Review by SpiralSage

"Zombies in a Sandbox"

Meet Frank West, freelancer journalist, snappy comeback artist, and one of the 83 people stuck in a mall infested with the Z words. Luckily, he still has some film left and can take pictures as well as save the weak and defenseless from the oncoming zombie menace. With only 73 hours, Frank must save as many people as he can, get to the bottom of this Zombie business, and take a fell Pulitzer worthy photos while he's at it. That is, if you want him to.

Say “Cheese” and Die

Being a photojournalist trapped in a mall full of zombies, one can only expect that there would be a lot of deep, thought provoking material around. Besides the whole zombie aspect, Frank has a few other genres to capture on digital film: how about a quarrel between a couple? A mother consoling her frightened daughter? How about something a little more risque? Besides the Brutality genre, Dead Rising also allows the player to take shots of personal, dramatic scenes, showing the real effect of a zombie outbreak on those who suffer the most: the ones still alive. Of course, you can be an ass too and take pictures of Zombies maiming people if you're into that kind of stuff. With no Editor above you, who's going to stop you anyways?

Is that a King Salmon in your hand or are you just happy to see me?

Besides the regular weapons one would expect to find in a zombie game, like guns, baseball bats, plywood, and maybe the occasional chainsaw; there are a variety of strange weapons too: Lawnmowers, Salmon, cash registers, stuffed animals, and many other things that one wouldn't even think twice about using against an enemy. All weapons break after a while, but one can hold onto more than one ensuring a safe outcome if your handy baseball is damaged. The coolest thing about most weapons is that they all feel very differently. While using a Trashcan and a cash register is slow, both have separate animations and are used differently. Another interesting thing bout weapons are their special functions: if a gumball machine breaks, your undead adversaries will slip on the hard candy. Throwing a can of paint on a zombie will momentarily blind them. These little things make a huge difference when playing the game.

Didn't I do this in Resident Evil 4?

Didn't like escorting the President's daughter across an unknown European country? Well, it's back but a little more bearable. The best thing about saving the innocent is the fact that one doesn't have to. It does make the game a little more interesting, especially giving someone a piggyback ride through a crowd of zombies. While there are definitely people out there that hate this sort of element, its good to see one doesn't have to rescue anyone to complete the game. Just another feature allowing total freedom.

Leveling in a Survival Horror game? What would Wesker say?

Killing the undead, taking great pictures, and escorting survivors to the safe zone are a few of the main ways Frank can get PP, a form of EXP that allows for him to level up and learn certain abilities. Some are very helpful, like being able to jump kick a zombie straight in the face, but others are a bit useless: who would want to tackle a zombie?

Fashion sense

While being able to wear clothes the player finds in stores is pretty nifty, it feels like a waste of time. While “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” allows for the same kind of customization, it seems to be overall useless in Dead Rising. I don't think anyone would be checking up on their fashion sense when the mall they're trapped in is overflowing with zombies. Dressing Frank West like a transvestite is only funny for so long.

Day of the Living, Night of the Dead

Because the game is set on a three day time limit, expect drastic changes between night and day. Like most zombie movies, the real action happens at night. Granted, daytime isn't safe either, Night time is really where this game shows most of its potential and realism: all the lights go out and the zombies get more aggressive. Those of you who are skeptical about the Night and Day feature; don't be too worried: the 24 hours is neither too long nor is it too short.

Typing of the Dead

Truly the only negative aspect of the game is that the text is unbelievably small. Having to constantly read text that has to be around 8 point is frustrating and hard on the eyes. In fact, expect to miss out on a lot if you aren't at least three feet in front of your television. What really could have helped is if they added voice acting when the player picks up the walkie talkie or when they talk to someone.

Its not hip-hop, it's Electro!

Like all malls, the muzak is vague and almost incomprehensible, except when having to deal with psycho chainsaw wielding clowns or convicts driving around in a jeep. For some reason, then the music blares. The only somewhat disappointing thing about the music is that every section of the mall only has one track. While all the songs are different in each area, it never changes during the day.

Gore never looked so good

Graphically, Dead Rising is a great example of truly the Next gen. Besides the fact that the characters look very life-like, the amount of realism put into this game is truly an amazing feat. Even with a few hundred zombies on the screen, the game never lags; even better, there isn't a single spec of fog to hide slow frame rates.

How's that for a slice of fried gold?

Other than the small text that makes most of the story unreadable, Dead Rising truly showcases the power of the 360, this game is a great addition to anyone who owns the next generation of gaming and for anyone who has ever dreamed of holding out a zombie attack at your local S-mart.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 08/14/06

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