Dead Rising 3 review: dead end

Dead Rising 3 offers more zombie-killing with cool new combo weapons/vehicles and a much bigger world. Unfortunately, a bigger world doesn't necessarily prove to be a better experience.

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Like any AAA sequel, Dead Rising 3 is a bigger game: the world is more expansive, the weapons hit harder, and the zombies more plentiful than ever. Unfortunately, bigger isn't always better, as Dead Rising 3 is crushed by the weight of its ambitions, making it inferior to the other games in the series.

Dead Rising 3 builds upon the series' greatest strength: building over-the-top weapons. Blueprints are scattered throughout the world and they'll often be surrounded by the required ingredients, meaning you'll no longer have to worry about finding a workbench to show off your crafting prowess. Combo weapons can be devastating instruments, like the combination grenade/sledgehammer and lawn rake/car battery, or they can be delightfully destructive novelties, like a teddy bear/light machine gun that can be used as a sentry turret. Because the zombie numbers are increased so much more this time around, Playing with combo weapons is especially satisfying given how large the zombie hordes are.

In addition, Dead Rising 3 now allows for combo vehicles, quickly (and unbelievably) mixing two vehicles into a weaponized monstrosity. While this is a fun idea, many of the customizable cars are locked away behind the character leveling system, requiring attribute points to gain access. Sacrificing valuable resources for a cooler ride doesn't seem worth it, especially when the one combo vehicle you get as part of the story is more than sufficient.

Combo weapons and vehicles have cleverly been built around the new open-world premise, as they can be accessed through weapons lockers and garages scattered throughout the city. While this is a great way to freshen up on inventory, there also aren't very many locations where you can take advantage of this. Each sector of the city will feature safe house locations that can be cleared out to grant new weapon lockers, but their scarcity means you may not find yourself with much opportunity to take advantage of them.

The story picks up with a whole new zombie outbreak in the city of Los Perdidos, where a mechanic named Nick Ramos and his party must escape the quarantined city before it gets wiped off the map with a bomb. Unfortunately, the size of the world often works to the game's detriment. Many times, you'll try to trigger the next story-based mission or a specific side mission only to find that the next objective takes you to a sector on the opposite side of the map. This means you'll spend more time driving across town than actually engaging in anything meaningful, while popping up the map every five seconds in hopes that you don't get lost. And because of the nature of the story, many of the roads are barricaded, meaning that you'll drive down one path only to find it closed off, either requiring you to run through hundreds of zombies or turn around to drive down an alternate path. Either way, it's an incredibly time-consuming and tedious idea that becomes an increasingly integral part of the game. You'll often get calls for side missions, which involve fetch quests or psycho boss battles, but will rarely want to take part in them because they're so far away. The end game scenario, in particular, overuses the idea of driving from opposite sector to opposite sector so much that the game starts to feel like it's dragging out its conclusion with nothing of substance.

And because traversing through the giant world is a requirement, expect to see a lot of quick-time events once zombies inevitably get their undead hands on you. Dealing with an occasional "X" or "B" button prompt is fine, but Dead Rising 3 also takes advantage of one of the Xbox One controller's new features: the gyroscope. Unfortunately, it's one of the game's most unwelcome new ideas, as one specific QTE will require you to shake the controller when prompted. It's aggravating to have to shake your controller so many times and that's without mentioning that the gesture won't register some of the time. It becomes much worse when the QTE pops up while driving, as you'll wind up slamming into a wall while trying to escape the zombie horde.

The size of the world also helps somewhat compromise the original Dead Rising story structure. Whereas before you were racing against time in a shopping mall or in the streets of Fortune City, the massive size of Los Perdidos doesn't really lend itself to a timed mission. For that reason, Dead Rising 3's Story Mode removes the countdown clock to allow for the narrative to play out entirely, which somewhat removes a lot of the tension that the originals offered. A Nightmare Mode option allows players to play with the original Dead Rising countdown clock rules intact, but because of the many roadblocks (both figurative and literal) involved in traversing the city, trying to finish in a timely manner is more stressful than fun. Capcom tries to throw an olive branch to two types of players, those wanting the story and those wanting the tension of the first two games, and falls short trying to appease them both.

Ultimately, Dead Rising 3 lives up to certain aspects of the series. Going MacGuyver on weapons and vehicles remains as fun as it's ever been and there's still satisfaction in finding new and creative ways to dispatch the undead. It even tosses in some keen Kinect voice functionality, as I could call over zombies or change back into my default outfit on command. Unfortunately, the novelty of the much-larger Los Perdidos quickly wears off, especially if you cruise down a street with a sports car only to watch the framerate chug as it frantically tries to load in hundreds of zombies. Capcom Vancouver shot for a much larger world and, in the end, that idea wound up taking away from the overall experience. In the case of Dead Rising 3, I feel like less would have been more. [6]


This review is based on early downloadable Xbox One code provided by the publisher. Dead Rising 3 will be available on Xbox One at retail and downloadable on Xbox Live for $59.99. The game is rated M.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty

  • reply
    November 18, 2013 6:00 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Dead Rising 3 review: dead end.

    Dead Rising 3 offers more zombie-killing with cool new combo weapons/vehicles and a much bigger world. Unfortunately, a bigger world doesn't necessarily prove to be a better experience.

    • reply
      November 18, 2013 6:35 AM

      Eh, sad to hear they didn't fix the framerate issues that seem to have plagued this game through development. Any word if there is a day-one patch to help?

      • reply
        November 18, 2013 10:04 AM

        No word yet. Framerate shouldn't be too big an issue, unless you're trying to blaze through a city quickly, because it looked clean in many other parts of the game, like in a zombie-infested safe house.

      • reply
        November 20, 2013 9:48 AM

        "This review is based on early downloadable Xbox One code provided by the publisher." I bet the frame rate issues are fixed for launch plus the always fun day-one mandatory console update!

        • reply
          November 20, 2013 10:17 PM

          Unlikely the framerate will be fixed for launch. The code we're playing is what you'll be able to download on Xbox Live on day one. We just have early access to it. Also, the "day one" update has been on our consoles already.

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            November 20, 2013 11:15 PM

            Giant Bomb video didn't have any frame rate issues, except apparently one block in one area. I'll just skip that side quest thank you very much :)

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      November 18, 2013 6:35 AM

      Ouch.... 6.

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        November 18, 2013 6:57 AM

        Most sites seem to say it's flawed but fun/good, Shack has probably given it the lowest score so far. But I guess the 6 score does mean flawed on the Shack.

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          November 18, 2013 10:08 AM

          that's how I would characterize most of this series. Never as good as they could/should be but fun enough, especially when zombies were less played out.

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      November 18, 2013 6:37 AM

      the one xbone exclusive i was mildly interested. oh well. glad i decided to hold off on jumping into the "next gen".

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        November 18, 2013 9:23 AM

        It's one review site. Go look at metacritic.

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          November 18, 2013 9:54 AM

          Yea, on metacritic it's actually doing better than any PS4 disc-based exclusive so far. (Resogun is 4 points higher).

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            November 18, 2013 10:05 AM

            because resogun is THE FUCKING SHIT

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      November 18, 2013 6:49 AM

      Are you sure there's a gyroscope in the controller? I thought that it used the kinect to determine when you move your controller.

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        November 18, 2013 6:53 AM

        There is no gyroscope. It uses kinect.

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          November 18, 2013 10:02 AM

          Yes, I stand corrected here. The Kinect does function in cases that require gyroscope or accelerometer-like functionality.

          My point still stands, though. This QTE was very annoying and I sincerely hope this isn't the "next-generation of quick-time events."

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      November 18, 2013 8:51 AM

      Yikes, this was the only exclusvie XBone launch game I was interested in.

      Already got all the good multi-platform games on the PC and PS4.

      May be time to cancel preorder!

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          November 18, 2013 12:02 PM

          IGN and Game Informer loving it doesn't really inspire any confidence.

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            November 18, 2013 12:54 PM

            Eurogamer? Lol. The fact remains this is the lowest score on metacritic (atm.) I'm not sure what that means, but if we judged every game by its worst review there would be a whole lot of "yikes".

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              November 18, 2013 1:08 PM

              It's getting some really middling reviews man. Eurogamer called it the weakest in the series. The first two weren't even that good!

              Ryse looks like garbage. I don't like fighting games or racing games, so Killer Instinct and Forza are insignificant to me. I don't want the Walmart game.

              I don't know, the XB1 lineup just looks so weak now. Like I said, I have all the multi platform games I would have gotten on the One (NFS, Ass Pirates, Lego Marvel) If the XB1 had come out first, I would have probably have gotten some games for it. But Sony beat them to the punch at a hundred bucks less.

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            November 18, 2013 6:36 PM

            Ditto for The Globe and Mail (who seems to the new go-to reviewer for box-quote-bait softball review scores)

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      November 18, 2013 8:52 AM

      Whoa, Shacknews is on metacritic, I forgot about that. This is very exciting!! :D

      http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-one/dead-rising-3/critic-reviews

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      November 18, 2013 10:08 AM

      As long as there is no timer, I'd have some fun with this. Hated that in the first two games!

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        November 18, 2013 10:15 AM

        Story Mode has no timer, so you'll be good to go there.

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          November 18, 2013 10:37 AM

          Ozzie, If you like Ryse better than DR3, DO NOT REPLY TO THIS POST.

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          November 18, 2013 10:39 AM

          0unce, are you telling me the game ... does not 0wn?

      • Ziz
        reply
        November 18, 2013 1:11 PM

        Since the first one I wanted a open world zombie game, where ya got to try and hold up in places and barricade doors etc.