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Dead Rising 3 Review

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On 01/13/2014 at 12:00 PM by Chris Yarger

I got 53,594 problems and a zombie ain’t one!

A fun and entertaining game, although there are plenty of problems

As Sony and Microsoft battle it out for a new generation of consoles, the place where things are most crucial is with the exclusive titles. With both consoles on a somewhat level playing field, everything comes down to the games, and the Xbox One has a strong first showing with Dead Rising 3, a title that gives a good look at what the new machine can do while also highlighting some things that could be improved.

Sledge Hammer? Check.
Concrete Saw? Check.
Combine them for an amazing weapon? Oh hell yeah!

This is the absolute basic of all principles when it comes to surviving the desolate wastelands of Los Perdidos in Dead Rising 3; search, combine, and survive.

Dead Rising 3 takes place approximately 10 years after the events that unfolded in Fortune City in Dead Rising 2, with an all new protagonist taking control of the helm; Nick Ramos. Nick’s problem is that he’s stuck in Los Perdidos with only six days to escape before the government completely levels the city.

The game starts off with a fairly well paced tutorial, sticking Nick right in the middle of the action and hurt, leaving you to scrounge for food and a weapon. The story and action pick up rather quickly, but the learning curve for the game plateaus relatively fast.  This game won’t exactly tax your abilities, but that also means that you will never find yourself wondering how to accomplish something.

While Dead Rising 3 may be a new game to an entire new generation of consoles, you can rest assured knowing that Dead Rising 3 plays much like the previous two installments; a gigantic sandbox styled game featuring numerous stores with hundreds of items strewn around, survivors who need to be saved, psychopaths standing in your way, and that dreaded timer that silently ticks away the days. There are also plenty of collectibles scattered around the city, providing Nick with useful Weapon and Vehicle Blueprints, which are required to build those outlandish weapons and toys the series is known for.

The sprawling lands of Los Perdidos appear to be rather overwhelming at first glance, especially since you can tentatively go to any of the four islands at any given point. Once you learn the lay of the land, navigating to avoid larger zombie hordes is a breeze, even though you may decide to plunge head first into danger. Practically every building is accessible, and any building that seems open can be accessed in way one or another. Whether it’s through a window or roof opening, you can always find a way into a building that’s not completely boarded up, and if a door is locked, you are guaranteed to find the key later down the road.

The massive lands of Los Perdidos would be impossible to traverse efficiently though if it were not for the mass amounts of vehicles as well as the new combo vehicles that are introduced to the series.  Seeing how Nick was a mechanic before the outbreak, the combo vehicles make sense as a new addition to the franchise. With nearly a dozen combo vehicles available, each drove and handled as a unique entity as well having two distinctive attack modes available. Whether you were driving the flame blasting Rollerhawg or using the Forkwork’s nitro to impale zombies while shooting zombies down with fireworks, every combo vehicle truly felt unrivaled when compared to one another.

As you travel through Los Perdidos, you’ll encounter the age-old factor of all Dead Rising games; the survivors. The survivors have always been a rather sore spot for me, as they often felt more like a horrid babysitting mission as opposed to easily being able to escort them away to safety. There were numerous factors in Dead Rising 3 though that made this process significantly less painful though. For instance, the AI of the survivors as a whole felt completely overhauled. Improved pathfinding made it much easier to get them where they needed to go. There are now multiple safe houses to drop them off at as opposed to the single location in previous titles, which removes a lot of that old frustration.  If you really don’t want to mess with them you can simply drive off and they will find their own way to the nearest safe house, with no penalty to you as the player.

While exploring the town in search of survivors, collectibles, and battling those infamous psychopaths are all Dead Rising staples, they wouldn’t have the same impact without the ubiquitous race against the clock the series has always had. Instead of the rigid timetable from the first two games, Dead Rising 3 allows players more freedom to get things done. The only catch is that you now only have six in-game days to complete everything. That may sound like a strict time limit, but it I didn’t feel rushed. On my initial playthrough, I managed to kill all of the psychopaths, gathered nearly all of the collectibles, and saved each survivor, all while having a little over a day left on the timer before I finally finished the game.

Overall, the game played well, but there were some insidious flaws that stuck out like a well-lit fluorescent bulb in a dark room. A surprising amount of texture pop-in was frequent enough to become annoying, and marred an otherwise nice-looking presentation. The controls can be incredibly finicky when trying to pick up items, especially in a large group of enemies. There’s nothing like accidentally dropping a super-scythe-of-dismemberment-and-fire only to reach down and pick up a traffic cone instead. I also experienced a variety of frustrating bugs that ranged from performance issues to vital NPCs not spawning for crucial missions, forcing me to reload checkpoints.

Even though I had some issues with Dead Rising 3, I had a great time with it, despite obvious problems that could possibly be fixed further down the road. The humor and gameplay carried this game a long way for me, and constantly left me coming back for more. Whether I was hunting down blue prints for awesome combo weapons, or simply mowing down zombies with my Rollerhawg while wearing a banana hammock and sporting some classy pigtails, I was having an insatiable amount of fun. Given the fact that there is plenty of DLC lined up for this game, I can easily foresee myself revisiting the lands of Los Perdidos quite a few times down the road!

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.




01/13/2014 at 12:08 PM

Great review, told me everything I need to know and has put further questions into which console I'll get first, personally I didn't gel with the initial dead rising formula but this one has got my attention.

Chris Yarger Community Manager

01/13/2014 at 12:41 PM

Awesome, I'm glad you enjoyed the Review!

The game really was a lot of fun though, it just hiccuped every once and a while for me.


01/13/2014 at 01:13 PM

This is my type of mindless fun! Seems as if they fixed a lot of the "issues" with the first two games. (Well 3 games if you count Off The Record as its' own game too)

I'm glad they improved the survivor AI. But of all the improvements I think giving gamers much more time to get things done is one of the better additions. I HATE clocks and even though there's a tick-tock limit in DR3, it doesn't seem nearly as harsh.

Chris Yarger Community Manager

01/13/2014 at 01:29 PM

The clock isn't nearly as bad as the first two. You can pretty much do what you want, how you want. Although, I'm curious for of what happens if you do run out of time though.. I may have to investigate!


01/13/2014 at 10:58 PM

Roughly 8 weeks till Dark Souls 2, Chris. That is all.

Chris Yarger Community Manager

01/14/2014 at 05:54 AM

Trust me when I say that I'm very very very aware of that fact, lol


01/14/2014 at 07:07 AM

Great review Chris! When you said you had 53,594 problems, I immediately assumed that was how many bugs you encountered in the game lol. I never played Dead Rising. It sounds like it would be mindless fun.

Chris Yarger Community Manager

01/14/2014 at 07:28 AM

Actually, in the original Dead Rising, there was an achievement/trophy for killing 53,594 zombies. The number stems from the beginning of the game in which you see the sign for the town, stating a population of 53,594, which leads to the original protagonist essentially killing every resident if you were to hunt the achievement! The number has seemingly stuck with the franchise ever since! I just thought I'd insert a clever joke, lol

Super Step Contributing Writer

01/15/2014 at 08:13 PM

I thought it was the number of zombies the new consoles could process on the screen at a time. Glad you cleared that up, Chris. The More You Know ...

Justin Matkowski Staff Alumnus

01/14/2014 at 04:27 PM

Great Review Chris! One of the things that left me feeling iffy about DR3 was the seeming lack of weight behind character movement/interaction; especially after something like Dark Souls, which has a lot of physics/timing behind it, the gameplay on this looked as though it could feel a bit "floaty". Also, the random weapon breaking felt a little gimmicky to me, as opposed to actual wear and tear and breakage that would happen to a weapon, but that's just me.

Chris Yarger Community Manager

01/15/2014 at 06:37 AM

Looking back on it retro-actively, there does seem to be a bit of weight and momentum behind Nick's movement now that I think about it...

And the weapons still break. Fortunately, you can easily time it by watching the display box in the bottom corner of the screen and dispose of the weapon before the recoil hits you!

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