Dead rising 3 is next game in the zombie franchise from Capcom, but does it take zombies to the latest generation or is it stuck repeating the tropes from games past?
The game is set in the near future and follows Nick, a mechanic of Los Perdidos who is caught up in the post break out world and his attempts to get out of the city. Along the way nick meets a range of characters who help and hinder his progress.
Nick spends his time attempting to repair a plane to leave the city and is tasked by his boss Rhonda, the Illegals Red and Annie and other people to get things for it. Along the way Nick can complete missions provided to him by a voice on a phone that allow him to gain new allies in the fight to escape the city.
There are various groups of people in Nick’s way, doing all they can to stop him, from a gang taking locations all over the city, to psycho’s including Ms. Gigantic California contestants, Zen Ninja Masters and Mad former Doctors. Each of the characters provides insight on how people deal with such a strange and tragic event.
Dead Rising 3 follows on from the other games in that it allows you to dress up in all sorts of weird and varied costumes. These however does not impact the character stats. Dressing in a giant Lego style head and a pair of speedos provides no benefits over dressing in full police riot gear.
Nick however is pretty strong and can take some punishment from almost all enemies without much hassle, the psycho’s and boss missions however are another story. Each of these fights takes the standard find the weakness and exploit it, and this is where they stand out. If you have Kinect enabled, you can shout at them causing them to lose the focus or go into a rage and make them easier to dodge and fight back.
Outside of the boss fights, it’s just a matter of spamming the attack buttons to vary up your attacks to defeat the hordes of zombies that surround you. But it’s in these situations that your combo weapons come in handy. Trying mixing a metal garden rake with a battery and you get a giant cattle prod. Or perhaps a motion sensing teddy bear with an assault rifle for a cuddly motion tracking death machine.
Sadly though, it’s not a matter of just experimenting until you find the right combination of items to make something, but littered throughout the world map are blueprints that teach you how to create each item. And while each item is powerful they do break after a set number of hits and then you either need to find the materials to make another one, or head back to a safe house to get them again from the weapons locker. Of course you could just stick with baseball bats, hand guns, wrenches and other single item weapons and they are quite fun to use, but the combo weapons are where you need to be.
Being that this game is an open world game there is a habit of moving from one side of the map to the other, and while you could run/walk across it you would waste all your weapons in getting to where you had to go. But that is where the vehicles come into play. Scattered around the map are various cars, vans, bikes and construction equipment. Mixing a motorbike and a steamroller gives you the Rollerhawg, or a forklift and a fireworks van gives you the Forkwork, a machine capable of shooting fireworks to clear a path or blasting you forward allowing your forklift spikes to punch through the crowds.
Moving about on the Rollerhawg allows you to literally mow down zombies by the truck load, which makes those giant hordes of zombies easy to deal with. And of course the game can be played in full co-op with some vehicles having space for another player to use the turret seats.
Littered throughout the world are various people stuck in tight spots surrounded by zombies, and while you can choose to ignore them, clearing out the zombies that threaten them grants you more PP, which you use to level up and unlock new abilities. Early on in the game you will get a call from someone claiming to be in a facility where he can see all the people stuck around Los Perdidos and calls from time to time suggesting you might go help them. Some of these missions will net you PP, others with net you survivors who will follow you around and help you out. Others are not people who need to be saved, but are either oblivious to the dangers surrounding them or are taking advantage of that. These psycho missions will usually reward you with some super combo weapons making your fight against the hordes even easier.
It is great to see so many zombies rendered on screen at a single time, all looking suitably different enough that you don’t feel like you’re looking at the same ones all the time. And that’s about as far as the positives get with the presentation, the rest of it suffers from severe loading times, pop ups and slow loading textures.
The game takes a long time to load and while it’s not the longest game on Xbox One, it is too long for what they load at the time, so each time you die and reload you will start to hate those load times just as I did. When the game does load, you will often see some seriously blurred textures and then be able to watch them load into the proper ones over time, and sadly it’s not a once or twice occurrence; It is quite often.
The game does tend to stutter under the load of zombies it renders, and while it’s still playable, it does end up becoming jarring when you notice. There was even an instance of Nick going into a default state of the arms being raised to the sides and not moving upon me attempting to pick up a gun in the middle of a boss fight. After a minute or two he did respond again, but things such as that break the flow of games, and it’s very hard to get back after that.
Dead Rising 3 is an ambitious game and it shows, the quantity of zombies on the screen is nothing short of impressive, and the combo weapons and vehicles are entertaining, but the constant technical problems stop this game from being a true next gen game, and if they pushed this from launch and fixed the problems the game would have been all the better for it.