Dead Rising: Review

A mall full of zombies and countless items you can use as weapons… can you think of a better scenario?

The Good: Impressive graphics and excellent sound effects. Hundreds of zombies on-screen and the framerate barely stutters. Massive variety of weapons to annihilate the undead with. Lots of bonus objectives that are good for achievements and add to the replay value. The story is pretty good with lots of twists. Voice acting is well done for the most part.

The Bad: OTIS!!! Insanely small on-screen text for dialog and objectives. Required to level up right off the bat or the game is very difficult. Survivor’s are pretty stupid – can barely follow, will hit you with weapons, run straight through hordes of zombies, etc.

Since I’ve already written about Dead Rising twice this month, I can skip over the back-story/introduction and get right into the details.

Dead Rising is one of the first Xbox 360 games that really shows the power it possesses. At times, you’ll have hundreds (literally!) of zombies on-screen at one time. It’s quite the sight when you gaze upon that many moving figures knowing full well you could decapitate every single one of them if you really wanted to. For the most part, the framerate barely flinches. There are a couple areas where the game slows down significantly, but they’re few and far between.

The characters look great and their movements are quite good. Especially Frank, the character you play. He’s very animated and his movements are pretty exaggerated, which makes it even funnier when he brings a huge sledge hammer down on a zombie’s head. All of the cinematics are done with the in-game engine, which I much prefer over pre-rendered movies. My only complaint is the voice syncing – it’s horrible. At times you might get the feeling that you’re playing an import that’s had the voices re-dubbed. While we’re on the topic of characters – seriously Capcom, WTF? Apparently someone has a “thing” for adolescent girls with enormous cans. Think Jenna Jameson with the head of Dakota Fanning. Pictured left is Jessie, one of the main characters in Dead Rising. To her right is Ashley from Resident Evil 4. Ashley might look innocent there, but when you beat the game an unlock her alternate costume, she gets wicked naughty! The cans come out and there’s some insane camel toe shots.

Buh, I feel dirty. Anyway, the audio is fantastic! There isn’t much to it in terms of music and atmosphere, but the effects are spot-on! As you would expect, there’s “elevator music” playing through-out the mall. Once in a while, when you reach a certain area at a certain time (sorry, trying not to give things away), some horrid, angry rap comes on. They say something about a “hot cup of piss”… what? Oh, another complaint! You can’t disable the music without disabling the voice-overs all together. Lame. Back to the point here… the sound effects are great! The splattering and the thuds and the smashes and breaking… oh, and the squishes and tears. But best of all, the sound a zombie makes when you destroy his face. Think of what it would sound like if you were to punch a man in the throat so hard his Adam’s apple exploded and he’s gargling the blood. Makes me laugh, every time!

There are plenty of Achievements up for grabs in Dead Rising and you’ll have a lot of fun going after them. You should be able to collect 300 or so without even trying if you play through the story modes. A lot of them are for specific things, but you’ll get them if you’re creative. After one play-through, I scored 560 points. I’ve gone back to level up a bit but haven’t begun to work on the others just yet.

Dead Rising possesses what could be one of the best unlockables ever. The Mega Man blaster! Through-out the mall, you’ll find parts of the Mega Man suit, including a blaster that shoots nerf balls. Hardly effective. But if you’re dedicated enough to get the “Zombie Genocider” Achievement (for killing 53,594 zombies) then survive the remaining hours, you’re rewarded the “mega buster” aka Mega Man blaster. What? That sounds dumb? Watch this!

All-and-all, I had a lot of fun playing Dead Rising. My first play was quite the chore. But once I understood how things worked and realized I’d be playing it through again, it was a ton of fun. Even though there’s no multiplayer what-so-ever, I would still recommend Dead Rising as a buy. It will take quite a few hours just to beat the story the first time through, and you’ll definitely want to jump back in and do it all over again.

Dead Rising
4/ 5