Dead Rising 3: A Trio of Amazing Features
Three specific things left me craving the Xbox One launch game.
Whenever my parents would drag me to a Home Depot as a child, I had to use my imagination in order to stave off death-by-boredom. My fantasy of choice always seemed to revolve around how I would react if the massive warehouse were to be suddenly overrun by zombies. What aisle would I choose to fortify? What makeshift weaponry would I add to my arsenal? Which of my fellow shoppers would make a strong addition to my newfound crew?
Yeah, I was a weird kid, but that’s not the point. The point is, my imagination was entrenched in a survival horror sandbox game long before those words the video game vernacular. Lo and behold, Dead Rising 3 looks like it’s shaping up to be a fantastic realization of my childhood daydreams. I got a chance to sit in on a 30 minute demo of Capcom’s Xbox One launch title, and to be perfectly honest, I kind of fell in love. Here are the three reasons why.
Choose Your Own (Zombie) Adventure
A lot of Dead Rising fans were a bit worried after seeing the demo Microsoft showcased back at E3, and rightfully so. Our first look at DR3 pointed towards a game that shrugged off all of the madcap, zany elements that gave the series its unique voice in favor of a more gritty and “realistic” approach to survival horror. Well, I can safely put those fears to rest: Dead Rising 3 looks to be every bit as silly and over the top as its predecessors, but only if you choose for it to be.
You can also choose to play through the story in a no-pressure sandbox mode, or go back to the nerve-wracking schedule of DR1 in Nightmare Mode. If you want a somber horror experience free from wacky hijinks, you can have that. You can play the game as the straight hero, and honestly, it seems like that route could provide an interesting addition to “serious” zombie games like The Walking Dead and Resident Evil. But thankfully, that’s not the only option. During the demo, our new hero Nick put on a full-bodied shark mascot costume, plopped some traffic cones on the heads of a few unfortunate zombies, and then proceeded to hack them to bits using a newly-crafted flaming sword. If that doesn’t sound like Dead Rising, I don’t know what does.
Second Screen Smarts
Anyone who watched the E3 demo saw the climax where the player used a smartphone to call in an airstrike and completely eviscerate a shambling mass of zombies. But what Microsoft and Capcom didn’t highlight was the fact that the second screen functionality of DR3 actually exists within the world of the game, and is capable of delivering experiences far more interesting than death from above. Early on in the game, Nick finds a fancy government phone on the body of a dead agent. At this point, the player can link his or her actual phone to the game, meaning that when Nick gets a call, your phone will ring and you can actually listen to the incoming message. Kids, we have officially entered the future.
Of course, there are also standard features like map integration, but even these have some really cool twists. At any point, you can scroll through the app on your phone and tap on what you need at that given moment. Want to find the closest weapon depot? Click the icon, and a marker will appear in the game that points you in the right direction. In desperate need of health? Tap the icon, and suddenly the in-game world will glow with various sources of sustenance. I’m still not entirely sold on the general concept of "the second screen experience," but interesting implementations like this are starting to get me hyped.
All of the Graphics
Yep, you read that correctly. All. Of. The. Graphics. Well, not all of them, but damn does Dead Rising 3 look good. The amount of zombies on screen at any given time is insane (at E3, one member of the team told us that the game has, “a kajillion of them”), and driving a speeding hearse through the crowd without so much as a hiccup makes me (almost) excited to empty my bank account come this fall. It’s one of those things that immediately jumps out and shows the sort of gameplay experiences that are going to capable on this new generation of hardware.
Aside from the shockingly high number of zombies on screen, the other impressive technical aspect of DR3 is the fact that once you’re in the game, you won’t see a loading screen. At no point throughout your traversal of Los Perididos will you have to put down your controller and wait. You can pop in and out of buildings, go scurrying through the sewers, and drive from downtown to the ritzy sunset hills without ever being pulled out of the game. The fact that I can tackle all of Dead Rising 3's Psychopaths (yep, they're back) without a load screen sounds wonderful to me. If only that bored, imaginative kid wandering around Home Depot knew what he’d be getting into some 15 years later.