Review: Dead Rising 3

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When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth. That’s certainly the case with the Xbox One zombie sandbox Dead Rising 3. Dave Green explains why this is a strong entry into the franchise for returning fans or newcomers to the franchise in our review…

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Open world titles are difficult to pull off at the best of times – a sandbox at the launch of a brand new console is trickier still. That’s precisely what Dead Rising 3 is though – and it’s the best of the series so far.

There’s a caveat though. Dead Rising has always been a fun franchise but one filled with flaws – at its best it’s a sublimely designed arena of chaos and ingenuity; at its worse, it’s a repetitive exercise in time management and frustration. Thankfully, Dead Rising 3 makes some smart choices that side-steps some of these issues. It’s at once more structured yet more open – gone are the time constraints and isolated save points (though you can play this way if you choose in one of the titles numerous modes) – however, like the previous entries, repetition can set in. There’s only so many ways you can deal with a (staggering) horde of zombies and while Capcom Vancouver have tried valiantly to break things up and keep proceedings fresh, they don’t quite hit the mark.

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Chances are though, you’ll forgive them as the game is fun. I don’t mean that in a dismissive way either – it’s Dead Rising 3‘s greatest strength. It’s also a YouTuber’s dream and a great title to take advantage of the Xbox One’s DVR and Upload features. There are a plethora of ways to deal with the (often) thousands of zombies on-screen – weapons and vehicles can be combined in increasingly inventive ways or, using Xbox One Smartglass, you can take out huge amounts of the walking dead with airstrikes – and you’ll want to constantly test what the limits of the game are.

Fears that Dead Rising 3 had lost the series landmark humour are, thankfully, unfounded. While proceedings are a little more serious in places, and the horror aspect has been taken up a notch, comedy is found in spades – be that in the way you can dress character Nick Ramos, the way you deal with zombies or the characters themselves. Ramos is likeable – a “do gooder” but with a light touch. The supporting cast is weird and wonderful for the most part and come armed with an array of one-liners and quips. Then, there are the series mainstay of psychopaths.

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Dead Rising has always been a big believer that people are the real things you should be worried about and Dead Rising 3 is no exception. This time, the psychopaths you (optionally) deal with are based on the seven deadly sins – wrath, envy, gluttony and the like. It’s a nice twist and lends a strong design point to the antagonists. However, as with the previous entries in the franchise, these boss fights are universally terrible – genuinely as bad as the ones found in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Often a frustrating mess, they are without a doubt the weakest aspect of an otherwise strong game.

An important question; how does Dead Rising 3 take advantage of the new hardware? While graphically it doesn’t seem like a massive leap, it is impressive. Imagine the fidelity of the PS3’s The Last Of Us but on a massive, open world scale and you’re pretty much there. Every character is chunky, solid and detailed. The game also throws around a frankly staggering amount of zombies on-screen at any one time with very little slow down, which is great to see. Smartglass integration is also fun – as mentioned it can be used as a weapon or as a tool to keep up to date with goings on in the games massive sandbox or to look for the titles numerous side missions.

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Dead Rising 3 is a big game – with the main quest, side missions, a variety of additional modes and an excellent online co-op mode there’s plenty to do. It’s also a great starting point to jump into the series and different enough to win back gamers who didn’t like Dead Rising 1 or 2; though it’s loyal enough to the franchises key pillars for returning fans to enjoy – it’s an impressive balancing act. If you’ve just bought an Xbox One and want a title that takes advantage of its key features and a good time to boot, you won’t go far wrong with Dead Rising 3.

8.2/10

– Dave Green @Davidpgreen83

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