Zombies in a mall.
Dead Rising takes several tried and true ideas from different genres and slams them into an awesome package.
What is Dead Rising? Is it an open world sandbox? Is it an action adventure? Is it a role playing game? Is it a horror survival? Well its pretty much what you would get if you put all of that together added an unbelievable number of zombies and set it in a near modern day shopping mall. The idea is cliché but the game play can capture your imagination immediately.
You are Frank West photojournalist extraordinaire. You are out to get your scoop on what is going down in a little town of Willamette, Colorado. Upon arriving in town via helicopter (the National Guard has everything else blocked off of course) you quickly see that there is more going on here than meets the eye. Zombies have taken over the town and you land on top of the mall to try to get the real story.
To try to boil it down you are stuck in this mall for 72 hours (that pass at an accelerated in game pace) while you soon realize you are gravely out numbered by zombies and psychopaths the mall is filled to the brim with weapons, and items to help you survive.
Survival is the key to everything; you could actually play the game without ever leaving the first safe room, just hang out and wait until your chopper is supposed to return, but you know there’s a story out there, you know there’s other survivors, and the games multiple endings have a lot to say about what you do or don’t do.
As the game starts it can be a little frustrating, frank is level 1, with low health, only a handful of inventory spots and no real skills. This is changed quickly as you level up by killing zombies with style, taking good pictures, and rescuing survivors. Each level has a predetermined thing that it unlocks, more health, more speed, more strength, and so on. Probably the most interesting part of this system is that you can start the game over at anytime and keep your level intact. One draw back is that this does almost feel necessary, you probably will reach a point and just start over.
Weapons range from sledgehammers and katanas to heavy machine guns and back to bowling balls and window mannequins. Some weapons are just for fun, some are for some serious zombie killing. Also as Frank levels up you unlock different special moves with your bare hands like walking on zombies heads, throwing zombies like a wrestler, or even ripping a zombies guts out with your fist.
Controls do take a while to get used to and a common complaint is that it just doesn’t feel right in the beginning but once you get used to dodging zombies, swinging weapons and using your skills while all managing your health it becomes a real pleasure to survive in the mall.
The Graphics of the game seemed a little dated on release but it’s easy to over look when there’s so much going on in the game, thousands of zombies around you at a time, other survivors or psychos running around, the game handles it well with low loading times and very good frame rates.
Story wise Dead Rising is literally take it or leave it, you don’t have to try to do the main story at all, but you will miss out on the ending and more. Choosing to try to do the quests or cases and scoops is a bit of an exercise in time management, and trial and error. Since everything is timed you may need to choose between the fat guy in the food court or the lady in the construction zone. Almost everyone can be saved but it’s a tough job that will require some planning and careful play.
The actual story is surprisingly good; a premise that makes sense and is some what fresh for a zombie outbreak the voice acting is above par to good with dialog and text that actually has some thought in it.
Dead Rising it’s a grand theft auto with weapons instead of cars set in a big mall with a lot of things going on all over the place, if you can get past the steep control learning curve it’s a great game with a lot of replay value. Grab some OJ and a chainsaw and get to it.