GC Review: Dead Rising 3

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Zombies in video games is nothing new. I remember playing Zombies Ate My Neighbors on the Super Nintendo for hours having a blast killing zombies with lawn mowers, exploding soda cans and anything else that was just laying around so its no surprise that zombies have been in a game on just about every console launched since then. When it comes to next generation consoles though only one of them can claim to have a true zombie game right now and that is the Xbox One with its exclusive Dead Rising 3.

Dead Rising 3 drops you into the shoes of Nick Ramos who has found himself trapped in the once beautiful city of Los Perdidos, California during a zombie outbreak. Nick is a mechanic by trade and quite handy when it comes to building and fixing things. This comes in handy as Nick is about to go on an adventure across a zombie filled city with nothing but his skills, the people he meets along the way and the random things he finds thought the city to help him survive the zombie filled streets of Los Perdidos.

The zombie outbreak in Los Perdidos takes place 10 years after the events from Dead Rising 2’s zombie outbreak in Fortune City. After the Fortune City zombie outbreak the government made it a requirement that all infected people have a Zombrex chip implanted inside them that would administer the Zombrex vaccine everyday. These chips however also tracked the infected people by way of GPS causing many to refuse the implants in defiance of the new laws.

Dead Rising 3 begins three days after the initial outbreak in Los Perdidos. Nick is out scavenging for supplies in a quarantine area when things go from bad to worse. The walls of the quarantine area aren’t strong enough to hold the what looks like thousands of zombies back and Nick is forced to run for his life as the walls come crashing down around him releasing even more of the undead into the streets of the city.

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After an explosive getaway from the zombie horde Nick returns to a dinner where a few other survivors he’s met along the way are hiding out from the infected. Among the other survivors inside the dinner are a trucker named Dick and his boss Rhonda along with a young girl named Annie. Annie is considered an infected “illegal” because she refused the Zombrex chip implant.

Dead Rising 3 doesn’t do very much different from the other Dead Rising games. They have however managed to take all the great things about the franchise and refined them making them better then ever. Your still going to be running around murdering zombies with all sorts of crazy contraptions that would even make Inspector Gadget jealous but this time it just works better.

The biggest change to Dead Rising 3 comes in the form of where the game actually takes place. You’re no longer trapped in a mall that feels much bigger then a mall should. You now have an entire city full of buildings, homes and cars to explore and covered in hacked off pieces of zombie.

Having an entire city to play in was a great choice. I personally wasn’t a fan of Dead Rising 2. It seemed to cluttered while at the same time being to big to even think that it could be a real place. Los Perdidos on the other hand is very open containing 4 different sections of the city and numerous places to explore and things to find making it feel like a (sorta) living, breathing city.

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One major thing to take note of is that the countdown timer is back for Dead Rising 3. This time you have 5 days to escape Los Perdidos along with your friends before a military strike is set to wipe out the entire city and anything living or dead inside of it. If you fail to escape within the 5 days the city is destroyed and you’re left watching the worst of the 4 possible endings and a big fat game over screen.

Combining everyday objects to kill thousands of zombies has always been one of Dead Rising main features but this time they have taken it a step further. Not only can you craft your weapons on the fly as you find the different ingredients and blueprints they need around the city but you can now craft combination cars and bikes fully equipped with guns, explosives, spikes and just about anything else that could kill a zombie.

The downside to using a car however is frame rate. Most of the time this isn’t an issue but when you hop into an exotic sports car and get up a little bit of speed the frame rate tends to drop leaving you with a little bit of a stuttering effect. While the vehicles aren’t necessary for traveling around the city they do make it much easier and faster then fighting your way across town on foot while being surrounded by zombies if your willing to put up with a frame rate drop here and there.

If there is one thing I can promise you about Dead Rising 3 it’s that you will be surrounded by zombies almost all the time. The sheer number of zombies that appear on screen at any given time is mind boggling. Not even in an episode of The Walking Dead have there been so many zombies in one place before. It can be daunting at first to know that the place you need to get to is on the other side of that 1000 plus sized zombie horde and the only way to get to it is by going through them, in more ways then one.

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Many of the weapons you can create will let you smash, bash, burn and blow up anything in your way in great detail but my favorite type of weapons are the bladed kind. With previous Dead Rising games if you hit a zombie with some kind of blade it might loss an arm here or there but a lot of the time it would just kinda die. That doesn’t happen any more. Now with each strike of the blade hands and arms go flying all over and that’s when a zombie isn’t out right cut in half by them only to keep crawling after you.

Aside from the zombies themselves the only other thing you will never be able to escape is the groaning of the untold numbers of the undead roaming the streets of Los Perdidos. Everywhere you go you will always feel like your being snuck up on because of the constant moans and groans from the infected and to tell you the truth they probably are sneaking up behind you, their sneaky that way.

If you have the Xbox One Smart Glass App even more of the world will open itself up to you. Dead Rising 3’s companion app turns your actual phone into an in game cell phone allowing characters from the game to call your cell phone and give you new missions. The missions you receive from the companion app will unlock many of the ZDC lock boxes you will see around the city and locked doors to buildings all over town. As you do more missions from the smart glass app you will even unlock special bonuses like drone strike’s that can clear your path for you when your in serious trouble.

The voice acting done in Dead Rising 3 is nothing short of superb. Characters are constantly being tormented by the masses of zombies around the city and you can clearly hear it in their voices as they talk to one another. Being enclosed in an entire city of zombies with an impending military strike on the way has to be terrifying and to hear how scared these people are just by the way they talk manages to up the level of realism giving the story much more of an impact.

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Dead Rising 3’s multiplayer lets a friend drop into the city to do some co-op zombie slaying. You and your friend can choose to stick together to take on the swarms of the undead together or split up to search the city and complete mission objectives that much faster. Any blueprints found while playing multiplayer are given to both players to use and if someone gives you a weapon you currently don’t have a blueprint for you can go back to any of the many safe houses thought the city and use a weapon locker which is constantly full of anything you’ve used or made while playing to remake it even when you go back to your single player game.

Also inside all the safe house’s is a closet that will hold all the different clothes you find. Clothing comes in four pieces to make an outfit and consist of head, chest, legs and feet. There are all kinds of wacky things to wear like a mask of Blanka from Street Fighter and full Megaman costume if your lucky enough to live long enough to get it.

Dead Rising 3 is the game I wished for when I was playing Dead Rising 2. It’s taken everything I liked about the series and made it better while getting rid of the most annoying parts of the game like having to find Zombrex every few hours to stay alive.

Its a bit disappointing to see next generation games running at a native 720P with 30FPS and still have frame rate problems. This seems to be more of an issue with the Xbox One rather then the game itself considering many of the Xbox One’s launch titles failed to hit the 1080P-60FPS mark but its still disappointing none the less. Even with its few flaws Dead Rising 3 manages to be a great game full of places to explore and things to find and is by far my favorite Xbox One launch title.