Parent Talk: Dead Rising 3 is rated M for mature because of blood and gore, strong language, intense violence, sexual content, and the use of alcohol. You can take a sword and chop a person in half…vertically. It’s completely over the top, and often unrealistic, but it’s certainly not a game for children of any maturity level. This is one for adults to get giddy over.
Plays Like: Having played the original Dead Rising many years ago on the 360, I’d like to say this one plays a lot like it. You can customize weapons, and battle thousands of undead enemies. The big difference here is that an entire city is your playpen. On top of that, there are an endless amount of zombies everywhere. It’s a bigger, badder, and meaner Dead Rising than either of the previous two games.
Review Basis: I played through the entire campaign with Steven via online co-op. We focused primarily on the main story without worrying too much about the side missions. In fact we completed maybe five during our entire run.
Co-op, nuff said. This is the type of game that is amazing to play with a friend. If you decide to play it by yourself, I’m sure it would be fun, but in the end it would get highly repetitive over a short period of time. Co-op changes all of that. Instead you’re left with a game that will have you laughing out loud for a solid eight to twelve hours. Steven and I would always laugh as we hit each other with the ridiculous weapons, or whenever we would put on new costumes. The laughs didn’t stop until the very end of the game, and looking back, this was easily the most fun I’ve had all season long, because I got to share the wackiness with someone else.
+ Imagine a smaller Grand Theft Auto-like city where you can explore every inch and cranny, but instead of it being filled with citizens, it’s filled with zombies. As the game progresses and the infection spreads the streets are literally filled with zombies, we’re talking hundreds of them at any given spot. Not only is it a sight to behold, but zombies allow all manner of craziness to ensue.
+ Weapon customization has never been as wild as it is here. During your adventures you stumble across blueprints which allow you to not only customize weapons such as a rake and a battery to make an electrified rake, but also different vehicles. One of my favorite being the motorcycle and steamroller combo. It’s wicked fun, and can plow through thousands of zombies with little to no effort. Just about everything you can see can be interacted with and used as a weapon. It’s amazing fun, but never feels unbalanced. Crafted weapons last longer than those you find elsewhere, but eventually they too break, forcing you to find replacements or craft others. It’s even possible to craft together two previously crafted weapons for ridiculously powerful results.
+ Player freedom is something else I highly enjoyed. After every few missions the game forces you to mess around for a few in-game hours. This might be 15 minutes real-time or longer, depending on the mission. I really like how the game essentially forces you to go explore, take on some side-quests, or do what Steven and I did, find the nearest shop and get down to our skivvies and mow down zombies. We used every opportunity we had to locate new items because the amount of wacky outfits you can find is just nuts, and battling thousands of zombies never gets old, especially when you’re wearing nothing but a corset …as a 200 pound hairy man.
+ Simple but effective combat system. For the most part the weapons you craft act as a sort of crowd control. You can use projectile weapons as you’d imagine, zoomed in on a specific target, but the most fun weapons take out a series of zombies at once. Melee combat is broken down into a strong and a weak attack, but I found if you just mashed on the Y button (strong attack) that usually was enough to take out even bosses.
+ The leveling system is also rather simple. By completing missions, killing zombies, or going out of your way to tackle side missions and take out key psychos you earn Prestige Points, which allow you to level once you’ve gained enough of them. Reach a new level and you’re awarded ability points, which you can then allocate to several different areas, but all increase your abilities in some way or another such as being able to carry an additional item, hold more ammo in your firearms, etc.
+ It certainly feels next-gen, even though it often doesn’t look it necessarily. Individual characters are made up of enough polygons to look like they belong in a polished Xbox 360 game, however you can clearly tell this isn’t a 360 game the minute you step outside and see 500 zombies coming at you, with virtually no frame-rate drop at all. When there are hundreds of zombies on the screen, your car on fire, and police shooting at you, the game can start to slow down, but overall it’s extremely impressive how massive the game’s scope is and how well everything holds up most of the time.
+ Accessible to all. Capcom was smart when it came to balancing how to treat players in Dead Rising 3. The Normal mode allows players to save anywhere they want, and the time constraints are far less restrictive than if players play on Nightmare mode, which plays much more like the first two Dead Rising games in that time slowly but surely becomes a concern and saving isn’t as open ended either.
+/- For the most part the main missions are very similar. You drive to a certain location, pick someone up and drive back to another location, or defeat all zombies, or locate a certain item. They never get much more interesting than that. Side missions spice things up a bit, but overall you’re here for the guilty pleasures and having fun killing zombies more so than anything else.
Expect a lot of bugs and technical issues as you make your way through the game. As Steven and I played we both experienced a wide assortment of bizarre bugs, from partial game freezes, to certain cutscenes where a character would simply vanish, to one of the most bizarre of all, a bug that prevented my character from getting hurt, or attacking enemies. It felt like I was in some sort of debug mode. We even had a strange bug affect the final boss of the game whereby we had to redo the entire last section of the game instead of just the boss fight upon dying. There’s also pop-in, texture clipping and more. These issues don’t happen all the time, but they’re very noticeable when they do.
Sure there are bugs and other technical issues, and yes the missions do get repetitive, but if you’re going to play the game like I did, with a buddy, you’ll be amazed at just how much fun you’ll have. We played every chance we had, and did a nice big push towards the end because we were both enjoying the ridiculous story, humor, and gameplay. If you’re only going to play the game by yourself, I’m not sure how I’d score this because it really wouldn’t be the same experience whatsoever. So you know what that means, this is a game you really need to play with someone else, either a friend or someone online, but just make sure you do check it out as it’s a ridiculously good time.
Final Score: 8.5/10 (7 if you’re playing alone)