Dead Rising 3 is one of the Xbox One launch exclusives. The sandbox zombie series is bigger than ever with a whole city to explore. The game is solid, but has flaws here and there. Dead Rising 3 takes place a long time after DR2, which isn’t apparent right from the start.
You play as Nick Ramos, a Latino mechanic trying to escape from the zombie infested American city of Los Perdidos. Nick has to gather certain items and supplies to fix a plane and avoid getting caught in the military’s fire bombing, which happens in 6 days. That’s the skinny of the story.
DR3 is a decent launch title for the Xbox One. This game alone makes the Xbone’s launch better than the 360’s. Regardless, the game doesn’t really show what this system is capable of graphically, but not many launch games in the last two generations do. Compare any game launched from the 360 with say Halo 4… heck even Halo 3 to Halo 4. There is a whole resolution-Gate thing, but there’s no telling how the hardware will be dealt with in the coming years. The only next gen feature I see is the fact that the whole city is available with no load times.
DR3, in case you’re unfamiliar with the series, is a open, free roaming zombie killing third person shooter. It’s unique in that you can basically do anything and go anywhere, almost the GTA of zombie games. There are missions, but unlike the original two games, you don’t have a time limit on your main story missions. The only time limits are on your optional missions and on the total amount of time available (which is 6 days in game time).
You can combine different items to make more powerful weapons. This was introduced in DR2, but you needed a work bench. In this game you have to pick up blue prints and then you can combine items anywhere by holding the RB. You’ll need to reach a safe house (which is not the garage you end up in) which are on your map and sometimes need to be cleared out, because they are infested with Zombies. The green symbols are clear and the red symbols need to be cleared out. The safe houses have weapon lockers and closets. The weapon lockers can give you any weapon you’ve taken or created… yes that means combo weapons. There is a limit to it, especially in the much harder nightmare mode. The closets allow you to use any outfit you’ve worn. There are toilets in the safe houses and portapotties around that allow you to save, but in normal mode, you can save anywhere, only in nightmare mode do you start sweating when you can’t find a can.
Vehicles aren’t new to the series, but they are far more important in this game considering you have to get around a city, rather than a mall or casino. The blueprints for the previously mentioned weapons, work on the vehicles as well. Combo vehicles are awesome. The motorcycle-steamroller is among the most brutal and fun to use. You can use the garage’s work bench to spawn any vehicle made or ridden in before. The vehicles break over time just like the weapons, so keep an eye on whether you’re on fire or not. Zombie’s jump on the vehicles, so use your emergency brake to shake them off.
The bosses are a little more interesting in this game than before. There is a doctor that is harvesting people’s organs (non-optional) and you’re drugged up. The other victims turn into the doctor as part of your hallucination and you have to figure out how to tell between them. I was pretty impressed by this and a few other battles. There are other optional fights that are based on the Seven Deadly Sins (the doctor being Greed/Avarice… Larfleeze style). Overtime is the shortest I’ve ever seen. I won’t spoil anything, but it’s one mission and a boss fight. I remember DR1’s OT being really long. This isn’t a bad thing, because I was itching to get my unlockable costume for beating the game once, which I won’t spoil, look it up if you’re curious… it’s awesome.
There is some social/political commentary, but it never really gets preachy or anything. People have to get chipped with Zombrex chips, that keep them from turning if they are bitten. People who don’t get chipped are ‘illegals’ and inject manually. I can’t say too much about the Zombrex chips without ruining the plot, which is interesting, but has tongue and cheek humor at times. The only problems I’ve seen with the game is the loading and rendering. The load times are long, which got me ready to play Zombi U, which also has bad as loading times. We’re talking like a minute in some cases. As a Sega CD kid, this is something I’m no stranger to, but it is a little annoying. Zombi U is on inferior hardware, but this is on a beast Xbox One. The rendering is the real problem. I’ll be driving in the city and stop in my tracks. Then a median slowly appears. You will run into an invisible barrier at some time or another. How his was missed in testing is a mystery. Also there is no split screen co-op mode, which seems to be a thing on Xbone. A lot of people gave Mario 3D World negative commments for not being online, but this game being online-only is just as big of a flaw. Not that many people have Xbones. This needs to be nipped in the bud. At least Nintendo will keep the less privileged or socially gifted in mind so not everyone will have to buy the console just to buy multiple controllers sitting around.
In the end, Dead Rising 3 is a solid game, despite its flaws. There is a lot of freedom and has an identifiable protagonist who is just trying to do the right thing most of the time. The combo weapon system is better and the combo vehicles are amazing. The normal mode is more approachable with a nightmare mode for the more hardcore. For DR fans it will not disappoint, but may have a couple of annoying aspects for new comers to the series.