Review by wolverinefan

"Interesting game with too many flaws"

Dead Rising is the game that I just had to have and was my early breaking reason for buying the Xbox 360. Sadly, I must say it's my biggest let down with the console so far. Is Dead Rising worth playing or does it have too many misguided steps?

Frank is a photojournalist who takes a helicopter to this mall in a small town. The entire town has broken out with some zombie problems and Frank is now trapped inside this mall with 50 of the living and thousands of the undead. Can he survive for the 72 hours and make it out alive while figuring out how this zombie outbreak started? That's the plot in a nutshell. I think the problem is the fact that while there is a plot, it's just overly stupid and a number of things make little sense, like the cult... Fans of Romero's Dead quadrilogy will enjoy this game for its homage's to the series but personally it wasn't enough to make it interesting for me.

Graphic wise the game isn't a complete stunner but it does look good. Character models look pretty good but I hate how you will run into the same character in groups of four. That man in the yellow coat with a knife, yeah, there is four right beside each other. Stuff like this annoys me. The game does impress with the sheer amount of enemies it can produce on screen at once. However, load times between the areas are annoying.

The music in the game is alright but I barely remember any of it. There is actually music with lyrics at times but it never felt like I was in a mall and I think it would have been cool to use cds for a different purpose than a weapon... Voice acting is pretty good with no complaints from me. Sound effects are good. The weapons sound differently and a motorcycle sounds different than a car.

Dead Rising has a very simple control setup. I found pulling off moves to be easy, as long as you know how to. Switching weapons was also easy, as is melee fighting, running, driving. The only problem comes in the form aiming with a gun. It's slow, tedious and if you don't enter a first person view you couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. I also had issues with cycling through my items. It isn't too confusing but the buttons did the opposite of what I thought it would do and it took me a while to get the hang of it.

To describe how Dead Rising plays is a little difficulty. Think of Grand Theft Auto but your city being a mall full of flesh eating zombies. The mall is split into maybe 5 sections and it also has a court yard and a parking garage. Now, the game starts with a timer. You have 72 game hours, not sure how many real hours it boils down to but the game is split into 8 acts. Each act happens at a specific time and you need to be at a specific place at those times to activate them. You don't have to do these but to get the best ending you'll need to do them. The game has a number of endings though, I think around 5 or so but they all seem fairly close to each other and to be honest the only one worth getting is the A ending.

So, what can you do in this mall? There are 50 survivors to save. Some require more work than others. There is also about 10 Psychopaths to take down. Not everything is available at once but as you advance in the hours more becomes available. I always found myself either bored while waiting for time to pass or running around like a chicken with his head cut off because it's hard to get from place to place with ease. Of course I may have been missing something but it all was a pain and the leading survivors around became a drag.

The mall itself is limited but there is a good amount of odds and ends to do. Try on clothes, drive around, beat up the ever respawning zombies or just take a stroll. The thing is the game can be very open ended but at the same time it has its restrictions. I found myself rushing around and saving people to level up so I would be able to deal with the next act.

The game allows you to take photos. You gain PP for them and a number of other things in the game. Think of PP as experience. Leveling up can give you more item space, life, speed, moves and a few other things.

The game is also full of weapons to use. They can only be used so much before they break. This would be fine but with the game forcing you to seriously fight so many zombies that all weapons will be gone in just one little area that it seems a bit odd when some weapons wouldn't really break but do in this game. So this adds another layer of strategy to the game because you need to know what weapons work best on what guys.

The game is full of replay value. If you feel like playing the same thing over and over that is. With multiple endings and so many different ways to play the game does remain slightly fresh. The best part is that as you restart the game you keep all of your levels. The achievements are easy to get but require a lot of time but they aren't overly easy. I think achievements like the Pimp one are what achievements should be but I also found that one very hard due to the crappy AI. Speaking of AI, at times some people I have following me were able to take weapons from me and use them while others weren't. I found that annoying.

The game does have flaws besides the ones mentioned above. I know I'm making the game play sound fun but by the midway point I was so sick of having to repeat stuff and finding myself in bad situations due to me not knowing about something that I wanted to just throw the game out. Another annoying problem with the game is the save feature. You can save at the base or in the restrooms. This really gave me a headache and caused me to have to keep redoing stuff over and over.

I would recommend Dead Rising as a rental. I regret buying it and I was really let down by it. It isn't a horrible game though but there are a number of problems with it and the restrictions the game puts on itself just makes it less fun. To be honest I'm just torn on the game. Yes, I did have some fun with this title but on the other hand it was dreadful at times. The timing in the game while realistic caused me problems where it was too close for me to just run out and do an errand or so much time that I just didn't know what I was going to do for that time. I had also encountered times where I almost missed something because on my way back I encountered a new moment which took up more time than expected. Because of the save system limiting the entire game play experience I found that sometimes risk wasn't an option and that me suffering through boredom as the clock slowly ticked away to just bother me. I would have preferred if the game was more structured.

So, in the end it isn't the worst game ever but I must say its flaws really make me regret buying this title. I'd trade it in except it does have some mindlessness to it but going through the game over and over seems tedious. A perfect rental for sure but only buy it if it's cheap and at the time of this review it's far from cheap.

Story - 6/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Control - 8/10
Game Play - 6/10
Replay Value - 7/10

Final Score - 6/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 02/14/07

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