Review by Exodist

"Best game on 360."

Lets not count Oblivion, because I already have it on PC. OK, its the second best game on 360. But its the best one I own, thats for sure. Dead Rising puts YOU inside a mall, for three days, with thousands of zombies all coming to eat your brains. You must survive this, and take photos and do some other stuff. At first, I just thought it was some kill-a-thon game, arcade style, you would go through levels and such. Or maybe it was a sandbox. So it seemed average, but I still got it. Instead, we have a lot more then killing. Although killing zombies is a major part of the game, of course.

I can't really give much information away, because the idea of the game is to learn the plot as you go along. Anyways, Frank West, a photographer hears about some incident at Willamette, and goes to check it out. He flies in on a helicopter, and enters town, seeing loads of riots. Why would humans be killing other humans? Frank takes photos, and eventually sees a giant mall. He asks to get put onto the mall, and tells the pilot to come back in exactly three days to pick him up. Frank then heads into the mall, to find some survivors. Soon after, the zombies break in, and Frank must try to discover what the hell is going on, and what has happened, whilst trying to save people, and keep himself alive.

Dead Rising sets you off in a giant mall, and after some introductory scenes, you start to play the game for real. The main game mode, "72 Hour Mode" sets you off with a number of tasks. The main part of 72 Hour Mode are the cases. You must get back to the security room (the base of operations for the main group of survivors) for a certain time on different days to start the next case. All of the cases should be done, and I think on your first play through you HAVE to do them all, im not sure though. The cases tend to be killing psychopaths, the bosses of Dead Rising (nope, no super human monsters), or just some running around and collecting. They never get dull, and each case usually tells us something more of the games plot. The cases span all through out the 72 hours your at Willamette mall, and this is where you have to balance your time correctly.

Whilst completing cases, you have scoops to do as well. Again, a guy called Otis will call you, usually when your in a boss battle, or just at a really bad time. He tells you of any survivors in the mall, or any strange going ons, which are scoops. These are fully optional, and prove to be fun, and a past time when there is nothing to do. You will get a lot of PP for doing these as well, which is basically EXP (next paragraph). The time the scoops start are all fixed and such, although on your first play through, its more or less impossible to complete everything, you will have to play through the game quite a couple of times before you can take on getting 100% in just the 72 game hours (the game lasts around under 10 real hours for each play through). Most of the time your just finding survivors. They can be found when not in scoops too, some times just wandering around, again, in the same location and at certain times. You must them safely get them back to the security room, and trust me, getting them past all those zombies isn't easy. NPCs are STUPID in Dead Rising, seriously. They usually tend to run through the large zombie groups, never fight back, and if you give them weapons, they attack the zombies that are furthest away from them. I just wish you could carry ANY survivor, that would help a lot. Still, its fun planning all these routes and such, trying to survive. Until it gets really frustrating.

The difficulty of Dead Rising is VERY HARD. At first, I thought it was pretty easy. The further I got, the more zombies that came, the more I got annoyed. Luckily, Capcom have an RPG type system added into the game. You can gain PP, which is just basically EXP, which can be gained in a number of ways. Rather then gaining a certain amount of PP from killing a single zombie, you get PP when your kill total ends in a fifty, a hundred, or a thousand. Meaning you should kill zombies, but don't expect a reward for every single one you kill. Some weapons, like the Sickle for example, will gain you a VERY SMALL PP bonus for killing an enemy, like when you chop their head off, you gain 10PP bonus. It all adds up though. When you level up, either your Attack, Speed, Health, Throw Distance, or your Item stock, or even learn a new melee skill. You can get up to level 50, in which all your stats are maxed, and you have EVERY single skill. You need a lot of PP to get to level 50 though, on my first play through, I got around 1.5 million PP, and was level 29. Whoa, sounds hard to get to level 50 right? Nope, your stats are carried over to your next play through, making the game get progressively easier, thank god. You can also get PP by completing Scoops, saving people, and by taking photos of funny, horrific, or even erotic stuff, or of PP stickers, which gain you A LOT of PP. The RPG system works in Dead Rising, and is a god send. If we always had those crap level 1 stats, simply put, this game would be impossible.

The mall is an interesting place to explore. Not only is it interesting, and fun to look around, it houses some of the most barbaric, cutesy, or just down right evil looking weaponry. Katanas? Check. Shopping Trolley of Death? Check, (its a trolley with a giant pitch fork sticking out the front, with loads of other weapons attached to it). A kids novelty mask? Check. Its all there, with well over 100 weapons in the mall for you to pick up, and use. The weapons will break after a while though, but there are so many in the mall, you hardly run out. But when you have nothing left, and zombies are closing in on you, it can get very intense indeed. You see, at first, Dead Rising seems pretty easy. But it gets a lot harder. You start out selecting what weapon you want, then suddenly, your desperate. All the average weapons seem to break faster, and greed is your biggest mistake. Dead Rising is hard. Get over it.

So this is the paragraph about bad things. OK, the save system is the main bad thing. Basically, you can only have one save game to a profile. Now this didn't really annoy me much, thats just a minor detail. Now, you may of been scanning the different reviews, I sure have. If I recall correctly, one of them said there was only one save point in the whole game. Don't worry, this is false. There has to be at least ten or so in the whole game, there is one at the security room, one at this hideout, and then one at every other toilet in the game. They are evenly spread out, provided you can actually find them. When you die, thats it, game over, reload last save. The only problem is, what if you don't have the time to save it, AND get back in time for the next case? Or what if your really low on health, and no way near any food shop? This is an annoying thing, almost making you eke out longer to try and live. Also, the game is arguably a little too short. I mean, yeah if it was 10 days long it would of dragged on, but the main game seems short. Its a good job you can unlock two extra game modes, Overtime (the aftermath) and infinity mode, where you just try to survive for as long as possible, with out saving!

Graphics... They're completely amazing. Really, I haven't seen another 360 game with such quality (out of the ones I own). Good character model detail, and they even have tongues in their mouths, not just the 2D teeth! The animation is as good as the graphics, and the zombies look pretty good. For a character sprite that appears in the game so often, im surprised with the amount of detail gone into them. Sure, they don't look as good as the main characters, but still, they look impressive enough. Textures look good, especially on a HD TV. Music is scarce, usually its just that really annoying lift style music to try and calm you down, but it suits the game well, you ARE in a mall afterall. Sound effects are good enough quality too.

PROS:

Great fun to play.
Unique game play, and story line.
Doesn't get boring for a looooooong time.

CONS:

A bit too short.
Save system will annoy some players.

THE RATINGS:

Graphics: 9.3/10
Audio: 8.5/10
Game Play: 9.0/10
Story: 8.7/10
Life Span: 8.4/10
Difficulty: 9.2/10
Multiplayer: N/A

Overall: 9.3/10

My Two Pence

Best 360 game? Definitely, I don't have any regrets saying that. It truly is a unique, very fun experience, and a sequel is most probably already in the works, provided how successful it has been. If your a 360 owner, get this game, this is it. Until something else thats better comes out, Dead Rising is the game which is worth owning a 360 itself. Don't miss out.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/30/06


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