Review by Odinfighter
"Things Are Not As They Spleen...."
Excuse the horrible pun, it was all I could come up with after five minutes.
My initial impressions of Dead Rising from early screen shots and videos had me worried; we really didn't need another State of Emergency. We really didn't. After downloading the demo and realizing that there was actually a STORY (and by the quality of the cutscenes, a damn good one) tacked onto the game, I felt more than intrigued and excited. Since it was about that time for a new game (you know the time), I headed out and purchased Dead Rising. I was not disappointed.
Dead Rising features a strange control scheme, being both confusing and extremely simple at the same time. To pick up a weapon (which could be anything from a deadly katana to a....deadly bench. Everything is actually pretty deadly in this game) requires only a single B button push. To attack with said item uses only one button as well, being the X button no matter which item you hold. You can also throw the item you hold, which only requires you to hold down the right trigger before pressing the same attack button. Easy, right? Right. The only down part to weapon-based combat is the inventory system, which can sometimes be frustrating as you frantically try to flick through all of your items before finally getting to whichever one you want to drop in order to pick up whatever new weapon you are standing over. This sometimes happens at a time when you are surrounded by zombies (this is, in fact, the cornerstone of the game, being surrounded by zombies), leading to more frustration as you are bitten while holding a gallon of orange juice in your hand. Not quite the best weapon to use against the undead. Though slightly tainted by the inventory system, which, to tell the truth, is great until it gets full, that is the simple part of the control scheme. The slightly frustrating part is the slew of karate/non-weapon attacks Frank learns throughout the course of the game, thanks to a very cool leveling up system. Some of these moves are either incredibly hard to pull off (to do a roundhouse kick, you must tap X the moment you land, which really only works about half of the time....not quite the stats you need when you're constantly battling for your life), or horribly designed (a few of the moves require difficult button presses, as in clicking the left thumbstick repeatedly while being bitten by a zombie. This is more difficult that it sounds in the heat of the moment. Another move requires you to be directly at the side of a zombie. Hmm...). Don't get me wrong, there are still a lot of combat skills that are useful, such as a jump kick and double lariat, but most of them are just for show.
The story in Dead Rising was surprising for a few different reasons. The first being that the developers of this game could have easily focused solely on giving the player a mall filled with zombies to deal with and leave it with the pure entertainment of just that, but instead decided to include a story with what I found to be a well written script and very cinematic cutscenes. The main character, Frank, ended up coming across as your every day guy, complete with the shining morals and dry humor needed to survive a mall full of zombies. The dialouge was very realistic as well, a very nice change from the stuffy cliche awkwardness that plauges lesser video games. The decision to make Frank a semi-ugly, brutish type of character confused me at first, as I found myself initially laughing at his huge forehead and all-buisness nose, but later realized that this played into his every-man character type, which really was his strongest feature. This connection with the main character really made it easy to get lost in the story, which means you cared more about what happened, which, in turn, upped the urgency of every second spent in the game. Well played!
Nothing mind blowing here, except for the sheer amount of zombies on screen. This fact alone will make you gape at your TV a few times, but otherwise you'll just be more or less indifferent to the character models (though for some reason, all of their teeth are slightly yellow....)
This section of the review is questionable, since this game sort of demands replayability. The main portion of the game is a mode called "72 hour mode", where you have three days to spend your time in the mall any way you want (there is a main story line to follow, but it's really your choice). Since you only get to spend three days in there, disregarding the Overtime and Infinity modes, you really have to replay it a few times to experience everything. This, of course, is not a bad thing at all, since slaughtering hordes of zombies has yet to get old.
This game is brutally gruesome to the point where it becomes awesome, and with a great story to boot, it really is something to experience. Though you COULD rent it, I would have to put my vote towards buying it, since I can see myself jumping on this game again in the future to let out some stress as I rip through groups upon bloody groups of mindless undead zombies. It's some good, clean, gorey fun.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/22/06
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