6 Great Things About Dead Rising 3 (and Two Notable Flaws)

By Kyle LeClair in Daily Lists, Video Games
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 6:00 am

2. An Emphasis On Exploration And Collectibles

You know, that wide variety of domiciles and shops isn't going to check itself out. And likewise, that talking axe isn't going to craft itself; you're gonna need blueprints, you know. So like peanut butter and chocolate, our huge L.A. expy comes complete with a wide variety of collectibles for you to hunt for. Weapons and vehicle blueprints, commemorative Frank West statues, propaganda-spouting Zombie Defense Control speakers, tragic deaths (more on that in a moment), and even app upgrades for those willing to play this game with an additional tablet via SmartGlass are all out there just waiting for you to stumble across them.

Whether you need more methods of spreading undead entrails all over the place or just more Prestige Points to help you level up and gain more skills, Los Perdidos is willing to serve you. So get on out there, explore that beast, and enjoy a little touch of replayability as well (especially if you're an obsessive 100% completionist, which I admit to falling into at times...).

1. Still Full of Black Humor

So amongst the first things that many gamers - myself included - said when Dead Rising 3 was revealed was "GAAAAAAH WHY IS SO DAMN BROWN GAAAAAAH WHERE'S ALL THE HUMOR DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT EFFIN' CALL OF DUTY YOU HAVE RUINED DEAD RISING FOREVER FUCK YOU CAPCOOOOOOOOM" Or, you know, something to that effect. And I'm assuming that Steve From Marketing has been brutally flogged since then as punishment for making such a mistake during the E3 presentation, because Capcom has been trying their hardest since then to assure us that yes, the wackiness is still present. And thankfully, it is!

Well, the setting has indeed changed...mind you, there was no way of topping the neon-soaked playground that was Fortune City (and the Off the Record re-release only made DR2 even more zany), but the visuals now seem to suggest something more along the the lines of a Left 4 Dead-style black humor vibe, with lived-in areas and graffiti abound amidst a slightly darker atmosphere. And then you enter a porno shop dressed as a luchador, wielding a bomb made out of an afro, where you then descend into an S&M dungeon to fight a personified sin that wields a flamethrowing penis gun, and that is a moment where you gleefully realize "Yep, this is still a Dead Rising game!" Good ol' twisted zaniness!

The Not-So-Great Bits

2. It Definitely Still has Some Tonal Issues

...That being said about the game retaining its humor, though, you can't avoid the fact that yeah, the general tone is still a little darker in this installment, which leads to some awkward clashes. And no example of this is probably better than the game's "Tragic Ending" collectibles, which chronicle the fates of the Los Perdidos citizens who weren't lucky enough to be wielding sledgehammers with cement saws attached to them when the zombies struck. So imagine this: You stumble across a dead woman in a bathtub with a..."massager" beside her. You investigate the body, sad piano music plays, then a caption appears saying "Sometimes it's better not to ask!" So...wait, am I supposed to find that funny, or not? Is "tragic" a bit of sarcasm here? I'm confused.

Even the zombie hordes fall victim to this trope sometimes. When you encounter a particularly large one, the thumpa-thumpa synth kicks in and Nick begins cursing in fear. Good for setting the stage early on...not so much when it still kicks in during your 86th horde, where again, you're dressed up as a luchador wielding a puke gun this round, and have advanced twenty or so levels to boot.

And let's not not get started on some of the game's story aspects. Like previous games, the story is still giddily played straight in contrast to the world around it, but now awkward commentaries on the government's invasion of privacy, Sarah Palin, and the treatment of immigrants (there's a resistance group hunted by the government simply called "The Illegals", fer crissakes) seem to have been awkwardly squeezed in. I'd make a joke about how this is beyond ham-fisted...except actually strapping a ham to dinner cart to create a ramming device is how you make one of the game's Combo Weapons. Go figure.

1. A Decrease In Difficulty

Okay, so there's no denying that the ability to craft weapons wherever and whenever you want in Dead Rising 3 is insanely useful, as is the ability to summon vehicles at will and survivors to fight by your side. Not to mention there's no denying that survivors being able to head back to safe houses on their own is an asset as well. But similarly and sadly, there's also no denying that these assets tend to lessen the challenge at times. All the larger zombie hordes and different types of undead this time around can't cover up the fact that things are slightly easier.

Not to mention the fact that the time-based missions and ability to save only in certain areas (said areas being crappers) have also been banished as well after numerous gamers complained about them being an annoyance, now existing only in the game's "Nightmare Mode", which also includes tougher zombies and psychopaths. And I consider it a sad commentary on how much "casual" gaming's tentacles (or what an executive would consider to be "casual" gaming, mind you) have dug their way into the industry when what was once considered the norm for difficulty in these games just three years ago now has to take a backseat and be re-labelled as "Nightmare Mode."

And don't blame Capcom for this one, folks. You all whined about the time-based missions, the save points, and the escorts, so you only have yourselves to blame when Capcom actually grants your wishes. Monkey's paw here, dammit.

(And yeah, sorry again that the video doesn't have much to do with the game's difficulty, but capturing an example of it all in five minutes or less is a tad tricky.)

So in the end, is Dead Rising 3 worth getting an Xbox One for?...Well, in the end I'd have to say that on its own, no, it probably isn't. What it is, though, is just an incredibly damn fun and enjoyable game definitely worth playing. So if you do get an Xbox One, this should instantly be one of the first games (if not the first) you get for it. Even with the occasional issues concerning tone and challenge, it's a true blast that is indeed worthy of the Dead Rising name, so I heartily recommend checking it out when you can.

And of course, I hope you enjoyed our little video experiment as well; it was definitely fun to try out. If you have any suggestions concerning it or would like to see more in future lists/reviews, just let us know in the comments. And so I eagerly await your snark about it all...

Previously by Kyle LeClair:

The Six Greatest Virtues and Two Worst Sins of Saints Row IV

Seven Ways To Make A Better Deadpool Game

The 11 Best New Sixth-Generation Pokémon

The 10 Most Kickass and Kid-Friendly Modern Downloadable Video Games

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