Dead Rising


Wow! That’s is one of the best words to describe Dead Rising. It is such a unique take on the Zombie genre at to my mind the most fun. Sure Resident Evil 4 was great but for me most Zombie games find themselves hamstrung by the fact that Zombies are slow. Not Capcom. Here we have slow, stupid Zombies but so much fun!


You are a reporter Frank who gets the scoop of a lifetime when you finds himself in a Zombie infested American shopping mall. You must control Frank and not only help him survive for several days in the mall but also solve what is going on so you can report this story to the world. Frank must also try to help rescue as many survivors in the mall which means taking tough routes through the Zombie infestation with usually scared and stupid people (well they have managed not to escape already so they can’t be that bright!).



You have complete 3rd person control of Frank and the camera in addition to this Frank has several abilities out of the bag (and he can learn loads more as the game progresses). You can: take photos at any time (this changes to a first person view point); jump, climb up onto or over stuff, punch and kick, collect and use objects and weapons which litter the mall. Frank also gains experience from not only making use of his abilities (particularly taking good photos) but also from rescuing survivors. The two areas of photographs and rescuing form the back bone of the game with all of the mechanics supporting this.


Objects and Weapons

The mall is host to a large number of stores each which holds at least one item which can be used as a weapon or worn as clothing. Clothing is more comic relief than of any use but it is a nice touch and sees Frank donning kids, women and/or men’s clothes from skirts to suits and sport get up to fancy dress. The other objects fall into two categories edible or weapons. Weapons can be anything from your run of the mill pistol, shotgun or uzi to your esoteric stack of cd’s, lead pipe, frying pans and hundreds more. Edible objects also come in a variety of shapes and sizes; juices, pizzas, fruit pies and wine are just some examples all food items can be mixed in a blender to create juices which give you enhanced abilities for a short duration.


Experience and Abilities

Frank starts of with the basic abilities listed above and can use any item he finds in the Mall. However as he gets more experience (through taking great photos, using his abiities to fight Zombies, or by rescuing survivors) he will level up and get new abilities. These range from more powerful attacks (e.g. roundhouse, disembowelling and a whole bunch more) to extra health or being able to hold more items. The great thing with his level is that it carries over from game to game so when you finish the game you can restart and although you are at the beginning you still have your level and abilities from the last game. This makes getting the few harder achievements a lot easier (but still time consuming).



One contentious issue for a lot of people is the saving system. Capcom have decided to make the game feel ‘realistic’ and so Frank can only save in various safe areas in the mall. This means the Security room and any toilets around the mall (Zombies must be scared of them for some reason maybe they are frightened of hygiene?). The frustration for some is that it can be awkward to get to a save point when escorting a lot of survivors, although to be fair to Capcom there are a lot of toilets littered around so you are never far away from one. The other contentious issue is that when you die you really die, this means reloading your last save or starting again. For me none of this is a frustration it just means you have to be more thoughtful and aware of what you are doing. The intention, I think, is to heighten tension by forcing you to think about your actions and be scared of dying and this, in my opinion, is not a bad thing. Many games these days have no penalty for you being dumb and make it a case of trial and error. Dead Rising is trying to say look if you were in a mall with Zombies life would be hard and you’d have to make tough decisions and I like that that sentiment is carried throughout the design, from saving to crucial life or death descisions about ‘do I save her or do I try to get to the next scoop?’.


Scoops and timers

The game is built around scoop opportunities and it is these which move the plot forward. You can ignore them but you will, obviously, not see all the game has to offer. Completing a scoop opens the next and so forth. Miss one and that closes the story until you reload or start from the beginning again. Each scoop has a timer attached and these are usually very generous letting you leave them for a while, while you get on with hacking down more zombies, saving more survivors or otherwise entertaining yourself.



Dead Rising is very replay-able because of the way it saves your data. As mentioned before it saves your experience and level so if you die and/or start a new game you can carry over your old level and experience. This makes seeing everything the game has to offer much easier. For example the first time you play you can focus on just getting all the scoops ignoring most of the survivors and then you can replay it at a higher level and focus on saving survivors (when you are a higher level saving the survivors becomes significantly easier).



Dead Rising is a well accomplished and beautifully rendered game and well worth a place in most game fans library. It is easy to get to grips with; free form enough to allow you to feel in control; and open enough to allow plenty of experimentation. Lastly it is not scared to have a laugh at it’s and other zombie games/films expense.



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