I have to be honest and say that I did not enjoy Dead Rising 1 and 2. They were games that employed aged mechanics to a fresh concept. The timed story, restrictive crafting, and lack of sprinting were just some of the issues I had with Dead Rising 3’s predecessors. Thankfully these problems have been cured with Capcom Vancouver’s Xbox One launch title, but there have been some sacrifices made along the way.
One of the first things you will notice in Dead Rising 3 is the sheer scope and size of the world. While merely a spec in comparison to Grand Theft Auto V’s map, it is still impressive by Dead Rising standards. Gone are the days of the mall environments, the entire city of Los Perdidos is yours to explore, sort of. While I loved the ability to roam around the city at my own will, the way it is laid out is frustrating. I constantly found myself running into blocked roads and with no waypoint directions. It simply feels unfinished and outdated. There are also a fair bit of high points to this open world environment. Recruiting survivors to assist you in combat, and fighting personifications of the seven deadly sins gives you both extra hours of gameplay and enjoyment.
Not only is the world big, but the amount of zombies does not disappoint either. Seeing hundreds of the undead littered upon the city streets ads is truly awe inspiring. Because the zombies are procedurally generated, you will rarely notice a duplicate. Although, there are so many that you will be most likely not be able to pick out individual models. When things get to intense, you can now sprint away from the ravenous hordes.
The crafting system has been vastly upgraded and expanded. You can combo weapons on the fly without a workbench and I found most of the combinations to be more creative and useful than previous instalments. By far the most amazing feature to Dead Rising 3’s crafting system is the vehicle combos. Using killing machines such as the motorhog to absolutely obliterate entire populations of zombies was great fun. There were of course, a few issues I had with the weapon system. Whether melee, or ranged, all weapons will eventually break. It baffled me that there isn’t even a way to pick up more ammo. It is a contrived mechanic that has no place in a next generation title.
Because of dynamic dismemberment, every slice and dice of your melee weapon will feel unique. This may go unappreciated if hacking through a horde of hundreds, but in small groups, you will notice every different cut. Ranged combat is ok, but this is clearly no shooter. I constantly found my body shots blowing off zombie’s heads. It felt as if an aiming system could not be properly implemented so they opted for heavy auto assist.
There is also a robust upgrading system, allowing you to level up, specialize in a few particular areas, or be well rounded zombie slayer. I noticed a serious impact in some of the upgrades, though most are simply passive skills. You can even increase the flexibility of weapon and vehicle crafting. A few of the more desirable perks are locked until level 50, giving the player incentive to continue playing after the narrative comes to a close.
This time around, Dead Rising allows for you to choose how you want to play the game. If you desire a massive open world zombie title with all of the gritty elements of the Walking Dead, you can do that. However, if playing this title like you play Saints Row is more your speed, you are bound to be satisfied. The problem with playing Dead Rising 3 as a serious survival game is, when you encounter enemies such as the man with a phallic flamethrower, the narrative will begin to deteriorate quickly. On top of that, the tale of Nick Ramos is fairly subpar, and it can drag out for far too long, but there are some payoffs for long time Dead Rising fans. For those wondering, there is a time limit for the normal game (Nightmare mode is much more severe) but it takes so long to run out, that I didn’t realize it existed until partway through the game.
Although this may be a next generation title, it is not a particularly pretty one. Character models and animations are anything but stunning, and the city of Los Perdidos is not too special. Locked at 30 frames per second, I noticed a few times where it dipped below, though nothing to severe. The unimpressive visuals and shoty performance is no doubt due to the amount of character models on screen at once which makes it a game best observed as a whole, and not piece by piece.
I enjoyed my time in Los Perdidos and will no doubt continue to go back. Yes, there were some issues, but it is difficult to match the unrivaled fun factor of Dead Rising 3. It finally did away with the restrictive qualities of its predecessors, which in my opinion, liberated this title. Not everything works, in fact, a lot does not, but it is the sum of Dead Rising 3’s parts that count, not each of its individual missteps.