Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Dead Rising (2006) - First Impressions

Zombies are constantly on the razor's edge of over saturation but when it comes down to it zombies are fun to kill. Dead Rising has zombies to kill in droves and it looks awesome doing it. I'm at around the halfway mark and am finally progressing nicely.

The Good:

The game is a horror game. Sure, zombies, mall, survivors, mayhem ensues but there are certain points where the game just decides to go sideways. Bring in the psychopaths - assorted "bosses" in the game: a Nam Vet with a machete, the Cult Leader, a bunch of escaped convicts in a Jeep with .50 mounted on the back, and probably some more I haven't seen. So far I have only been able to take down the Cult Leader but it had a very satisying kill cut scene.

I like the fact that the game has a fairly strict time limit on missions and story - it ratchets up the tension and severely cuts back on the aimless wandering factor. While I love the "sandbox"
style of game - exploration is one of my favorite aspects of gaming - there are times when aimless wandering doesn't make sense for the plot. Example: Dead Rising's main character is a journalist dropped into a zombie infested mall with 72 hours to "get the story" and maybe save some people on the side. The clock is ticking. There's not exactly time to find hidden packages or scour every corner of the place for goodies.

Saving people in distress is a profanity inducing nightmare of fun. I like saving people from the ravenous hordes and assorted loonies but when they lag behind or flounder I start cursing them, their lineage, and their pets. I also have become very callous towards people who refuse help or are emotional wrecks. Thus proving in a zombie-pocalypse I would be a complete bastard - i.e. "Leave them! They're goners!" My next step will be shooting the goners...when I have rounds to waste.

The save system has caused a lot of confusion. You only have one save file. If you get stuck or fail to complete the storyline before the 72 hours is up or die or miss your helicpoter you have the option of restarting the game with your stats intact. The restart is actually pretty handy because at the actual beginning of the game you are in no condition to fight zombies. By racking up some levels and abilities it makes the game much more managable. I have to admit that I like this system. It removes the Choose Your Own Adventure style of cheating - marking the page you are on and seeing what are your best choices before carrying on.

The Bad:

Dead Rising was designed to be used with HD. Wheee! While this means the game looks awesome it also means that most of the font can't be read on a standard TV. This means you can't find out important mission information, deadlines, locations, and assorted useful information. This drives Amanda insane. Sure it pisses me off but I can figure out what I'm supposed to do...eventually...after getting pissed off and swearing. It really is an inexcusable screw up on Capcom's part.

The controls are pretty good...for a Capcom game. I wish there was a target lock-on. Not a realistic function I know but there are certain times when I was butchered simply because I couldn't get a bead on the target. Profanity ensues.

All in all it's a good game that I will pick up when it's used and reasonably priced. If you like zombie movies and/or games then definitely rent Dead Rising.

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