Dead Rising 3, one of the big exclusive launch titles for the Xbox One has the unfortunate side-effect of an inflated sense of importance. Sadly, it lives up to little as a display for a next-generation title. A slew of technical issues and some of the poorest storytelling and writing I have had the displeasure of enduring hold what is an otherwise great open-world experience back from meeting its original promise.
Dead Rising 3 tells the story of a local mechanic by the name of Nick Ramos who is held up in San Perdidos a few days after a massive outbreak of a zombie virus. Taking place years after the events of Dead Rising 1 and 2, 3 retains many story devices including the ridiculous bees that started the infection and a host of new and absurd additions that make the story as unbelievable as ever. The issue with 3 is that it cannot decide on what it is. It is silly and stupid at some points, requiring players to gather sexy male zombies for a gay porn scene, or helping a hot dog vendor make a mega-dog. On the other hand, the scenes in the main story depict a dire situation, Nick fights to gain a way out of the city for his friends, sadly his friends aren’t worth saving in the least. Each one has a more grating personality than the next. With Nick himself feeling like a pushover errand boy and each of his friends one dimensional.
The psychopaths, one of the series trademarks are at their weakest. Every boss fight is easy and through my entire play-through of the game I never died once, the challenge presented in the original is entirely gone from the series in the base single-player mode. All subtlety is lost and each psychopath represents the tonal issues in the game. In the open world it is grim and dark and despite combo weapons and silly outfits the game still retains a much more somber tone compared to 1 and 2. The psychopaths on the other hand are all absurd, most are overtly sexual beyond the point of discomfort, others are racist or sexist or just downright poorly written and cringe-worthy.
The story chugs along, making up 7 chapters, each worse than the next. The missions, whether they are side content or part of the main path are almost entirely fetch quests. Every one involves meeting a survivor, getting some trivial item for them and then having them join you as a follower. Do this about 40 times and that is every side-quest in the game, it becomes grating to the point where I ended up purposely avoiding the little blue diamonds indicating quests altogether. This cycle continues over the course of 10-15 hours.
Where Dead Rising 3 is at its best and makes the game a worthwhile experience as a whole is when you are free to explore, to gather combo blueprints, Frank Statues, Tragic Endings and general make your own fun. This is where Dead Rising excels and is ultimately worth early adopters time and money. The world is larger than the last two games combined and has no loading screens except a long front load similar to Naughty Dog games and Grand Theft Auto. Sadly the game may have benefited from loading times between areas, as texture pop-in is some of the worst I have seen in a game. Entire rooms and areas will have no skins whatsoever and walls and buildings will materialize in front of you. Luckily this applies mostly to when a player has just driven a vehicle, sadly this is something you will do often. Visually the game looks has strong moments but compared to other next-gen titles it only has the large amount of zombies onscreen to account for feeling next generation.
Combo weapons are back and as absurd as ever, making them the most varied and exciting they have been in the series. In fact, I would say that as bad as the story content is, players really should only play and collect blueprints and kill zombies to their hearts contents until the generous time limit runs out. Then afterwards, players can do it all over again in new game plus. Kinect makes an appearance, to Dead Rising 3’s detriment. With the integration being poorly explained and active at all times, making players clothing randomly change back to the base coveralls and calling zombies to their location unbeknownst to themselves.
Dead Rising 3 suffers from awful storytelling, strange tonal shifts and poor quest design. Luckily for gamer’s buying Microsoft’s new console, the world is interesting and the meat and potatoes of combat and crafting combos is the best it has ever been. Technical issues mar the immersion of an otherwise detailed world but killing 1000 zombies in 15 seconds with a combined steam roller and hog motorcycle can still provide a a satisfying experience despite its slew of issues.
+Fun base gameplay
-Entire story experience
-Side quests are shallow
-Vast technical issues
-Poor Kinect integration