Monday, September 25, 2006

Late to the Zombie party....again (Dead Rising Review)


I actually expected Dead Rising to get old quickly. Really, how many zombies can you kill? That question permeated my mind before I dove in head first.

Capcom's new zombie-killing concept game really is worth it's hyped weight. Although it only took a couple of days for me to get the "good ending", I find myself still running around collecting achievements and trying to save more individuals than I was capable of in my first complete run.

Let's grit our teeth early with the bad. The controls of this game take some getting used to, and are probably more difficult than they should be. Some examples:

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  • A few of the good melee moves require clicking the left-stick and pressing a face-button. That can get frustrating when surrounded.

  • The "precision" aiming has to be done with the left thumbstick, and it feels hyper-sensitive. While this is fine in games like Resident Evil and Metroid Prime, it is aggravating here because boss fights can require quick reflexes and changing views constantly.

  • When driving, you would think that the triggers would be delegated to accelerating and breaking rather than the non-pressure-sensitive face buttons.

The AI on the survivors is extremely questionable, especially considering that zombies are "stupid and slow". Even when they are given weapons, they don't seem to chug along appropriately.

The save system is unforgiving. However, most people complain that you cannot save whenever you want. My complaint is that you can't have multiple saves. On one hand, I completely understand how one save forces more thoughtful play. On the other hand, having to start over because of a misplaced save seems like cruel punishment.

On the positive end, the mall is vast, and the player's zombie-killing-methods match it. The problems mentioned above seem to disappear when literally mowing down enemies, spinning them on an excavator, or plowing through them with a delivery truck. Surprisingly, that's not all there is to do. There's more than enough psychopaths (boss fights), survivors, food, clothing options, photography, and cases (story goals) to spend some time with. Some of the less-exciting-sounding tasks mentioned are unexpectedly more fun than they should be.

The graphics are impressive in a lot of cases. While SDTV owners may possibly miss it, Capcom did a stupendous job with the skin textures, leaving them able to keep the cutscenes scripted instead of FMV. The mall is quite detailed, indoors and out. While it may not look "realistic", this game isn't really asking for a such a praise and is better for it.

While the problems mentioned above leave this game unable to be perfect, it's definitely a must-have and a welcome addition to the exclusive Xbox 360 library.


  • Multiple quests, modes, and lots of achievements. Plenty to do!

  • Most assortment of weapons seen to date, all with different results

  • Great graphics (on an HDTV)


  • At times, frustrating controls

  • Horrible NPC AI

  • Unforgiving save system

Rent this game first and make sure you enjoy it. If you do, I would definitely recommend a buy, as this would be a great game to vent frustrations through.


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