for a "small town" like Willamette, but hey). After the cinematics that set up the basic story for the game you actually get to control Frank and wander down into the mall.

Once there you come across a group of survivors setting up a barricade against the undead hordes that have gathered at the main entrance of the mall, the supposed leader of the group tells you to find stuff to help strengthen the barricade, not that you actually help with the barricade mind you. The zombies break into the mall in an exquisite looking rampage of violence and mayhem! This humble reviewer actually giggled maniacally at this and loved standing on top of a kiosk to get pictures of survivors futilely trying to fight off the zombies. This is actually one of Dead Rising's great points. The massive amounts of zombies on screen at a time. I don't know if Capcom actually succeeded in implementing the suggested thousand on screen, but they did manage to put in a lot of walking shambling corpses. The maintenance tunnels especially have a lot on screen. I would like to express this mathematically if I may: Bunch of zombies on screen + shotgun = a bloody (literally) good time! The game manages to capture the look and feel of a shopping mall very well. It serves as a nice contrast of the indiscriminate zombie death that you'll be dealing out by the handfuls. The environments look clean and orderly despite the zombie outbreak. The zombies in the game look amazing, there are of course occasionally the group of zombies that contain five that look like one another, but there are several hundred on screen so of course some zombie models are going to be reused. The models for the survivors (or zombie food as I affectionately refer to them) all look different from one another, I don't recall any one survivor looking similar to another.

The sound in Dead Rising has to be some of the best sound work I've heard in a video game. Not for the voice acting, good though it may be, it's for sounding like a real mall... apart from the vast number of flesh eaters I mean. All throughout the game you'll hear a bunch of cheesy muzak play throughout the mall. Which actually leads to the ambiance of the game. I think it's a nice contrast to the constant moans and groans of the zombies. The zombies sound great, they'll shuffle around moaning, and if you should happen to get too close to one of them they'll roar in agitation and lunge at you, complete with a nice juicy chomping sound. Also I love the fact that Capcom went all out with the weapons sound effects. Hit a zombie with a baseball bat, it sounds like you're hitting a zombie with a baseball bat. Wail on 'em with an electric guitar it will produce a pleasing crunch sound along with some minor chords from the guitar, and the chainsaw! I think it's just loads of fun (in an evil sadistic way) to run down a corridor filled with zombies with a chainsaw ripping into zombies with a wonderfully sawing sound.

The gameplay is hands down some of the most fun I've had in a long while. While others may whine about annoyances like the timed missions and how you have to be at a certain point otherwise you have to restart the game, I found it rather easy to kill a bunch of zombies, a psychopath, and be back at the assigned area within the time limit. See not only do you get to fight the undead citizenry of Willamette, you also occasionally come across some survivors who have decided that basically you're a hindrance to their survival, so you're gonna die. These boss fights are really the main annoyance in the game. More than once I almost flung my controller to the floor, but I think they made these fights very difficult because it's easy to mow down the zombies with little to no problem. Which is really the meat of the game. Killing zombies with a bunch of everyday items, sure you'll probably just want to kill 'em with a gun chainsaw or sword, but how often do you get to kill zombies with a drilling weapon that when you ram it into a zombie's stomach then proceed to use the zombie on the drill as a weapon (body spins and knocks down other zombies, and loses limbs in the process)? Or use a shopping cart that's been fitted with all sorts of blades to make it a unstoppable cart of death? Or a lawnmower? Want to throw a pie at a zombie, how about rolling a bowling ball and knocking over the dead like walking bowling pins? Dead Rising lets you use any item as a weapon, it's especially fun when you're cornered by a crowd of zombies and all you're other weapons have broken, and you end up hurling a book at 'em just to keep 'em back. Another great aspect of the game is you often come across just normal survivors who are quick to follow you, in the hopes that you'll take them back to the security office so that they can be rescued, the great thing that Dead Rising does is that you don't have to ensure these peoples survival. You can often times just use them as a hapless tool to keep the zombies off of you while you and possibly another survivor run off to get back to the security room. Also sometimes you get treated to a video of said survivor being pinned to the ground and get eaten by five or so zombies (just like in the movies), but sadly you don't ever really get to take a picture of something like that. The photography aspect of the game is something they encourage you to do, but don't force on you. You could easily get through the game without taking more than two or three photos.

The game has great replayability, after you complete the main story mode you unlock Infinite Mode where you can run around killing zombies and not have to worry about that pesky timer/scoop missions. Overall I would highly recommend this game to just about anyone who has a 360, you'd be hard pressed to find a better zombie game. At least, until the sequel comes out.

Pros:
The sheer amounts of zombies they have on-screen at a time.
The wide variety of weapons you can wield
Vehicles (now honestly who couldn't enjoy running down zombies on a motorcycle?)
Homicidal clowns
Infinite Mode
Gun store with respawning shotguns
Great soundtrack during the psychopath fights

Cons:
The save system (often seems like it's working against ya)
The fact that it doesn't have some sort of a checkpoint system (so when you die after you killed a psychopath or two and rescued a survivor you get to do it all over again cause a zombie snuck up out of nowhere and killed you)
Insanely difficult boss fights
Agonizing missions at points
Otis (you'll see)

Graphics: 10/10
Sound: 10/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Replayability: 10/10
Story: 9/10
Overall: 10/10 (really a 9.6, but can't use decimals, so I rounded up)


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/22/06


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