Review by crestfallen49

"An absolute must for zombie fans!"

Because of financial reasons, I jumped on the Xbox 360 train after it had been on the tracks for quite some time. As such, I had a pretty hefty list of games to pick up when I finally did get the system. As a huge fan of anything zombies, Dead Rising was #1 on my list. I am happy to say that I did not come away disappointed.

I must admit that I was a little apprehensive after the first hour or so of game play. I died...a lot. (Which may or not have been partially influenced by the fact that I hadn't played a console game in quite some time, thanks to a year long World of Warcraft binge). I found myself a little frustrated after my first session with the game, but I soldiered on. This is what I found.

Story:
Dead Rising drops you in the role a Frank West, a freelance photojournalist who has gotten a tip that something big is going down. Armed with his camera Frank is flown over the small town by helicopter and it doesn't take long to see that strange things are happening below. Frank instructs the pilot to set down on the top of the town mall and to come back for him in 3 days. This is where you take over and delve into the mall.

Graphics:
Graphically Dead Rising is not stellar, but certainly not a disappointment either. It's not on par with games like Gears of War, but considering the sheer mass of zombies on-screen at once I think it more than delivers. I did notice late in the game a bit of lag, particularly during the final boss fight, but it is not severe enough to take anything away from the experience.

Sound:
The sound was also satisfying. You've got your standard grunts and groans from the undead crowd, as well as varying soundtracks in different parts of the mall. Again, as with the graphics, the sound isn't spectacular, but it gets the job done effectively.

Gameplay:
This is where the game really shined for me. The most important aspect of any game. As I said before I was frustrated early on, but once you really get into the game and start learning, things really pick up. One of the first and most important things to realize about this game is the saving status feature. Anytime you feel like it you can start the game over...carrying your stats with you. I found this to be an immensely helpful and fun feature. The basic game play involves completing objectives and rescuing survivors, all while staying alive. The mall is pretty big and in the beginning it's very easy to get lost, so every case mission or rescue mission (called scoops in the game) has the option of turning on an arrow to point you in the right direction. The other major component that causes some people to complain is that the whole storyline and everything you do is timed. From beginning to end (in the base game), you have 72 game hours. Some people don't like this, feeling that it takes away the freedom to explore and do things on your own time. Personally I think the constant deadlines add a sense of urgency that makes the game all the more fun. There is a ridiculous variety of weapons at your disposal spread all throughout the mall. Pretty much anything that isn't nailed down can be used to bash your way through the zombie mobs. Well placed and challenging boss fights round off the experience.

Replay Value:
I put the replay value high with this game. Completing the 72-hour mode unlocks Overtime mode, which in turn upon completion unlocks Infinite mode. There are also a ton of achievements for this game which will take more than one play though to accomplish. Add to that the carrying over of your skills every time you start a new game on any mode, and the desire to reach the level cap of 50 is almost too much to resist.

Overall:
This game is a must for zombie or horror fans in general. I definitely recommend playing it for awhile before making your decision on it, since the more you play and learn the better the game becomes. Hectic action and an entertaining story (albeit not a particularly original setting...thank you George Romero) make this game a gem of survival horror.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/05/09

Game Release: Dead Rising (US, 08/08/06)


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