Apparently, August is a good month for the Xbox 360. Actually, the whole summer has been great come to think of it! 2 games that are hitting shelves this month recently made their way to the Xbox Live Marketplace in demo form. I will admit, I wasn’t overly excited about either of them until I got my hands on the demo offerings last week. Now I can hardly wait to spend a combined $150 on them.

Dead Rising

I love zombies. The idea of the dead rising, eating people and generally pure mayhem amuses me. I love me a good zombie movie and am quite the fan of the Resident Evil series. That said, Dead Rising was already in my good books. But it feels like we’ve been fed screenshots and video footage for months on end. I grew tired of hearing about DR quite some time ago. When the demo was released, I queued it up and let it sit for a good 24 hours before first playing. When the time came, I was nearly in tears with laughter! This game is a fucking riot! You play this photographer who finds himself in a mall overrun by zombies. You’re equipped with a camera and anything else you can get your hands on. From standard weapons like guns and knives to a massive sledge hammer, police billy clubs, baseball bats, golf clubs, shopping carts, cash registers, plants, chairs, CDs, plates, water guns, frisbees, etc. The mall becomes your playground and you find yourself running from store to store picking up everything with a little red circle (indicates you can pick it up) and smashing endless zombies until you’re surrounded by bloodied bodies. It’s quite amusing, to say the least!

Be sure to check out this guide over at Joystiq of all the fun things you can do in the demo. Of course, there is more to the game than simply smashing zombies – there’s a plot and a mystery that you set out to uncover. The demo also touches on a pretty cool skills building model where you “rank up” by reading instructional magazines and books.

Dead Rising is released tomorrow, August 8 in the US. Some of the local Canadian retailers are showing an August 22 release date – hope that’s not the case.

Dead Rising - Saints Row

Saints Row

Saints Row is a GTA-inspired action game from THQ.

Turned off? Yeah, I was too. That, and hearing some of the developers talk about the game at this past E3. Just semed like another third person thug-type game full of shooting, stealing, “bitches and hos” and the like. And it most definitely is. But, despite being a GTA clone, there is vast improvement over the last 3 GTA games. Things that always irritated me about GTA have been cleaned up and streamlined to make them actually functional in Saints Row. The combat system for one is vastly surperior. Shooting a gun is actually fun! Running and jumping isn’t tedious and hand-to-hand combat is awesome! The triggers control your arms independently while the left shoulder button makes your character kick/stomp. So if your rival is blocking with both hands, give him a good hoof in the knee, followed by a right hook then stomp his ass! I laughed pretty hard the first time I did this.

One huge advantage Saints Row has over GTA is the ability to customize your character. The customization engine seems very robust while only about 70% of the features were unlocked in the demo. And the character models themselves look great.

And to take that age-old scenario of working your way up the thug ladder and put a spin on it – Saints Row is all about cleaning up the streets and taking out the rival gangs to make The Row safer. One of the first missions you do in the demo requires you to steal “hos” from a rival pimp and bring them back to a pimptrepreneur who’s just starting up on the block. I can’t say I was very convinced that this concept played a big role in the initial planning stages, but it is there. We’ll have to see how it pans out in the full game.

Saints Row is set to be released August 29 in North America.

I’ve noticed lots of people on my friends list playing the 2 demos – what do you guys think of these up-coming games based on the demo experience?

16 Comments

I’ve been really enjoying the demo offering on Live since getting a 360. Demo disks just seem so arcane.

As for the two games you mentioned. I really want to try Dead Rising but haven’t downloaded it yet and am going to be a week on holiday so it will have to wait.

Saint’s Row really impressed me. Like you mentioned, the combat is actually enjoyable – having a shootout feels awesome; plus ragdolls are a bonus. The only thing that let it down a bit was it seemed the framerate was a bit choppy. Maybe they can smooth it up a bit in time for release if we’re lucky.

I plan on buying Dead Rising for sure, I really had fun with that game. I was laughing my ass off the whole time playing it. Did you know you can jump on the skateboard? I died pretty quick on it, but it was hilarious.

I actually enjoyed Saints Row, I think I’ll buy that one too!

p.s 3600 points – I beat KONG last night — I’m catchin up sucka!:)

@James: I too am a big fan of the XBLA demos. They should really promote that more as I think it would be a big selling point for a lot of people.

And you’re right – the framerate in Saints Row is a little worrisome at times. I found it worst when you’re driving and there’s a lot going on.

@Andrew: Nice, your score’s like mine… except the 3 and the 6 are reversed. 😛

Oh, and yeah – I knew about the skateboard. I went barelling down the stairs and took out a couple dozen dudes in the process. Hilarious!

I was really impressed by the Dead Rising demo, shame it’s pretty short, also the amount of zombies on screen it at one time is amazing, will you be getting the full game Matt? It’s not coming out over here (UK) for a few weeks.

As for Saints Row, if looks that good, what is GTA4 going to be like? Can’t wait

Ben

Dead Rising has been the next purchase on my list for a long time – unfortuantely us poor saps in Europe have to wait till bleeding September to get our fill of the that zombite stomping goodness.

The demo was really fun, the fist time I ripped th head off a zombie with that rake thing – as you said it’s total laugh your ass off time.

As everyone esle said Saints Row really suprised me. I’ve never really got into GTA like everyone else – in fact the last one i bought was GTA3!!!

But yeah shooting was fun, punching was fun, missions were fun – I’ll definitely be keeping any eye on it. The multiplayer sounds really good too (http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=66091)

Apprently the frame rate issues should be dealt with by the time the game is released.

Too true a comment on Saints Row, I was expecting lame GTA rip but instead the whole game felt a lot more playable than I first gave it credit for. I still think GTA4 will be awesome if Table Tennis is anything to go by.

I’m currently downloading the DR demo; looking forward to some zombie smashing 😉

I downloaded the two off live and found myself getting into Saints Row more than Dead rising, But after reading your review, I’ll have to revisit it to see what I can find to throw, hit and bash them zombies with!

I’ve been such a "balloon knot" lately, I let my Xbox Live account expire because I found I was spending way too much time on it. So I told myself I would take the summer off and start back fresh in the Fall. I’m certain I’ve missed a ton!

Well, I picked up Dead Rising today. Played it for a few hours and I’m not really sure how I’m feeling about it. I found myself incredibly frustrated on a number of occasions. A couple times after dying suddenly without having saved for at least half an hour. I hate-hate-hate redoing shit, so that didn’t sit well, either time it happened. I normally save very frequently, but this is one of those games where you have to make your way to a save point which are few and far between.

Another huge issue I have with the game is the ridiculously small text. I can’t even read the objectives on my standard definition TV – and I’m using the component input, so the best/clearest picture I can possibly get. I’ve just been activating them and following the guide arrow blindly for the most part. Kind of a drag, to say the least.

Another save related problem is the inability to make multiple saves. You have to keep overwriting your current save. Uber lame.

Hopefully I can bring myself to give it another chance. I’m pretty bummed that it’s not all it appeared to be from the demo. The novelty of smashing zombies with anything you can get your hands on wore off surprisingly fast.

@Derek: I wondered what was going on with you. It doesn’t even have the amount of days you’ve been offline on my friends list. Simply says "offline" beside your name. Booooo!

I know it. I miss it like hell, especially when I see demos like Chromehounds, Dead Rising and Simulator X making their way to Live. You’ll see me back in a couple weeks, guarentee. We’ll have to hook up on GRAW, did you pick up the new maps?

The other night after I posted my initial thoughts on Dead Rising, I did a bit of poking around on the xbox.com message boards. A LOT of people are complaining about all the same issues. But most importantly, I was missing a very important aspect of the game. That being, it’s built to be replayed several times. The first play-through should be spent doing the main case files and pretty much nothing else to ensure you get out of there at noon on the third day. Otherwise, you take too long, miss the helicopter, don’t get the true ending and therefore miss your chance at unlocking infinite mode. So that’s what I’m doing now. My wife and I are playing it together, like we used to with Resident Evil 4. I’m having a lot more fun with it now and will go back and do the side missions once I finish it the first time around.

@Derek: There actually hasn’t been demos for Chromehounds (which is the most boring game on the face of the planet, BTW) or Flight Simulator X – there was a Windows demo for FSX released last week. Maybe that’s what you saw? But yeah, I still haven’t done the GRAW co-up missions. Didn’t pick up the expansion. Too much $$$ for someone who doesn’t play it online all that much.

@Matt – I bet I’ll have Live up and going by this weekend so I’m hoping you’ll see my return very soon. I normally get the scoop from Major Nelson (http://www.majornelson.com) and you’re right I need to pay closer attention, FSX was a PC download available at microsoft.com and Chromehounds only released a trailer. Doh!

Plus you may want to check this out

http://www.majornelson.com/archive/2006/08/12/sun

Larry will be interviewing the dude behind Dead Rising.

I’ve been waiting to post a comment till I got the Dead Rising demo but till this day it still isn’t availible. I think it’s because I’m in Germany and I’m not even sure their gonna release it over here. Saints Row was available and I agree it was supriseingly better than I expected. Although my biggest suprise was Ninety-Nine-Nights you should definitely check it out ( if it’s available ) I’m going to buy that for sure

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