by Brian Robbins

  I have to admit, this whole zombie craze is getting a little bit stale. We’ve had plenty of flesh-eating undead scenarios with The Walking Dead, World War Z, Left 4 Dead, even Plants vs Zombies! So when I had the chance to review Dead Rising 3 for the Xbox One, I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy. I mean I played the first two, and enjoyed them but I’m just so burnt out on the genre. Thankfully, Dead Rising 3 was wacky enough to make me forget about all the other zombie nonsense out there.

As you first boot up the game, you’ll be controlling Nick. He’s more or less your standard clueless lead character. He’s also has a knack for helping pretty much everyone. Through out the weird storyline, Nick and his friends will try and survive this new zombie apocalypse.

To say the storyline is confusing is a bit of an understatement. At times, the plot is rushed at you and will leave you scratching your head after a pivotal cutscene. The game struggles to find its identity throughout the game. Most of the game has crazy characters and comedic events but other times it tries to take itself too seriously. The game’s storyline would’ve worked if it just picked one. It’s like trying to combine a Wayans brothers comedy with the plot of There Will Be Blood; it’s just a mess.

Granted, no one was coming into this game thinking it would bring anything to the table storywise. Luckily, the best part of the Dead Rising series is of course the zombie killing. The third installment is no different. It’s just plain fun. There’s an insane amount of variety in ways that you can dispatch the undead assailants. You can smash zombies while driving in a vehicle, smack the monsters with jugs of orange juice or go on a killing spree in Mega Man Armor. The game’s at its best when it lets you off the leash. Which luckily, is pretty much all the time.

  One of the big features that was carried over from the previous game is the crafting system. Here you will find blueprints that will combine different weapons and objects to decimate the zombie horde. You can even craft incredibly original vehicles as well. Armored truck with a shotgun? I’ll take it! Granted, there are some weapons that feel underdeveloped compared to others but I had a blast mixing and matching different items and finding out my personal favorites.

The biggest gripe I had with the game was the world that you play in. The ways the game blocks you off from different paths doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Take for instance, there were plenty of times I tried to reach an objective in the world and I was literally right there but a wall blocked my path. I had to drive around the entire game world to get somewhere that I could’ve easily been able to reach if the layout was better. It was increasing frustrating as it happened quite a bit.

Another negative aspect I had with Dead Rising 3 was the serious lack of difficulty. Granted, after you finish the game you can replay it in a almost impossible setting but the game on normal didn’t really challenge me as a player. I never really felt like in any danger throughout my play through. This is saying something since I was surrounded by about 10,000 zombies almost constantly.

Graphically the game doesn’t impress other than the vast amount of enemies on screen and the framerate stuttered quite a bit throughout the experience. It wasn’t bone jarringly terrible by any means but it’s very noticeable when you’re fighting through a huge crowd of the infected. It can be even worse when you have a friend join over Xbox Live and you’re both hacking away in a huge gathering of zombies.

Other aspects of the game include side missions, finding human survivors and my personal favorite, the human boss-type characters: the psychos. All of the encounters with the psychos are unique and actually had me laughing out loud because of how ridiculous they were. My favorite was Darlene, the crazy lunch buffet patron who would attack you with her electric scooter. These just added more content to the experience and are always a highlight with the Dead Rising series.

The real question of the day is whether you should check the game out. The answer is yes, but I feel like a lot of players will most likely trade in the game after they finish it. There isn’t too much replayable content after you beat both the game and the more difficult setting you unlock later. One can only be satisfied for so long with hitting zombies with cash registers and RC cars. The multiplayer is limited and some players will be frustrated paying the full retail price for a game they might not hold onto after finishing it. That being said, great launch games are rare and for the Xbox One this is the better choice in terms of first party choices.

3.5-star-turtle