Thursday, September 07, 2006


Dead Rising - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Recently got Dead Rising for the Xbox 360. This game is not based on Dawn of the Dead or any other George Romero zombie movies (wink wink, nudge nudge). The fact that you're in a shopping mall surrounded by zombies? Pure coincidence, honest.

First, the Good. The game has a decent interface that only takes 30 minutes or so to get used to. You can aim and shoot or attack in first person, or you can leave it in third person mode and just "shoot from the hip," which works very well for melee weapons but not so much firearms. Since ammo is scarce, you'll end up killing a lot of zombies with melee weapons. The story seems interesting, but honestly it's the same old cliche so nothing really new there. The graphics are decent but nothing stellar. This could probably have been an Xbox game as far as the graphics are concerned. Graphics kind of reminded me somewhat of State of Emergency but are better than that. The camera is a nice touch, being able to take cool pics to gain experience is a really good idea. Being able to pick up anything and everything in the mall and use it in some way is probably the biggest selling point for this game. Almost anything can be a weapon, and nearly everything else is usable in some way.

Now, the Bad. You get one save. One. Save. Save points can easily be a good 30-40 minutes in between each other. The missions are timed. You can run out of time overall and not be able to complete the game. For many people, this will be a deal killer.

And The Ugly - well, actually this is the "not so bad". Even though you only get one save, you can save on each memory device one time. So if you have a memory card and the HDD, you get two saves. Another not so bad is that when you die, you can chose to restart the game rather than restarting from the save point. I know, that sounds crazy. Well, you get to keep your stats. So lets say you make it to level 4 and die, you can restart the game at level 4 from the beginning, meaning you'll be able to do a lot more early on quicker and shaving a lot more minutes off that ever present time limit. Also, if the time runs out, you can still play the game, you just can't complete the story (at least, not in a positive way). You can still keep playing in order to rack up experience and levels which can be useful to you on your next play though. In fact, some of the achievements are clearly designed to be completed only by ignoring the main story and just playing free-form mode.

Bottom line, if you like zombies, get this game. It does not disappoint on the zombie-killing front in any way. Great at that, in fact. The restrictive save system seems like a burden at first, but since you keep your stats when you restart the game, it's not a game killer (for me anyway). There is a demo on Xbox Live that is kind of short but gives you a good idea of the freeform gameplay. Rating: A- (could have been A+ with full featured save system, ah well).

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