Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition delivers some gruesome zombie kills, great weapon combos, and provides a unique sense of humor in a genre overflowing with serious tones and dire circumstances that can be a little too much more often than not.
Dead Rising 3 isn’t a new game. In fact, the title was released as an Xbox One launch title last year, and was met with generally favorable reviews. The series has been one that sometimes can struggle to find an identity, and at other times can seem hard to identify with. Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition isn’t immune to these issues from prior games, but does a great job to push the series forward, and provides one of the best experiences yet.
THE WORLD, STORY, AND QUALTIY OF ‘DEAD RISING’
Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition includes the story from the title that shipped back in November of 2013, which finds our hero Nick Ramos surviving, and eventually thriving, in yet another zombie apocalypse. This time we are put in to the city of Los Perdidos, an interpretation of the City of Angels, but more importantly, a huge open world to explore as much as you’d like. Each little subsection of the map feels somewhat unique, if only because one has a power station, one has a communication tower, and another has its token distinguishing building being a shipyard. The city itself has some stunning skyboxes, and takes advantage of a new engine to make the city seem somewhat realistic. Normally I would grade the city on how “alive” it felt, but you can probably guess that the city didn’t necessarily feel alive. It did, however, feel like a city that has experienced a terrible tragedy.
Buildings are mostly still standing, and there are certainly some interesting buildings, but some of the most interesting places on the map are actually collectibles, called Tragic Endings, the player can interact with and shows some sorrow for the scene that played out. More interesting than the strange shift from slicing and dicing zombies, is the layouts of these scenes. Finding bodies hidden and still cowering inside a crate that is atop a mountain of crates, a family that had a shootout, or stumbling upon a scene with teddy bears and broadswords strewn about puts you in that world, and makes the scenario a bit more real.
The story in Dead Rising 3 does a great job of being cohesive, understandable, and just overall good. I couldn’t think of a better word to describe it. I fully expected after playing for a while for the story to fall off, get too silly, and really lose my interest. That moment did not come. I found myself wanting to get through the story, not just because I had this review to write, but the characters were interesting, the dialogue was solid, and the acting was on point. All of this delivered to me, the best Dead Rising story yet.
None of the other entries in the series really grabbed me the way this one did.
The Untold Stories of Los Perdidos is an add-on that comes in the Apocalypse Edition, and while the stories are in concept a novel idea, they don’t really expand too greatly upon the existing framework. Don’t expect anything earth shattering or brand new mechanics, but they do offer an interesting way to explore other characters within Los Perdidos. Playing new stories like that of a duty driven spec ops team member, or an insane bike gang leader, or member of the survivors. The stories are interesting, the characters fascinating, but the setting, weapons, and skills remain mostly unchanged. Playing these stories following the main campaign will give some intriguing insight and give you a glimpse of the early stages of the outbreak, but also can be a bit easy to breeze through if you’ve leveled up your character, as attributes and abilities are inherited from your main story.
TONAL SHIFTS, GAMEPLAY DISSONANCE, AND SO MUCH SLAUGHTER
The issue Dead Rising has always had has been an identity crisis of sorts. I addressed this in a preview, but what became evident in Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition is that the game doesn’t really have a crisis, it embraces the wacky, insane world they’ve built.
Psycho missions aren’t a new addition to the series, but did seem to be more initially offensive than in previous entries. An obese woman on a scooter farts and vomits her way to, around, and through you on occasion, until you defeat her. During the battle you slip on her vomit, and maybe even wretch yourself at the character. Of course the end of the fight is punctuated by one final burp, or fart, I don’t really know, it was gross. This mission was the turning point for me. I stopped caring that the character was so disgusting, and that prior characters were racial caricatures. I began to understand that these caricatures were actually part of the charm of Dead Rising.
I was impressed that a character in a scooter could make me feel so strongly about her, and more impressed as the character had very few lines of dialogue.
After settling on the fact that Dead Rising was designed to be goofy, insane, and sometimes flat out weird, the game showed itself to be utterly enjoyable. I didn’t care that the story went to some dark places, or that the stereotypical insane general was a bit too gravely and predictable. I enjoyed what the game was doing, and wanted to play more. I particularly enjoyed watching my cutscenes play out while wearing a cheerleader outfit, gimp suit, or Lego-inspired head.
After completing the main campaign and launching the aforementioned Untold Stories, I was having a bit of fun, but realized that a major chunk of the gameplay is fetch styled missions. Someone will come on the radio to tell you to grab something, usually not anywhere close to you, and investigate/clear/pickup what they need. The main story didn’t drag on me with this mechanic, but the DLC stories seemed to just have me trudging through more hordes, and going to do the same things I had done before, just with a different model and cutscenes.
THE FINAL WORLD
Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition represents a few things; a good value, a solid game, and a good time. The story, as mentioned earlier, is one of the best stories in the series (if not the best), fun to play, and only better with a friend. Dead Rising 3’s co-op allows players to jump in and search, collect, and slaughter together, with shared collectible findings so you don’t have to worry about losing progress. I truly enjoyed Dead Rising as a game, and appreciate what it does. While it might not win awards for the best story, or the best anything really, it’s a fantastic game, and deserves your attention.