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Dead Rising 3 - hands on

19 Nov 2013

With some of the embargo’s lifted on upcoming Xbox One titles, techday grabbed the nearest blunt object and jumped into Dead Rising 3.

Many of you are familiar with the series, but for the uninitiated we’ll make this quick.

The original Dead Rising game was an Xbox 360 original and one of the first titles that made you feel that this type of game couldn’t be achieved on the original Xbox.

After a sequel, Dead Rising 3, is launching as an Xbox One exclusive and a ’day one’ release.

The third instalment is set in a LA quarantine zone called ‘Los Perdidos’ and is set after the initial outbreak of the other titles.

The area of Los Perdidos is an absolute mess as you would expect but it is visually stunning, with the area separated into four sections and connected via highways and subways – but all are crawling with the un-dead.

The original game shocked me with the sheer numbers of the un-dead horde you faced and the Dead Rising 3 holds true to this aspect of the game.

The moment your character Nick Ramos accidently fires up a generator and flood lights spring on you are greeted with a large horde of zombies behind a steel fence all groaning and moaning to get a piece of you – this is made all the more impressive with the new use of lighting effects that are now available on the Xbox One and the shadows growing on the walls provide great details.

Let’s get back to Nick Ramos – he’s your run of the mill nice guy mechanic who is trapped inside Los Perdidos but it is not all doom and gloom.

Since the first two games humans have now learnt to live with the un-dead and people who are infected can be treated with a drug called ‘Zombrex’ to stop them turning ‘full-zombie’. As you would expect the supply of the drug is controlled by the government. Sounds great at first, but starts to wear thin as the game plays out.

With the game set inside a quarantine zone most or your knowledge and insight into the bigger story comes from TV reports within the game.

Once you are familiar with the game, Nick is given an array of tasks and objectives and most try to navigate Los Perdidos from point A to B before the time is up. This aspect of the game never seems to get old and Dead Rising 3 does what it always does and makes you think creatively about crossing through swarms of zombies.

A noticeable improvement over the first two titles is the ability to pick up weapons. In the past you had to scavenge for weapons, which will inevitably break after cracking open a good few skulls.

This aspect is still here, but the array of weapons is more varied in Dead Rising 3 and you can use anything from a traffic cone to a samurai sword to go about your business. Also the ease in which you can find weapons has been improved and for me it is a big bonus as you do not have to stash your good weapons for when you stumble across a ‘boss’.

You are also able to visit Nick’s garages and safe-houses along the way and customize your weaponry and pick up vehicles to make your way across the map.

The improvements keep coming in Dead Rising 3 whether it is the graphics and landscape or the sound effects and customisation, but there has to be a downfall somewhere and this seems to happen when you take on one of the many bosses.

These guys seem to repeat the same dialogue again and again and some you just cannot dodge their attacks – even from long range.

Also for a next-gen title the side missions are quite thin and your side characters do not hold up well. They often stand there or run around and get in your way whilst fighting one of the many bosses and there are also crazy prompts flashing up over the screen – not as clean or as streamlined as you might be expecting from the next generation of gaming.

As Dead Rising 3 is an Xbox One exclusive let’s look at how it showcases the new system. The graphics are highly improved over the previous console but the game only runs in 720p compared to other 1080p day one releases and even at this display has the occasional frame-rate dip. The close-ups and cut scenes have been made well, while the landscapes and lighting are greatly improved and open up Los Perdidos. The game engine does itself proud as you face wave upon wave on zombies – especially in Nightmare Mode.

The game also utilises the new Kinect and you can tell Nick to perform tasks and attract zombies, as well as picking up motion from the controller in order to shake off zombies.

For me, Dead Rising 3 has the playability of GTA. You’re often on your way to complete a mission when you get distracted by survivors or curiosity gets the better of you and you just need to see what’s down an alley.

The single player will not take long for hard-core gamers to complete, but the co-op and multi-player will give you extra hours of zombie-slaying fun. It is worth mentioning that in co-op mode you get to use a character called Nick, who in the single-player mode just hangs around the safe houses waiting in case somebody wishes to join you and take part in the game. Also if a friend joins you in your game any XP and rewards they earn can be transferred to their own game –which is pretty cool.

Overall not a bad game but not a truly great game, it does however show off some of the features of the Xbox One and gives us an insight of what to expect from future releases.

Verdict 7.5 out of 10

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