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Dead Rising 3 Review

Cart: Dead Rising 3
Cab: Xbox One
Coin: Capcom

Dead Rising 3, as the first next-gen review here at VoxelArcade, has a lot to live up to. The critical and commercial success of its predecessors, the pressure of being one of the first Xbox One exclusives, and the need to wow an audience that has become so accustomed to the visual capabilities of the previous generation.

The result is a strange mix. Hideously long load times sandwich gorily over the top open world play that never quite hits its peak. The game is about mowing down endless hordes of zombies, and it does succeed at that in a big way. You can kill the undead halfwits with just about any implement you can dream up, using hundreds of tools to hand.

You can lay waste to vast hordes of zombies with basic weapons, and very rarely feel threatened, which does make the world seem a bit askew; after all, if they are this easy to kill en mass, why isn’t everyone doing this? How on Earth are these slow, witless creatures able to kill anyone?

The game has a muddy look that never goes away

The game has a muddy look that never goes away

Such questions are well answered by the game’s excellent Nightmare mode, which is the only real way to play Dead Rising 3. The zombies feel like a real threat, and the game actually feels much more like a survivor horror rather than an arcade blast. The simple removal of the ability to save anywhere helps in this mode, if only to avoid another loading screen, which is I hope not a sign of things to come on Xbox One, and is hopefully limited to this title.

The story is weak. The main character thinks he is in a zombie movie, which seems like a nice conceit, but it is poorly handled with inconsistencies that just remind you that you are playing a zombie game. In terms of atmosphere, this is no Zombi U or The Walking Dead, but is more like Serious Sam mixed in with Plants Vs Zombies. Silly but fun.

The crafting is well done, and a worthy addition. However when it really doesn’t matter, outside of Nightmare mode, what you use to kill the zombies, the crafting aspect does tend to fall by the wayside and you just end up grabbing whatever is to hand. There are other survivors dotted around, and you can team up with them and take them with you through the campaign. I wouldn’t. You know the worst kind of ‘getting in the way’ AI companions? They are all like it here, and playing with them is incredibly frustrating, especially when you compare it to the brilliant coop mode.

Still as fun as ever

Still as fun as ever

 

Graphically, this is a big letdown. Yes, it is amazing to see countless zombies on-screen in what is an impressive vision of a zombie apocalypse, but the frame rate has trouble keeping up with proceedings. Aside from the impressive body count, the visuals are largely the same as last gen, which is something I find incredibly disappointing.

However, I was impressed by the open world, which although no better looking than any other from the last five years, does have the zombie element added to it. In Nightmare mode, surviving in this undead-infested land is brilliant fun, especially with a coop partner. I would love a darker, more brooding atmosphere to go with this, as it could have been the zombie game we have all been waiting for.

Overall, this is a tough one to call. If you are looking for a next generation Xbox One game to blow you away, then look elsewhere as this game is most certainly not it. If you want a top-notch cooperative open world romp with bag loads of humour, and you can put up with the average visuals and lack of real threat from the enemy, then this might be worth your time. Personally, this is the definitive ‘wait until it is cheaper’ title, and not anything more than that.

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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.

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