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Dead Rising collection has it all
October 20, 2016
By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada
Released nearly a decade ago, the original Dead Rising displayed what the then current generation of consoles could be capable of. Hordes of undead shuffling on one screen with minimal performances hitches was a sight to behold in 2006 and undoubtedly turned heads.
Beyond its impressive technical prowess, laid a title with a lot of heart, despite some problematic design. The Dead Rising series has always struck me as inoffensive fun. Sure, there is a myriad of other triple-a titles on the market with tighter gameplay and a more weighty narrative, but sometimes plowing through a horde of zombies with a lawnmower while dressed in a tight fitting bikini is just what the doctor ordered.
Now available on the X-Box One and PS4, Dead Rising and Dead Rising 2 and the superfluous spin-off scenario Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, have risen again. Notably absent from the collection is the third installment in the series, Dead Rising 3. It is due to an exclusivity deal with Microsoft, so its omission is understandable.
Like most video games, Dead Rising hasn’t aged as gracefully as one would hope. Movement and combat both feel clunky, and the writing, while endearingly campy for the most part, can grate at times.
The distinctive seventy-two hour mechanic that helped establish the Dead Rising series is very interesting in 2016. Having an in-game clock slowly counting down to an inevitable finale does irrefutably create urgency but if that sense of urgency either enhances your gameplay experience or instead makes you frazzled, depends entirely on each players specific penchants. Something that almost every player can enjoy, however, is Dead Rising’s goofy story.
>The debut title in the series introduces us to the lovable, dopey journalist Frank West. After weaseling himself into a small Nevada in hopes of authenticating a tip her received, West discovers that the town in question has been engulfed in apocalyptic-like chaos. Looking to get the scoop on what’s going down, Frank seeks refuge in the Willamette Mall and begins his investigation. Rife with wacky characters and shadowy conspiracies, Dead Rising’s story is an amusing, comical jaunt. The game runs a little smoother thanks to the upgrade in frame rate and resolution, though it’s still unmistakably a decade old title.
The sequel, Dead Rising 2 introduces us to the divisively received Chuck Green, Frank West’s bruiting one note counterpart. Taking place in a casino/mall hybrid this time around, Dead Rising 2 ups the ante and adds some much needed polish to an existing formula.
Combat is deeper this time around and the ability to combine various items together in a crude, jury-rig like fashion makes for some memorable gameplay moments. Happen to have nails and a bat on your person? Why not combine the two for a deadly combination or perhaps you’d enjoy getting up close and personal? Well, grab yourself a pair of boxing gloves and some gasoline to unleash some literal fists of fury on the undead.
With this said, the main story in Dead Rising 2 looks to be slightly more touching than its humorous predecessor. Chuck’s daughter, Katy, has been infected with the same virus that’s plaguing Fortune City, the games location. To prevent Katy from turning, Chuck must periodically supply her with dosages of Zombrex.
Much like the first game, the player has seventy-two hours before the story auto-concludes. I appreciated the attempt at trying to make the player care about the protagonist but the constant Zombrex dosage reminders in tandem with the constantly decreasing in-game clock was a bit much for me. I felt as if the Zombrex fetch quests were using up precious in game time, thus forcing me to skip side missions. While the Zombrex fetch quests aren’t mandatory, major plot points alter if they’re missed.
Overall, Dead Rising 2 provided a better gameplay experience than the original but overwhelmed me more in doing so. It’s aged better than the original Dead Rising and is probably the best entry point for those looking to get into the series. With the exception of the frame rate has being upped to sixty, very little has been touched in regards to the make-up of the game.
Dead Rising 2: Off The Record is easily the weakest of the three. The “what if” scenario re-cast’s Frank West in the role of Chuck Green and slightly modifies plot points to make the alternate narrative work. Frank’s trademark camera makes a return, as well as some witty dialogue but it all feels disingenuous.
The Frank in Dead Rising 2: Off the Record feels like a parody of the original, thus losing what made him such a likeable character in the first place. His delivery feels forced and too self-aware. The locations, characters and missions are all identical. As stated before, some dialogue has been tweaked to reference Frank instead of Chuck, but it truly isn’t anything major. Not enough has been altered in Off The Record to warrant a play through.
For those who have yet to experience any Dead Rising title, playing through Dead Rising one and its sequel is well worth it. Granted you have a tolerance for jagged and aged design.
Dead Rising Triple Pack
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