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Dead Rising 3 Review

It is hard to imagine when Dead Rising first arrived on the Xbox 360 that zombies were not the zeitgeist they are now. With only a smattering of undead games (mainly the Resident Evil games) it was really rather rare to find a game where the undead are the main draw. Of course that all changed and pretty much all production companies now have their own take on the zombie apocalypse in one way or another, however few have matched the thrill and open world play style of Dead Rising.

For the third outing it's out with the old and in with the new, replacing series stalwarts Frank and Chuck and introducing us to Nick Ramos, a man who is good with machines and in turn, a vital tool himself for many of the remaining survivors of the newest outbreak of zombies since the events of Dead Rising 2 ten years prior.

The outbreak is smack bang in the middle of Los Perdidos, a sprawling metro full of shops, houses and motorways. Things have moved on a little from before, Zombrex is still a vital prevention medicine for those that have been bitten, however the government also installed chips into the civilians desperately trying to control the population and suppress any further outbreaks; however something has gone very wrong, with a new outbreak in full swing.  To kill off the outbreak once and for all, the government has decided to nuke the city and therefore, with the clock ticking down to D-day, you must take control of Nick and help him fight for his survival.

As Nick you are given pretty much free reign of the city, wandering into stores and houses and looting whatever you see fit, be it food, weapons and even clothes. Gone are the time constraints of a vital Zombrex injection or saving certain people that end in a game over, all you have is the clock ticking down the inevitable nuke the government will be sending in.

Those familiar with the Dead Rising games will remember the stiff learning curve of the previous games. These are now a thing of the past, as even though the world is falling apart around you, the game is a much more comfortable place to play in thanks to the controls being updated, making clambering over obstacles and climbing a lot easier and swapping weapons and items around your limited inventory a lot more streamlined. 

The big pull and a sure-fire way to survive is the ability to combine weapons, a great returning feature that has again been updated due to Nick’s mechanical abilities. No longer confined to work benches, as long as you have picked up a blueprint and collected the right pieces, you can create some truly awesome weapons, from flying dragon suits, Dragon Punch gloves complete with Hadoken and of course, the cuddly gun toting Freedom Bear. Nick's customisation skills do not stop there, with vehicles now able to be combined into two and four wheeled machines of death, by fitting gun turrets to trucks or a steamroller to a motorbike.

The biggest change and something that was either a sticking point for many or an original gameplay choice, was the very restrictive save points of the previous games, however these are now gone, with you able to save at numerous points. The story missions are all in a similar vein of meeting someone and going on a fetch quest with people calling for favours. Not everyone is looking for help though with the return of the Pshyco’s, non-infected survivors that have gone insane under the stress and yet again they are grotesque people out to stop you at any cost. You also have the obligatory rescue and protect missions, however rather than just earning some PP, once they have been escorted to a safe house you are then able to call on their services, creating a posse of survivors ready to kick some zombie butt.

These safe houses are scattered all over the city and once cleaned out of infected you can claim them as your own, offering a safe haven to change your clothes, call up a survivor for backup and even use a weapons locker to equip with any weapon or combo you have previously created, a great idea that really makes a huge difference to gameplay when compared to the previous games.

Replay-ability is key in Dead Rising 3, with the story offering far too many moments that you will miss the first time around, the game opening up with more the more blueprints and side quests you complete. Everything you do slowly adds to Nicks PP scoring system that will slowly rank him up, allowing you to use points to spend on certain character boosts, starting with the ability to simplify the requirements of blueprints, making it easier to make the many devastating weapons and vehicles, but at level 50, you then start to earn loads more that really change the way you play the game. Even after the final credits the game will offer loads more including the ability to revisit previous chapters to skip back to carry out missed missions and a nightmare mode that offers less time to complete missions and a tougher challenge from the zombies themselves; plus you have co-op, with you able to join another game playing as Dick, earning PP and blueprints with your zombie slaying partner.

Those with a SmartGlass enabled device will certainly want to try it out, with the second screen acting as your information hub, tracking you on a live updated map and switching between missions with ease. The main problem with SmartGlass is trying to look at two screens at once, but if you can manage it does work well.

As a launch title the graphics in Dead Rising 3 do not exactly blow you away, however the game manages to deal with an awful lot going on and never struggles, despite hundreds of zombies getting mowed down under your custom rig or you setting off a chain reaction of explosions, sending body parts and blood all over the place. The only real issue is with some strange pop-up of certain items. Since there are no loading times the game is totally free to run and drive around, however at times roadblocks will appear to digitally sizzle into existence, where previously the road ahead was clear, they are supposed to be there, but do not load quick enough, a nit-pick but it does happen a little too often.

Of all of the games to choose from at launch, Dead Rising 3 did not disappoint in the slightest, offering fans of the series more zombie killing action and newcomers an easier intro to the world of killing thousands upon thousands of zombies.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: Xbox One)


+ A huge variety of weapons and vehicles to try out on the undead.
+ Handles hundreds of zombies on screen at once.
+ A more easily accessible and in depth Dead Rising experience


- Occasional pop-up

Edited On 25 Nov, 2013

( 3 )
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
I am not that far into it yet but I must say that so far the only thing letting it down is the lack of psychos you have to fight really enjoyed the strange ones in the first 2 though I am only onto the second day.
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 3 years ago
This is the one I'm actually kinda unhappy about not being able to get. The others were pretty fun. But oh well. This is Capcom. They go where the money is, they'll probably put out a complete version on the other consoles later.
Im Going Space's avatar
Im Going Space 3 years ago
ive enjoyed this game a lot :D finished it yesterday because i was ill. cracking game, and now ive got smartglass again (phone decided to take swimming lessons) ill be playing through again with that and mopping up the last 5 or so collectibles.

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