Dead Rising 3 Review
Dead Rising 3 isn’t a game you should buy an Xbox One for.
That’s not to say its not a good game, as you’ll no doubt already have seen from our score; as fun as Dead Rising 3 is, it’s hardly a technical showcase for Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox.
Technical issues and limited ambition hold Dead Rising 3 back from being a next-gen experience, and while it’s definitely worth picking up if you’re already planning on getting an Xbox One if this game is the reason you’re tempted, it’s probably not original enough to sell an entire console to you.
Dead Rising 3 – Not The Xbox One Exclusive You Wanted
The original Dead Rising was something of a revelation for gamers: here was an open world environment filled with the shuffling dead, at the time an original experience.
Dead Rising 3 cannot hope to mimic that same level of wide-eyed awe. Sure the number of zombies on screen has increased dramatically, but the effect is still the same – and as a result hugely diluted.
It doesn’t help that Dead Rising 3 suffers from framerate problems, and they’re not that rare either. As soon as you’re in the thick of the zombie-slicing action the framerate drops severely, worse still if you’re using a fire-based weapon.
With that said the lack of loading screens is a noticeable improvement. Once you’re in the world of Los Perdidos that’s it, you’re free to explore and maim without any interruption.
But even this comes at a cost. Issues with data streaming will sometimes leave areas struggling to patch in textures, while whole blockades and environmental objects will patch in before your eyes.
And all the while this is running at 720p, it’s hard to see how anyone could consider this a technical showcase of the Xbox One.
Even graphically it doesn’t particularly impress. Sure it’s an improvement over what we’ve seen before, but not really the promise of next-gen visuals we were hoping for. Not when GTA 5 offered a greater scale with better visuals on current generation machines.
Dead Rising 3’s heritage as an Xbox 360 title (which later was moved to Xbox One) is most apparent here.
While Dead Rising 3 still shares some of the clunky controls and animations of its predecessors, the animations in cut scenes are genuinely well done, with subtle changes in the faces to help build a little character to the characters.
It’s not that Dead Rising 3 is a mess, but it’s not exactly a selling point for the Xbox One. If you were hoping to be blown away by next-gen, this could be the weakest way of doing so.
In many ways Dead Rising 3 is an Xbox 360 game with a few upgrades added on.
Dead Rising 3 Is Still Dead Rising
But when all said and done, is it really the visuals that matter? Considering the time-sink that Dead Rising 3 can become, it’d be easy to say no.
In so many ways this is the Dead Rising experience you know and love. You’re given a means of communication with an unseen – but omnipotent – janitor, you can use a variety of weapons both mundane and elaborate and you encounter survivors as you help free them from inevitable demise.
Though Los Perdidos isn’t vast in size – with only four districts and relatively small areas to explore – it is dense with places to visit. Stores, restaurants or homes connect the world together, and give you an abundance of items and foodstuffs to collect.
The new addition of combo vehicles is a stroke of genius, however. While it does mean you can get from A to B much quicker (a necessity, really) you can do so in style.
It might be a motorbike combined with a steamroller and a pair of flamethrowers attached to it, or a van coated in armour with a heavy machine cannon and retractable blades.
There isn’t a lot in the way of variety here, but there’s certainly enough to give you a good time – though they’re not immune to damage, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for replacement vehicles out in the wild.
Of course it’s the combat that really shines.
It’s no more polished than previous Dead Rising games, but somehow it manages to remain as equally entertaining – thanks in part to flaming scythes, rocket boxing gloves (replete with hadouken sound effect) or traffic lights turned into explosive crowd clearers.
These crazy, imaginative creasions is what Dead Rising is about, and here Dead Rising 3 doesn’t disappoint.
But Is Dead Rising 3 Gritty?
Most scoffed when Dead Rising 3 was announced, however, believing the series to take an unrequited turn for the worst and a more serious tone amidst the excessive zombie slaughter.
That is most definitely not the case.
Nick Ramos is a surprisingly endearing character, too, not because of his macho nonsense – as you might expect from early trailers and initial impressions – but because of how, well, cowardly he is.
This isn’t a courageous Frank West we’re dealing with, and when confronted with horrific situations Nick will panic, whine and yelp.
As a result the cut scenes are at odds with the gameplay, where one minute Nick is terrified at the prospect of being attacked and the next he’s ready to slice any and all apart.
All the same he’s a likeable character, if nothing else, and the cut scenes are humorous enough to tie it all together.
The characters you meet, while portrayed well, fail to provide quite the same level of appeal, though, even towards the end of the game when everything starts to ramp up.
In fact, we found ourselves drawn more to the likes of Anna, our ‘Illegally Infected’ ally acquired in one of the early side-missions whose input was often little more than chastising us for running too far ahead.
All the same we fed her, protected her and generally liked having her around, and liked her more so than any of the characters restricted to cut scenes.
In a game about surviving together, it seems like a missed opportunity that more hasn’t been done with tying Dead Rising 3’s supporting NPCs into the story a little more.
Dead Rising 3 Review
Dead Rising 3 is in an awkward situation where it is undoubtedly entertaining, but fails to inspire that sense of excitement everyone wants from a next-gen launch exclusive.
Were it not for the lack of loading screens (which you wouldn’t even notice anyway) and a few more of the undead to pile an SUV into you’d forget it was on Xbox One at all, and that’s disappointing for Microsoft.
Nonetheless, it’d be remiss of us to say it isn’t worth picking up – it most certainly is. Dead Rising 3 is more of the same, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t compulsive, time-absorbing and – most of all – fun.
At best it’s an unoriginal concept well-executed, at worst it’s an Xbox 360 game hastily ported over to Xbox One. Ignore the technical limits, however, and you’re in for a good time.