Dead Rising 3, developed by Capcom Vancouver and published by Microsoft Studios, is one of a select few exclusive launch titles for Xbox One. This is another game that centers around an outbreak that turns the majority of the human population into the walking dead. The game puts to rest any worries about screen tearing or the overall smoothness of gameplay because in spite of the fact that almost every screen in the game features large number of animated objects such as big hordes of zombies, the game’s framerate is surprisingly not compromised. This goes to show that the developers knew what they were doing when they decided to go with 720p resolution at 30 frames per second (fps) instead of 1080p. If these factors were to change even for a bit, the way the game responds during gameplay would certainly suffer – it would have probably slowed down significantly.
Dead Rising 3 is about survival where you play as a young mechanic named Nick Ramos who is trapped in a fictional city called Los Perdidos, California. You will spend many moments in this game slashing zombies.
A kill counter is built into the game that keeps track of how many zombies you‘ve killed to date as you progress through the game. As I am finally on my way towards the end, the kill counter shows that I have killed more than 30,000 zombies and I’m still going strong. That’s just insane and yet I am willing to go for another round with my buddy in co-op mode which is a testament to the fact that this game packs enough excitement and thrills for endless rounds of fun.
Visually, Dead Rising 3 is not a whole lot prettier than what we have come to experience from PS3 and 360 titles. Running at an upscaled 720p resolution does make this game look a tad bit bleak, but still the rendering is visually adequate and is moving at a steady frame rate that it will be hard to notice any significant negative alteration caused by reduced resolution. It feels a little ripped off that graphic-wise, this game should have been released on last gen consoles like the 360 instead of Xbox One since it’s not jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Regardless, this game is at times pretty to look at and always an absolute blast to play.
Killing zombies is easy and fun in Dead Rising 3. The controls don’t feel clunky like in Wii U’s Zombiu. This is a very good thing because this allows you to feel each and every attack as Nick swings his melee weapon against the undead. In a sense, you get the feeling that you are hitting something and not just mindlessly swinging at air. The only complaint about combat is that you have to drop your weapon if you want to pick up food items. Item switching takes a couple of seconds to process and this can become annoying when you have zombies approaching you in very close quarter. Consuming health items also takes 1-2 seconds. So basically from the time you press the y-button to switch out your weapon that Nick’s holding to pick up a food item to the time you’re done pressing the x-button to have Nick consume the item, you’re looking at a 3-5 seconds event that just passed by in real time. A lot can happen in that time especially when you’re bombarded with enemies. Which is why you should never pick up any health items that lay on the ground right in the middle of a crowded street.
Charging your vehicle into a horde of zombies and emerging victorious is not a challenging task, but it’s immensely gratifying and a great way to level up your character quickly. But all good things do come to an end because if you don’t retreat, the zombies will devour you as they gradually outnumber you after a certain period of time. So the moral of the story here is you need to know when to quit and when to move away from dangerous situations.
There are a variety of weapons and diverse animations that keeps the game entertaining and prevents it from getting monotonous. I never got a chance to play with any specific weapon for an extended period of time because they all break after a while which keeps you on your toes. Don’t worry though because there are so many weapon choices lying around that it’s almost impossible not to find something to attack with. You will hardly find yourself in a precarious situation where you have hordes of zombies approaching you and not have anything to defend yourself with.
Nick also comes with a health meter. When you’re low on health, Nick sees things less clearly and a red-colored hue frames your screen. The thicker the red becomes, the closer Nick is to dying. To counter this effect, find snacks, orange juice, bottled water, etc to replenish Nick’s health. Fortunately, these items are plentiful and can be found almost anywhere.
The newly introduced save system allows you to save at anytime and anywhere you want, and the game also autosaves your advancement as you reach certain checkpoints. At the same time though, the system takes a long time to load a saved game (up to 45 seconds).
You can use most of the collectibles to craft new weapons. This gives you a reason to hang onto your old weapons rather than throwing one away as soon as a better one comes along. Some requires special blue prints that you need to find all over the city which indicates how to make stronger and more effective weapons against the undead by combining two or more items with the press of the A button. You can turn a simple microwave into a laser beam or modify your flashlight into a lightsaber. The character progression and update system are also really extensive and well done. Once you upgrade your character, you can usually feel more powerful almost instantaneously.
The characters in this game aren’t all one-dimensional. You will find that Nick laments that he has to kill a human in one moment and then chopping and stomping zombies mundanely in the next. It almost seems as though he can’t decide whether he is in a zombie parody movie or not.
Nick will gain some companions along his zombie-slashing journey. Usually, to have them as your companion, you will need to do a quest that is attached with their characters. There is a cop named Dwayne who wants to have access to the police station to get his armory back. Similarly, there is a little girl that needs help finding her family. Each of the characters I encountered in the game were fully-voiced and the acting was really well done too. I’d advise from getting too attached to any of them because they can get permanently killed which makes them memorable.
The thing that perplexes me about the characters is how they proved to be more of a baggage than helpful members of your team. They block my way often, thus inhibiting me from escaping and as a result gets me killed. So, after spending a few hours with them, I decided that I’m better off dealing with this apocalypse on my own than to heed their assistance.
Dead Rising 3 has so many locations, shops, towns, homes and tennis courts for you to explore. After playing in it for a while, it does feel like you are living in this world where zombies exist because the gameplay experience is so immersive. The game is designed as a sandbox game where you can go anywhere and do anything you please. The only downside to it though is that the game is not that huge. You wouldn’t know it if you do most of your traveling on foot, but it becomes mighty apparent when you travel by car. What the developers have done is that they have placed too many roadblocks to lengthen the routes and sometimes this makes it hard to see which route is accessible. So this makes it a challenge to figure out how to get from one place to another on the map.
Don’t judge the game by its looks. As they say; looks can be deceiving. The meaty slaying combat and a mind-boggling mixture of more than 300 ridiculous weapons are more than worth your $60. Some issues with this game like long loading screen and an unambiguous map can easily be overlooked in favor of what this game has to offer. The controls are great and this is not often the case with this type of games (think Zombiu and Silent Hill). The wonderful in-game cinematic cut scenes are usually filled with great acting and do a wonderful job of carrying the story along. The integration of Kinect into the game is a brilliant feat for an added feel of immersion. When you yell out at your TV, the zombies will be attracted to your voice and react accordingly. For anyone who’s a fan of The Walking Dead, here’s your chance to experience that gruesome world.