First Impressions: They're coming to get you, Barbara?
Zombie games have been a mainstay of the console scene for the last five to ten years. The style may be different from time to time, but the walking dead are truly multiplatform individuals. There's been Resident Evil
's ever-evolving survival horror, House of the Dead
's pop-up shooting, and even the new Stubbs the Zombie
, which looks to turn the convention of fighting zombies on its ear. All this being said, there's always room for one more, especially when that ?one? looks to be the first Zombie game on a next-generation platform. Enter Dead Rising
for the Xbox 360.
Basically, Dead Rising
puts you in the middle of the giant Willamette Mall as photojournalist Frank West. Stranded in the shopping mall (ala Dawn of the Dead, both versions), Frank must survive ? alongside several survivors ? against an onslaught of thousands upon thousands of zombies, with hundreds showing up on the same screen at once. On top of this, there will be multiple ways you can fight off the mindless hordes. Want to blow them away with pistols and machine guns? Go to it. How about grappling the green-faced ghouls with your bare hands and then pressing them over your head? Can do. On top of these two stalwart methods, you can also pick up various objects within the shopping mall's stores to combat the zombies.
In fact, this ?random object? feature seems to be one of the most viscerally appealing of Dead Rising
, as you can pick up many different objects all throughout the mall and use them against the zombies. You'll have access to sporting goods such as golf clubs (complete with balls to literally ?tee-off? on the ghouls) and baseball bats in order to crush the hordes. Or you could check out the hardware section to uses axes, chainsaws, lawnmowers and garden tools in order to cut up some zombie ass. But then again, the supermarket might provide some entertainment with grapefruits, cheese, steaks, and other produce and canned goods being at your disposal to either bludgeon or throw at enemies. As you can imagine, this item variety adds a lot of the appeal to a game like Dead Rising
, and you'll be encouraged to use items all throughout the environment to not only deal with the zombies, but also to complete tasks and get to certain areas. There will be over 150 stores for Frank to plow through and all of them will have specific items inside. Of course, there will be a standard array of items that will be in the hallways or casually placed around the environment ? brooms, trash cans, chairs, signs, buckets ? and these look to be just as amusing to use against the undead morons.
looks to be quite satisfying in its combat and general gameplay, at least based on media from the TGS and X05 events. Using the various items and weapons seems reasonably fluid, and these objects work in an effective tandem with the grappling (and shoving) aspects. The item grabbing will be context sensitive, meaning that when you are standing over it or near it, the screen will tell you to press ?B' in order to pick it up or put it down. Additionally, the basic command and talking functions that you will conduct throughout the game will operate in a similar, context-based fashion.
While you're conducting many illicit acts on scores of zombies, you'll also be trying to help random survivors, complete recovery tasks, and migrate to other sections of the mall. In fact, the gimmick seems to be that overcrowding zombies will force you into certain sections of the mall. In a way, this serves as a variation on completing a level, as you're not really finishing an area so much as surviving the hellish grind. This ?level? system is supposed to last over 10 days so it seems you will have to survive in the mall for at least that long.
Graphically, Dead Rising
impresses mainly because of the sheer number of zombies on screen at once. If you ever played State of Emergency
, think of that amount of people and then triple it, and then add a lot more detail in the animation, modeling, and artificial intelligence. The sheer amount of people on screen in this game is pretty mind blowing, and it really helps add to the mania and intensity of the battles. The main character Frank looks very sharp, complete with his goofy haircut, Max Payne-esque leather jacket, and camera noosed around his neck. He actually animates reasonably well at this stage and displays facial emotion when grappling with the zombies. The actual mall environment is quite expansive (at least on paper) and none of the stores seem overly claustrophobic or hampering. There are some general rough edges all throughout the game, and the repeating character models for the zombies are a bit annoying, but hopefully these issues will be ironed out upon the game's release.
There will be no online play for the game and nor will there be any offline multiplayer component. However, some sort of Xbox Live scoreboard feature may be worked in for the game's release.