All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely zombies. That's what Shakespeare would've said if he'd seen a zompocalypse. I'm sure of it. If he could've played Dead Rising, he might've understood what it means to be surrounded by hundreds of walking dead. Then he would've bitched about the save system, but until then, he'd be good.
As you've no doubt heard, you get to see (and kill) a lot of zombies in Dead Rising. I think the engine itself is capable of displaying up to a thousand on screen, and that's only where the fun begins. Pickup novelty heads to stick on zombies. Dress in all manner of costumes. Play out a 72 hour storyline full of standard Capcom cheese. Your character is a photojournalist, so you even have a way to use a camera in gameplay.
You're free to use a wide variety of hand to hand moves, melee weapons, and firearms, all of which can kill zombies in all degrees of efficiency. Although you get a lot of options for killing zombies, the combat system can at sometimes be annoying, requiring some quick timing and good practice to really excel at. Plus, human beings in cars suck to fight, much like they would in real life. Funny thing that. Moving on, one of the most brutal game elements is the save system. You get one save slot, and that's it. That means you can straight up lose the plotline at any point, requiring you to restart. At least you get to save your character progress, so you start out with a more powerful character after a clean start. Don't let this cynic steer you wrong though. These problems are problems, but man, they don't outweigh the sheer fun of chopping a zombie in two with a chainsaw.
The presentation of Dead Rising is close to being the best I've ever seen. Massive amounts of zombies, store shelves that are completely stocked with goods (the supermarket is especially impressive), and a creepy soundtrack frames the game well. Unfortunately, like most Capcom games, the voice acting and storyline, while not poorly delivered, seems at times laughable. If only they'd make a game that was a tad more serious or well designed, like their recent accomplishment in Resident Evil 4.
Dead Rising has merits and flaws, but for the most part they balance each other out. In the end, the game is pretty much fantastically fun and is worth purchase at full price.
Download Dead Rising
You're a down-on-your-luck photojournalist trapped in a mall with thousands of zombies. This, however, isn't a key-finding, herb-eating adventure. Grab a chain saw, golf club, potted plant, baseball bat--anything you can get your hands on--and send the living dead to their new linoleum-floor graves.
How was it?
Needing a lot of work before anyone can call it fun, that's for sure. I was excited by the concept: a beat-em-up game where everything you see (including the zombies themselves) is a weapon. And the Dawn of the Dead stuck-in-a-mall setting is straight out of a nightmare--perfect for a videogame. But everything's just plain ugly and clunky. Your character looks like the love child of Jay Leno and Grand Theft Auto Ill's nameless antihero, and the bland and lifeless stores aren't any fun to explore. It's hard to tell why this is a next-gen Xbox 360 game, other than seeing one stage that was filled with hundreds of zombies at once (that'll be the new gaming cliche for the next generation of games: hundreds of anything onscreen at the same time).
To be fair, the developers haven't yet figured out what they're going to do with the photojournalist side of the game. They're considering having you take pictures in a hunt for a virtual Pulitzer Prize, trade photos on Xbox 360's online marketplace, and more. Anything that would spice up the gameplay would be welcome.
Gainers today have become real know-it-alls at dealing with the undead: always aim for the head, burning them works like a charm, etc. Yep, we've gotten quite good at killing these things, which is why Dead Rising might just be a welcome change-up for survival-horror junkies. For starters, instead of a haunted mansion or a derelict fortress, this game drops you smack-dab in the middle of a zombie-infested mall. "Hopefully, gamers will start playing it, and when they start to see what it is--a more lighthearted sort of zany gorefest--they'll get a few chuckles out of it and walk away with a smile on their face," says Producer Keiji Inafune (who's also the brains behind another game on our Top 50 list, Lost Planet). Yet while the game trades screams for laughs, Dead Rising's main draw is that it allows you to use practically anything in this shopping complex--cash register, bench, umbrella, even a freakin' ficus plant--on these flesh-eaters. And that*s where this one changes the whole zombie-combat paradigm: spot a shotgun on the floor, but instead you grab the "Blue-Light Special" sign in front of a music store and bash a group of ugly SOBs to the ground. You'll find yourself running around, passing up effective weapons like a pistol because you know it's so much more satisfying taking out a zombie with, say, a shopping cart. As so many titles today try to scare the bejeezus out of us, it's a refreshing change of pace to see a game like Dead Rising that isn't afraid to poke fun at itself and offer countless (and often humorous) ways to slaughter the undead. Now, cross your blood-drenched fingers that the game-play here can match the variety in its weapons closet.