Dead Rising Collection

The Dead Rising series is truly unique and possibly the funniest Zombie games you will ever play.

Dead Rising

The first instalment in the Dead Rising series was originally released in 2006 as an Xbox 360 exclusive. You enter the game in a wonderful opening cut scene, flying in the back of a helicopter for a front row seat to the horrors unfolding in Willamette, Colorado. You are Frank West, a photojournalist with a hot tip that something bad is going down in Willamette. One thing leads to another and you end up in the mall during a zombie apocalypse…..this sounds a little familiar.
Unlike other zombie titles at the time, this one features an open world environment with multiple endings which could be achieved through your in-game actions. The time limit style of events means you feel the pressure, a constant race against time to uncover the truth! Or, well….you could ignore all that and just go on a whacky zombie killing spree. Dead Rising really doesn’t limit you; the game can be played your own way.
As you progress through the mall, more areas are opened up and your abilities increase and level up. The combat system is fairly simple, although things can get a little extreme when you’re fighting the Psychos. However, the control system is the big let-down in Dead Rising. I can best describe it as steering through treacle with finger cramp. When added to a frustrating camera control, this is guaranteed to lead to screaming, pad throwing and general raging. This is the main reason I have just never been able to connect with this game. Oh and of course, the fact that I cannot read any of the advice, help or information on the screen because they made it ridiculously small! Although it says a lot for this game that I am genuinely upset that I just cannot enjoy it, the storyline and the main character are both badass and witty. I also enjoy the photographic aspect of the game, where you gain experience for taking gory or disturbing photos. All in all I deem this the last choice for me in Dead Rising titles, but only due to the control system (and the fact that I cannot read the tiniest text in the world!). If you can get around that, then a trip to Willamette is definitely recommended.
Unlike other zombie titles at the time, this one features an open world environment with multiple endings which could be achieved through your in-game actions. The time limit style of events means you feel the pressure, a constant race against time to uncover the truth! Or, well….you could ignore all that and just go on a whacky zombie killing spree. Dead Rising really doesn’t limit you; the game can be played your own way.
But it’s still the same old zombie survival type thing right? Wrong. This is a zombie killing spree with a difference. Although your conventional weapons are all present; shotguns, katanas, grenades, that sort of thing, what makes this game is the sheer thrill of utilising traffic cones, lawn mowers, bowling balls and everything in between! Although it’s delightfully fiendish fun, this kind of novelty can take all the fear out of a horror title. After running rings around the undead for a while, it was a genuine shock when I ran into the real horror within Dead Rising. In true Romero style, the real dangers in the Willamette Mall are the human survivors, lovingly named the Psychopaths.

Dead Rising 2

Following on from the events in Dead Rising, the world has accepted that zombie outbreaks are something that, well, just happens. One certain pharmaceutical company (no not Umbrella, wrong Capcom zombie series) has even found a way to cash in on this new undead occurrence with a product named Zombrex. If you are bitten you can prevent yourself from turning into the walking dead by injecting yourself with Zombrex every 24 hours.
You play as Chuck Greene, a former motocross champion whose family has been devastated by a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas. His wife dead and his daughter infected, Chuck is forced to earn money anyway he can to afford the Zombrex his daughter Katy needs to survive. Desperate to save Katy, Chuck is forced to be one of the stars of a game show called ‘Terror is Reality’ where contestants butcher zombies for cash. Broadcast live from Fortune City Nevada (which is like a tiny resort version of Vegas) it has a larger than life host, Tyrone King or TK for short. As one would expect in today’s modern society, a protest group soon appears demanding the ethical treatment of zombies. They seem to change their minds however when zombies start eating their intestines with a healthy side of irony. What follows is a zombie action story worthy of Bruce Willis himself, which sees our hero facing a race against the clock to clear his name, save the girl (sure his daughter but it still applies), catch the bad guy and bring him to justice before the truth is buried forever.
One of the greatest draws to this title for me is the fact that they fixed all my issues with the previous game! The controls are fluid and easy to master, the text has been eating it’s vitamins and is now at a comfortable size for reading, and new realms of zombie killing joy are achieved by the introduction of combo weapons…..Imagine a world where traffic cones and spray paint can combine, where flaming swords are not out of the question, where motorbikes unite with chainsaws (affectionately known as Slicecycles) in a glorious duet of death and destruction! Sorry got carried away for a moment, but surly you can understand why? It may not be realistic, it may not be broody and serious, but damn it’s fun and sometimes let’s face it, you just want to cut through zombies with a lightsabre.
Although the picture taking aspect of Dead Rising one is gone, which I know many fans missed, I think it is understandable. It wouldn’t make much sense for Chuck Greene’s character to have a camera and it would have felt tacked on and unnecessary. This game fills the collectables void by introducing combo cards, which give you designs for new deadly combo weapons you can make. They are acquired by Chuck gaining inspiration for his items of carnage from movie posters and Psychos. That’s right the Psychopaths are back, as crazy and inventive as ever, but Chuck is well equipped to medicate them with healthy doses of whoop ass.

The final new addition is one that I both love and despise, a multiplayer feature based on the ‘Terror is Reality’ game show. You and three other contestants compete against each other in a series of mini games, which all centre around killing zombies in various humorous ways. Most kills wins the most cash and the cash can be used in your single player game. The games are randomised, inventive and a great deal of fun, always ending in the grand finale, an arena full of zombies and the contestants riding slicecycles. The huge drawback however is that the multiplayer frequently lags, which is incredibly frustrating when you are in the lead and everything suddenly jumps around the screen and you are dropped into last place.

All things considered this is a fantastic game, which identified the problems of the prequel and actually fixed them. The best definition of this game is an action zombie title which doesn’t take itself too seriously. Guitar riffs, leather jackets, poker games and the responsibilities of being a single parent framed for mass murder by a gangster rapper. Oh and machine gun wielding commando teddy bears. If that doesn’t convince you to play this, I really don’t know what will.

Dead Rising 2: Off the Record

Remember me mentioning the loss of the camera in Dead Rising 2? Yes well apparently the developers missed it a lot. So much so, that they released Dead Rising 2 again, but this time with Frank West from the first Dead Rising title. The opening has been altered to fully display Frank’s actions and I warn you, if you’re a fan of Mr. West things have not gone well. At first Frank was celebrated for uncovering the truth at Willamette, an instant celebrity but the fame proves too much for him. Despite having his own show, book releases and even meeting the president, he sinks quickly into decline for his outrageous antics. He chooses to appear on Terror is Reality, in order to reclaim his fame and have one last shot at uncovering the truth once and for all.
Although nothing has really been taken away from Dead Rising 2 (except getting to play with Slicecycles in the intro) some of it has a delicious twist, it’s almost surreal at times like visiting a parallel dimension. Although this title received a lot of negativity, due to the fact that it was viewed it as a ‘lazy’ release (same game, different title) I think that quite a lot has been added to make it a standalone game. New combo weapons, new psychos, new bosses, new enemies and a new amusement park to explore! Even the multiplayer aspect is a little different and adds some spice to the new Sandbox mode and Challenges.
I would recommend this game mostly for those who missed Frank so very much. I personally love Chuck and would relish the opportunity to explore the amusement park with him, but let’s face it that would be heading down an endless repetitive path of boredom and despair (much like the Twilight films). If you enjoyed Dead Rising 2 like I did, then it is also worth a play, just to see a new twist on a not very old game.

Dead Rising: Case Zero

An interesting little teaser trailer for Dead Rising 2, in the form of a short intro game. This is set just before the events of Dead Rising 2 and introduces Chuck Green and his daughter Katy. Following the life changing events in Las Vegas, Chuck is trying to leave the area. Unfortunately the police shoot to kill order and the perimeter wall they have put up are proving somewhat problematic. We quickly learn that Chuck is a man with many problems. Having to keep injecting his daughter with Zombrex, while she begs him not to, being top of the list. Coming in a close second is fact that someone steals his truck with all his remaining Zombrex.

Case Zero is set in the Town of Still Creek and Chuck is on a race against the clock to get what he needs and leave town, before the military arrive to destroy all the pesky infected… including Chucks daughter Katy. Released originally for a limited time only, this prequel to Dead Rising 2 is enjoyable, if a little short. The controls are exactly the same as Dead Rising 2 and you get to try out some of the combo weapons that appear in the main game. There are some interesting characters to save and Psychos to battle, the town itself however is just a small square of buildings, most of which are inaccessible. Perhaps the best incentive for playing this, now that the main game is available, is the fact that you get to carry your experience over to Dead Rising 2. You can achieve up to level 5 in Case Zero and although it’s not a huge increase in the main game, it’s nice to have the insight into Chuck and Katys journey so far. I would recommend playing this title straight after Dead Rising 1, to get the full story on Chuck, as the narrative makes it worth a few hours of your time.

Dead Rising 2: Case West

This DLC was highly anticipated by many Dead Rising fans, the heroes of the series united together in a glorious ballet of death, destruction and combo weapons. Oh yes, not only do you get the combo of major zombie ass kickers, Frank and Chuck, there are new combo weapons too! Why Capcom, you really shouldn’t have. Also a majorly positive aspect for me is the fact that the plot is canonic; it follows on from the second that Dead Rising 2 ended. I mean it, the very second! The only drawback here is that it does not factor in the ending you have achieved, which is a little annoying after completing Overtime. It’s understandable but I would have been very impressed if the effort had been made to factor this in.
The daring duo enjoy a trip to the nearby Phenotrans Research Facility, where all kinds of crazy zombie fun is going down. I would think that these top secret pharmaceutical companies, who have evaded detection for their evil deeds for years, could stop zombies from breaking loose as our heroes arrive and snacking on all their employees. Is there no kind of psych test or background check for new employees? Maybe a simple question, along the lines of; “Do you harbour any secret revenge plans against our company”? Anyway, I digress….The story ties up a lot of the plot from both Dead Rising 1 and 2 and the interactions between Frank and Chuck are worth a chuckle. There are new survivors to save and a few new enemies but sadly no new Psychos in the conventional sense, just some boss fights and a lot of security personnel. To be honest the re-playability of Dead Rising DLC is usually not great but at least Case West is a lot bigger than Case Zero. There are many areas in the Research Facility to explore and if you factor in side plot, there’s quite a lot to do.

Gameplay and Controls – The gameplay is very open and explorative, while also having the pressure of a ticking clock. There is the option to play in multiple ways, so you can choose you own style. The controls for the first game are awful in my opinion, but greatly improved in the other titles.
4/5Sound and Music – The sound effects are wonderful, every boingy splaty one of them! I love the use of guitar power chords, especially the work bench riff. The radio call tone will drive you crazy, but mostly because it is an inconvenient time to call when you’re ass deep in zombies.
4.5/5Graphics – Dead Rising really goes for quantity over quality during gameplay, not that the graphics are poor, they are just nothing special. During cut scenes however they can really shine, which is really where you want them to.
4/5Story/immersion/replay-ability – Arguably one of the best things about the Dead Rising series is that there are multiple ways to play, multiple endings, lots of side quests and the sheer joy of zombie massacring. This adds up to many playthroughs, which are still enjoyable. The story is quite gripping and the timer keeps you immersed in the story line quite well. The really winner here though is the Psychos, twisted, wonderful and very well written.
4.5/5Final Score – Dead Rising is a series that I feel is very unique. It can adapt for different styles of gaming and is both silly and a serious game in places.
17/20

Watch The Guide to Willamette Parkview Mall