Wednesday, August 23, 2006

12,179 and Counting.

That's the current number of zombies that I have sent back to the hell that they came from. Last night I completed Dead Rising, and thought I'd give those who care (PLW and um...PLW) the low down.
In Dead Rising you play a photo journalist who flies into a small town that has been quarantined by the military. Your job is to find out why the town has gone zombie in 72 hrs because that is when your helicopter ride arrives. You must also do this all while trapped inside a very large mall. It's a Mall of America type mall. Yes, it even has a roller coaster.

The clock in the game keeps ticking. Every five minutes of gameplay equals an hour in game time. This is a little bit of a problem. To figure out why there are zombies you have to be at certain places at certain times to activate the next chapter or as they are called in the game, cases. This puts a damper on actually exploring everything in the mall. You'd like to stop and see what weapons are in that store but you have to be back at the store room at 6:00 pm. I realize this adds some suspense to the game. Do you try pushing it and go rescue that lady in the jewelry store, or do you let her become zombie chow to make sure you are back in time to trigger the next case?

This brings up another couple of problems. For completest like me, I find it frustrating that you can't save everyone. You just can't. But really after ushering 25 people through a maze of zombies you begin to not really care. Why? Because the people you are saving end up really getting on your nerves. They are either crying the whole time, stopping at stupid times to try to kill zombies, or simply don't pay much attention to you. I really wish they had programmed them to be a little smarter. Those you can give a solid weapon to seem to do ok, and some you can carry , but at times it takes a lot of self control to not take a chainsaw to their melon.
Another problem with the survivors is how you are made aware of them. Before you head out into the mall, a security guard named Otis hands you a transceiver. He's the one that calls you and lets you know where they are. Can I just say. Otis is a moron. He calls at the most ridiculous times. Are you in the middle of a boss fight? Ring. ring. Are you ushering five people through a mass of zombies? ring. ring. You see, you can't fight while talking to Otis. Also, if you get chomped and hang up on him, he gets all snippy because you hung up on him. You will so want to put a fire axe in Otis' skull.
Unfortunately, you need to save people to earn points that raise your level so you can get different fighting moves, and carry more weapons, and have a longer life bar. You can also earn points though by taking photos of certain events and the carnage surrounding you. Did you just do doughnuts in your car over 200 zombies? Take a picture! Are zombies an inch from eating your brains? Take a picture! Did someone you are trying to save get chomped in the family jewels? Take a picture! The better the picture the more points you earn. One things about the save and the points you earn is that when you die you have the ability to save the level you are at and then start at the beginning. I actually recommend doing this a couple times, because it helps during the game. Cases that seemed very difficult before are more easily accomplished when you are leveled up a few notches.
Even more dangerous than the zombies, are the human psychopaths that have had a difficult time coming to terms with the zombie outbreak. There's the crazy clown, the competing photojournalist, the cult leader who has enlisted a bunch of bomb carrying members is green masks and yellow slickers, escaped convicts, crazy butcher, and many others. None of them are too difficult once you figure out their pattern.
One final problem is that one slot save. You are only given one slot, so if you screw up you end up losing a crap load of stuff you accomplished. Also, you have to go to either the security room or one of the bathrooms to save your game. I realize this makes dying in the game more dire, but it can be quite a pain.

Enough with the complaints though. Let's talk about the good stuff which is killing zombies. I thought it would get tiring killing zombie after zombie, but it really doesn't...ever. I mean I've killed over 10,000 of them and I still get a kick out of it. Each weapon does it's own special damage that is just doesn't get old. The sound is spectacular. From the thunk of sledgehammer striking a zombies on the head, to a katana slicing a zombie in half, to the sound of bashing zombies with an electric guitar. It all feels, looks, and sounds great.
I only wish there was a way to combine weapons together or adjust them. One of the weapons you can use is a frying pan. You can take that frying pan and heat it up on a stove, so you can sear a zombies head and earn bonus points. I wish there was more of that. I should be able to fill the squirt gun with a flammable liquid and create a flame thrower. I should have the option to wield two katanas, or pistols.

The story is a solid B-movie plot with nice cut scenes and above average voice acting. Everything is over the top as any game about being stuck in a mall with zombies should be. The visuals aren't as pretty as say G.R.A.W., but that's expected with a game that provides so many destructible zombies on the screen at once. You also have to consider that each zombie is then given multiple animations for every way to die. There should also be something said for the humor of the game. I give props to a game that provides the ability to hit zombies with pies, or put toy heads on them just for fun. Let's not forget the lawn mower either.
It's not a perfect game with the save system being its main fault. But because of it's originality and pure joy of playing it overcomes what shortcomings it has. For a system that leans heavily toward first person shooters this is a game that 360 owners should absolutely give a whirl. I just hope for the sequel that they fix the save system, and make it possible to play with a friend because if there's one thing better than killing thousands of zombies it's killing thousands of zombies with someone you love.

1 comment:

faith said...

oooohhhhh....Mr. Brad!!!!

The blog is looking WONDERFUL!