The original Dead Rising game is what sold me on the Xbox 360 over the PS3 back in the day. When it was announced at E3 2013 that Dead Rising 3 was going to be released as an exclusive to Xbox One, I rushed out to the local GameStop and pre-ordered the system immediately. Dead Rising 3 was one of the only titles shown during the show that truly looked next-gen and wasn’t just some cross-gen upgrade.
Here is one final look at Xbox One’s most important exclusive before it launches next month!
Tools of the Trade
The hook of the Dead Rising games is that it throws players into a world densely populated by huge hoards of zombies and lets them use just about anything they can see in the environment as a weapon. Over the years and a few sequels and spinoffs after the first game, we’ve seen this basic concept improved upon repeatedly. Dead Rising 3 is not content to just rest on its laurels, however, and is instead taking everything to the next level while making sure the Dead Rising experience is as enjoyable and free of the annoyances that plagued previous entries.
In Dead Rising 2, we were introduced to the concept of crafting new weapons by combining two weapons together. Players had to carry the ingredients to these super weapons to workbenches in order to cobble them together, whereas the protagonist in Dead Rising 3, Nick Ramos, is able to combine weapons at any point in the game thanks to his profession as a mechanic. This keeps with the theme of the professions of the main characters being the source of a primary gameplay mechanic, like Frank West’s photo snapping skills.
Obviously, being able to craft weapons on the fly makes the game much more convenient than before. The original Dead Rising thrived on inconvenience and was actually a better game because of it and while Dead Rising 3 isn’t completely abandoning those philosophies (more on that later), it will make the game less stressful and easier for newcomers in numerous ways. Another way this is being accomplished is that all combo weapons created will always be available at the safehouse, which eliminates the need to constantly be hunting down and carrying around the weapons you’ve crafted throughout the game.
New weapons are being added to the mix to keep things fresh. While not a whole lot of these new weapons have been shown, at least some have been shown off by Capcom, including new weapons that are based on other Capcom franchises such as Street Fighter.
Like in previous games, killing enemies with crafted weapons will yield greater rewards for the player than if they just did their zombie slaying with the vanilla weapons available in the game. Players will be able to spend their XP, known as “PP Points” in Dead Rising 3, in any manner they see fit as they level Nick up instead of having their leveling choices made for them automatically like in the previous titles. Nick will even be able to be upgraded to the point that he can create powerful combo weapons away from the safehouse with substituted “ingredients”.
Since Nick is mechanic, he is bringing to the table his ability to customize vehicles. Vehicles will be a much bigger factor in Dead Rising 3 than they were in the previous games, and vehicles are actually getting a complete overhaul. The vehicles in this game will behave more similarly to vehicles in games such as Grand Theft Auto, where they can be found randomly in the street, hijacked, and then use to travel the zombie-infested city in which Dead Rising 3 takes place, unlike previously games where the very few vehicles only spawned in very specific parts of the game world.
We’ve seen a few different vehicle combinations that are possible to create through the various gameplay videos Capcom has released since Dead Rising 3 debuted at E3 last summer. These vehicles include a steamroller combined with a motorcycle that also shoots a flamethrower and an SUV outfitted with armor and a turret on top. The vehicle combinations range from the badass to the outright insane, and it’s going to be fun trying to figure out all the different possible combinations.
Vehicles that are created by players are also going to be accessed in a convenient manner. The safehouse in the game comes outfitted with a garage where combo vehicles will respawn if they are lost or destroyed.
In addition to all of this, players will have access to a variety of costumes like they have in the other Dead Rising games. Costumes will include hilarious mascot costumes and other outfits that will even appear in the cut-scenes just like in the older games.
Players will also be able to concoct various drinks and food by combining them using kitchen appliances such as blenders. These drinks will give players stat boosts, heal them, and even give them powers such as fire breath for a limited time.
I’ve already mentioned the primary protagonist in Nick Ramos, but a variety of other characters populate the story of Dead Rising 3 as well. Perhaps most notably is Nick’s co-op partner in the game, Dick.
Dick is a trucker that works at the same garage as Nick before the outbreak in Los Perdidos, California, where the game takes place. Dick takes the role of the co-op partner if someone joins your game online. In the past, co-op partners were just clones of Chuck or Frank, but Dick will actually appear in cut-scenes and is a main character in the game regardless of if someone is controlling him in co-op or not.
Other characters include Rhonda, Nick’s boss before the outbreak, who is captured early on by a violent biker gang. Annie is another character that will serve an important purpose in the story. She is infected with the virus but has refused to be on the government’s radar, effectively making her an “illegal”.
Dead Rising 3 takes place 10 years after the events of Dead Rising 2. In the time since the terrors at Fortune City, the government has done a major crackdown on the zombie threat by distributing Zombrex and enforcing the use of Zombrex amongst the infected population. They go as far as to keep track of infected persons with GPS trackers, and the United States has effectively used the zombies as an excuse to oppress society.
Capcom has promised that the plot of Dead Rising 3 will have a major connection to the other two games and create a more consistent franchise-wide narrative across all of the games. That being said, this tone and darker direction has worried fans that Dead Rising 3 has abandoned the goofiness that has been a part of defining Dead Rising in the past, but Dead Rising 3 will still be packing plenty of the silly, with a cheesy story and even cheesier characters. What more could a Dead Rising fan ask for?
Threats: Living and Dead
The bread and butter of Dead Rising is, of course, the zombies. Lots of zombies. A selling point of the franchise has always been the insane amount of zombies they’ve been able to fit onscreen with no lagging or slowdown issues. A few thousand zombies will crowd the screen in Dead Rising 3 with highly improved graphics, which will make it the most visually impressive Dead Rising game yet.
Zombies in Dead Rising 3 will be smarter than the creatures we’ve seen in the other versions of the game. The zombies will be attracted to noise, which can create problems for players at some points, but it can also be utilized to create possible distractions. Kinect will be utilized in this regard as noises made in the room that the game is being played in can also attract the undead hordes.
Ever since the first nightfall in the first game, players have known that zombies in Dead Rising games are, for whatever reason, far more aggressive once the sun goes down. This danger will return in Dead Rising 3, with the zombies presenting an even greater at night.
A trademark element in the Dead Rising series is the human threat. Yes, zombies are plenty dangerous by themselves, but they are not quite as threatening as the humans that have been driven insane by the zombie apocalypse. In the world of Dead Rising, these human enemies are known as Psychopaths.
One of the earliest Psychopaths encountered in the game will be Hunter. Hunter is the leader of the aforementioned biker gang that kidnaps Rhonda early on in the story. The fight with Hunter plays out in a fashion typical to Dead Rising boss fights. Nick (and Dick, if playing in co-op) will have to avoid Hunter’s deadly combo vehicle while also dealing with his biker lackeys. Defeating these Psychopaths will yield rewards besides just PP Points for leveling up; defeating Hunter will in turn allow Nick to recreate Hunter’s vehicle for his own use.
The primary focus when it comes to Psychopaths in Dead Rising 3 is the group of seven Psychopaths based on the Seven Deadly Sins. The only one that Capcom has revealed so far is Greed, a doctor driven insane by the zombie apocalypse that now harvests the organs of living people. It will be interesting to see how the other Psychopaths based on the Seven Deadly Sins factor into the situation and how they’ve been driven mad by the carnage around them.
Saving Los Perdidos
Earlier I mentioned that while Dead Rising 3 is being designed in a way to make it more accessible to newcomers, I also mentioned that Dead Rising 3 is going to be accommodating veterans of the franchise by allowing players to still experience the mechanics used to create tension and make the game harder in earlier entries.
These mechanics include forcing players to save in bathrooms and having a time limit on all their tasks. In the main gameplay mode of Dead Rising 3, players will be able to save whenever they want and they can complete the story at their own leisure. For those that want a stiffer challenge, there is Nightmare Mode.
Nightmare Mode basically makes Dead Rising 3 play like the older games. There will be a time limit on everything and players can only save in safehouses or restrooms. This mode can also be experienced through New Game+, because, as is tradition, players will be able to keep playing through the game, leveling up Nick and improving on his skills.
In either game mode, players will have a chance to rescue survivors. These survivors are typically optional to save. In the past, the survivors have been a burden to the player, but in Dead Rising 3, they will be much more helpful. Survivors can be given instructions to help thin out the zombies, for example, or even told to go on missions by themselves to look for supplies. What’s even cooler about this is that these survivors can be instructed to do this using Kinect voice commands.
* * *
Dead Rising 3 is an Xbox One exclusive. It will be a launch title, releasing alongside the system on November 22nd.