A few years ago I would have never even thought about playing any game with zombies in it minus a few exceptions. For a while it felt like the industry was plagued with the idea that every game needs to have zombies. The Dead Rising series has always been about zombie outbreaks but I just never had any interest in the series until now. I have played a little bit of the first game but never finished it. I recently jumped into Dead Rising 3 for Xbox One and was quite surprised at how much I did enjoy it. I know the game references events that happened in the first two games and it probably would have been a good idea to play those first but I didn’t.
Dead Rising 3 takes place in the fictional city of Los Perdidos, California and ten years after the events of Dead Rising 2. You play as a mechanic named Nick Ramos and I thought he was a pretty likeable guy. A zombie outbreak begins and to combat this the government plans to bomb the entire city in six days. This is essentially a way to time the player which is a staple to the series. Nick meets up with some other survivors and they develop a plan to escape the city by plane. But of course it won’t be that easy as the plane needs to be fixed up so Nick is sent on various missions to get the plane up and running. Along the way you will meet other survivors and unravel a conspiracy behind the zombie outbreak. The story here is nothing special but enjoyable and followed up by some decent voice acting.
This is an open world game and structured as such with plenty of freedom, side missions, and collectibles to find. The game world itself isn’t that big compared to games like Grand Theft Auto V or Skyrim but it’s filled with great detail and plenty of zombies to slaughter. One of coolest things about the Dead Rising series is how many zombies are on screen at once and it’s impressive to look at. Chopping, shooting, and slashing your way through a gauntlet of zombies is both fun and satisfying. You can find vehicles throughout the city that can be driven making travelling quicker and mowing down zombies easier. However, travelling back and forth between ends of the map becomes tiresome by the end of the game and even with better weapons and vehicles, a fast-travel system would have been nice. The vehicles handle like shit and with enough damage, they explode forcing you to traverse on foot or find another vehicle. Dead Rising 3 has some horrendous pop-in with objects and textures appearing mere seconds before you arrive. Since I played this on the Xbox One I have no idea if this was improved in the PC version.
A big focus of Dead Rising 3 seems to be the crafting system which is actually really cool. The best part is you can do this on the fly as long as you have the right items. In order to craft anything you need to find the blueprints which are scattered throughout the city. After finding a blueprint you will need to find the items for crafting and they always seem to be conveniently nearby. The crafting carries over to vehicles as well and Nick can find vehicle blueprints that allow him to create “combo vehicles” which are always more efficient than any of the standard vehicles found on the street. There are a ton of weapons to craft and I found myself frequently filling up my inventory with new weapons that I didn’t want to replace. The weapons will degrade and eventually break so it’s always a good idea to be stocked with multiple weapons. What’s ridiculous are the guns because they don’t actually degrade, they just run out of ammo causing them to break for some reason and even more annoying is that you can’t manually reload guns nor can you acquire ammo. When picking up or crafting the same gun it just takes up another inventory slot. It would be nice if it just increased the ammo. As you progress you will encounter more powerful zombies and by the end of the game zombies will be flooding the streets so having several crafted weapons equipped is a good idea. Another issue I have is with the melee combat and the fact that you can’t actually block any attacks and, instead, you must roll out of the way. I know Nick is only a mechanic but why he can’t block or reload a gun is mind boggling. Since you have six in-game days to complete the story there is a day-night cycle and during the night zombies become more aggressive but they didn’t really give me much of a problem, at least on the standard difficulty setting. There are several boss battles peppered throughout the story and they consist of the same strategy of rolling around the area dodging incoming attacks then striking back and I didn’t find them that tough to take down. Throughout the world you can find various clothing items and outfits allowing you to make Nick look as funny or badass as you want but, sadly, these are only cosmetic and do nothing for the gameplay which kind of sucks.
Throughout the game you will encounter various NPCs that will require assistance. Some of these are fun and others, not so much. Many side missions are just fetch quests which get old quick. Assisting NPCs will reward you with PP, blueprints, and even followers to help you. You can equip them with weapons and they have their own health and will die if you don’t protect them. Each safe house has a survivor board where you can select which survivors you want to follow you but if they die they’re gone for good. The followers can be helpful and the zombies can focus on another target other than Nick and if you’re trying to get somewhere quickly it’s good to have some backup. You will encounter random survivors throughout the city that are being attacked by zombies and require assistance. Once you are near one of these NPCs they appear as a waypoint. These are frequent and by the end of the game they become annoying. What’s amazing is these survivors usually have guns but can’t kill a single zombie.
Dead Rising 3 is not a ground breaking game by any means but it is a fun one. Slaughtering your way through hordes of zombies on the streets of Los Perdidos is both fun and satisfying. The standard difficulty shouldn’t give you much trouble and there’s plenty of reasons to replay including Nightmare Mode and unlocking the multiple endings. Sometimes the game felt repetitive, the boss battles aren’t that great, and the pop-in is atrocious. The world is detailed, the crafting is addicting, and the weapons are creative and fun to use. The story isn’t memorable and is what it is but if you like slaying zombies and open world games then I would highly recommend picking up Dead Rising 3.