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Review: Dead Rising

You start out as Frank West, a photojournalist who wants his name to be known by everyone. He wants that huge story that everyone will be talking about, and when they do, his name will be known by the world. You start off riding in a helicopter, talking to the pilot. “We’re here.” And the pilot says: “Willamette, Colorado. Population: 53,594.”

You’re in the back of the helicopter with the door open, peering out of the side with your camera. The cutscene ends there, and you’re left with a camera view, given the responsibility to take pictures. As you’re flying parallel with one of the roads following it closer to the middle of town, you see random beings walking in the middle of the road aimlessly wondering about.

As you’re flying, you see cars crashed, zombies surrounding a bus, and just the whole city taken down by these creatures. You then come across a car with a woman on top of it kicking away these zombies with her legs, she can see you riding in the helicopter, so she starts waving her arms. The story in Dead Rising is chosen by you. As you get further into the story, the story gets more and more open ended. You’ve got 72 in-game hours to get your story and get out of the mall by riding your helicopter out.

Boobies!

But wait, you aren’t there to save people (yet), you’re there to report the story. So take pictures! Press B to zoom out, press A to zoom in, and press X to take the photo. When you take pictures, you gain PP (Prestige Points) which in turn helps you level up later in the game. The more zombies you’ve got on screen when you take the picture, the more PP you gain. You can also gain PP by completing missions, having survivors join your party, and killing different increments of zombies(50,100,1000 etc.). More PP can also be gained by taking pictures of Brutality, Drama, Erotica, Outtakes and how close you are to the zombies. If you take a picture of a zombie while it’s getting killed, the onscreen PP collector labels this as brutality. The same thing happens if you take a picture of a zombie who is wearing a low cut dress, the collector labels this as erotica. Also, if you stick a mask on a zombie and take a photo, that picture is labeled as an Outtake. Finally, if you take a picture of a zombie while it’s attacking someone, this is considered drama. Take pictures of all of these things happening in one frame, and you’ll be getting a lot of PP.

The audio in Dead Rising is top-notch. Every object sounds correct as to what it should sound like. Hollow objects sound right with that thud that makes it sound hollow. Swords let you hear the flesh slash that works so well, and smashing zombies with sledgehammers never felt so good from the superb sound. The game just sounds right on the money. The soundtrack is good although you don’t hear it too often. You usually just hear zombies moaning and groaning. Voice acting is another factor which this game does pretty close to perfect. There aren’t any well known voices in Dead Rising, but the acting is very good.

Shopping Cart

Dead Rising is a fun game to play. As you’ve all probably heard, there’s endless possibilities for weapons. It has the usual suspects such as knives, guns, swords, and hammers. It doesn’t end there though. Dead Rising has so much more than that, such as baseball bats, park benches, skateboards (which you can ride), buckets, mops, CD cases, water guns, teddy bears, big cardboard boxes, and so many more objects. When you get a sharp object, and you slash a zombie, the corresponding flesh is cut away. Was that zombie about to kick you? Well, his leg’s gone now. Was that other zombie about to grab your throat? Not anymore without arms. The blood is glorious with it splashing everywhere, including on Frank West. Frank starts off in the game as a weak normal man without any fighting experience, and as you fight and up your level you gain different moves and different things you can do to zombies with the highest level being 50.

While slicing and dicing your enemies, you will be hurt a lot from the zombies attacking you. You’ll find different food items scattered around the mall in different areas. Look around and see lettuce, cheeseburgers, subs, popcorn, potato chips, alcohol, pies, lettuce and anything else you can think of foodwise. Low on life? Drink some orange juice. Bleeding from your eye sockets? Suck down that cheeseburger. You’ll be fine. Food is plentysome so you won’t have to worry about it too much.

The save system is a little off. When you go into public restrooms, you can save by taking a leak in the urinal. The problem is that you’re only allowed one save on your memory unit per profile. Since you’ve only got 72 hours to complete the game, (with missions in between) you can easily paint yourself into a corner. The game makes up for this by the fact that if something happens and you’ve screwed yourself by saving in a wrong place at the wrong time, Dead Rising makes you start the game over, but with your gained stats still intact. Dead Rising is fun enough to where you will want to play over and over, but some will find this extremely annoying. The game is mostly you trying to save different survivors throughout the mall by getting them to the safe zone which in this game is the mall’s security room.

There is no online or offline multiplayer for Dead Rising. Could they have come up with something? Probably. While this fact does bring down the score a little bit, the single player completely makes up for the void. Dead Rising does have leaderboards which you can check anytime while you’re playing.

Zombies Galore

The game looks great. From the very beginning where you’re in the helicopter looking over the city, to inside the mall taking pictures, it all looks really good. The textures look really good everywhere, the style almost reminds me of Project Gotham Racing 3 because everything looks so fluent and smooth. At times there are an amazing number of zombies on screen (300 - 500 at times) with very little (if any) framerate drops at any time in the game. One problem with the look of Dead Rising is the character reactions during cutscenes. At times these aren’t too great in the overall look of Dead Rising. They look almost robotic sometimes. Overall though, this game looks amazing.

The achievements in Dead Rising are great. From silly ones like falling from a ledge at least 16 feet high, to getting 33 feet of air while ramping a car into the huge courtyard of the mall. It feels great. There’s also achievements for getting a certain amount of PP such as 1500PP, 3000PP and many other different achievements.

Dead Rising is easily one of the best Xbox 360 titles released to date. While it does have some minor problems such as no multiplayer, a weird save system and repetitive missions sometimes, the game makes up for itself by being pure fun and insane. If you love slashing zombies in half and smashing zombie heads in, if you love a free roaming open ended story, and if you love video games, you’ll love Dead Rising.

9 out of 10 – Very Good. (How do we rank games?)

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13 comments on 'Review: Dead Rising'

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Nice review.. I can’t agree or disagree on it yet though.

Man I can’t wait to get my hands on this one Chris, I’ve played the demo but your review made me want more!

While at that subject, in the demo I experienced a couple of framedrops everytime I used the sledgehammer to KO some zombies (the long “hard” hit), is this in the game or is it fixed in the full retail?

I noticed this in the demo too. They fixed it mostly. It happens at extremely rare times, which is why I didn’t think it was necessary to mention in the review. You barely notice it at all with as many weapons that are available in the full version.

Comment by Karl on 2006-08-12 01:22:19 | Reply

its pretty much fixed, you’ll only find a few slow spots and i think its just from the 360 running too long and trying to catch up with itself, its a really good game if you dont mind the annoying pinpoint accuracy of the convicts heavy machine gun at about 200 yards

Comment by mtbjunkie on 2006-08-12 02:16:26 | Reply

Gamefly shipped it to me today, cannot wait to get it in my hands. From playing the demo this game is a 10′er, but your review is fair.

Comment by Eloi Pfeiffer on 2006-08-14 09:12:18 | Reply

Very solid review. I couldn’t agree more

Comment by Go5 on 2006-08-16 18:15:02 | Reply

I’ve been goofing around with this game for a few days, long enough to pick up 200 achievement points without even progressing past the second mission.

What sets Dead Rising apart isn’t in the graphics or sound, it’s the humor and creativity it brings to the 360.

The demo does not do Dead Rising justice — there’s a lot more to the game than killing zombies. As you level up, you see zombies as less of an enemy and more of a routine obstacle, kind of like bad traffic.

The review is good, and I agree that audio is excellent. Killing a zombie with a shovel really does sound like killing a zombie with a shovel. A baseball bat is totally different, yet equally convincing.

I have to disagree, though, with labelling a lack of multiplayer or excessive mission repetition as “minor.” This is a good title, with the potential to be a great one, where basic oversights drag down an otherwise outstanding game.

Originally I decided against buying DR because to me a $60 game should include some form of multiplayer, co-op or LAN at the least. Luckily I found it for $50 at Fry’s (western US). It truly is a good game, but the flaws are far from minor.

Man I bought this game when it first came out and loved it and I still have not beat it but i`m close CASE 7-2 Bomb Collector but any way this game is awesome one of the best if you havent got it yet BUY IT NOW !!! I COMMAND YOU !!!

Comment by maccas on 2007-01-01 20:36:48 | Reply

this games realy anoyin i cant do it if eny one knows eny cheats plz telm me thm

Up up down down left right left right B A start gives you 30 men.

jonny19

Comment by James on 2007-09-04 04:24:29 | Reply

hey im 14 im getting the game september 4th (tomarrow)but the save system is dumb i still in school and i can only save once and ill have to keep redoing the same parts. well if thats not how it works email me back and plz describe it to me better Please. James

Comment by James on 2007-09-08 02:46:27 | Reply

Nvm i think i found out how it works but still email me if u want to explain it better

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