Game Review: Dead Rising 3
Next Gen? Zombies? Crazy Weapons? Insane Vehicles? Everything a grown man could want come console launch day – unfortunately it’s very short lived.
You play as the main protagonist Nick Ramos, a mechanic caught up in the latest apocalypse. He’s a likable enough chap but seriously lacks a lot of personality. You begin wandering around, scavenging for supplies and to be honest, you don’t really evolve much beyond that.
This iteration of Dead Rising takes place in an open world environment for the first time, the city of Los Perdidos is Capcom’s take on Los Angeles. The world is well realised, although it is a little plain for the most part. After playing Rockstar’s version of the same geography, it does feel very underwhelming but this may be paying a disservice to Capcom – not many studio’s can replicate what Rockstar have created.
The main thing that struck me immediately was the sheer number of zombies on screen at one time, it really is impressive. Huge hordes of zombies litter high ways, streets and alleys and make traversing the map quite thought provoking sometimes. The usual abilities of “Zombie Surfing”, car jumping and simply hacking through hordes are still massively powerful but ultimately, it is a little more challenging in this regard than DR2.
Dead Rising though is not about how many zombies but the entertaining ways in which you can cull their numbers. Normal pick up weapons like baseball bats, pipes, guns etc… are freely available and are good fun for whacking a few undead about the place. Combo weapons also make a return, where obtaining a Blue Print and the required items allows you to create “super” weapons which can usually kill quite a few zombies in one strike.
The new addition to Combo Weapons is Combo Vehicles. Similar to Weapons, you need to first obtain a blue print and the respective vehicles required. Some of the combinations are very entertaining – such as combing a road roller and chopper motorcycle, which creates for you a very mean zombie squishing machine! However, I found most of the other vehicle blue prints quite underwhelming and I tended to come back to the same 2 or 3 designs throughout my play-through. This can also be said of some of the Combo Weapons but their saving grace is sheer volume, where there are over 100 combo weapons in the game, vehicles only number just over a dozen.
The gameplay mechanics also seem very dated, there is nothing outside of the usual “go here, collect this and return” aside from bosses. It does get very repetitive after a while and I completely switched off from the story because of this, I just felt like everyone’s skivvy and that Nick was just some door-mat that anyone could order around.
The boss fights to provide some entertainment but have not evolved at all from DR2. They all have the usual patterns that take a minute to work out and generally speaking, they are not very tough at all. On my play through I only died twice during boss fights and most of the time could complete them without taking damage. Some are truly interesting with little moments that made me smile, but these were very few and far between. The good thing is that there are numerous fights (I certainly did not see all of them, so there may be a few good ones I missed) and the rewards are usually worth it (normally blue prints for weapons or vehicles).
The one thing whilst playing DR3 that I just couldn’t get out of my mind was that this really does not feel like a next gen game. Graphically, it is on par with games being released a year ago and there are some absolutely unforgivable frame rate drops when driving around the map (which is required a lot). The native resolution of 720p is quite noticeable and for me was a big disappointment. The frame rate SHOULD run at 30fps but as previously mentioned, takes some major dips (Digital Foundry reported drops as low as 16fps). For me, this is just unacceptable of tech that is capable of a lot more. I could not get the thought out of my head that this was initially designed for the 360 and was moved over to the One at Microsofts request – I don’t know whether this is true but it certainly feels like it. I’ve played quite a few games so far on the new consoles and for me, this is by far the least technically impressive game about.
I wouldn’t say I was massively disappointed with the game as a whole, as my expectations were never very high in the first place. It certainly failed to exceed any expectations I had though. The terrible dialogue and story, tank like character control and shallow game play made this game a bit of a struggle for me. It’s fun in places but these places are very few and far between.
For the first 20 minutes, I really enjoyed Dead Rising 3 but as the game wore on, I felt like I was playing that initial 20 minutes over and over again. Released on the previous generation, this could be a little bit more justified but for next gen, it seriously lacks any kind of real ambition and massively under-sells the hardware it runs on.