On the day of our hands on demo’s we were surprised by the bloody Roman epic Ryse, witnessed the immense popularity of Xbox One’s flagship racer Forza and saw the tragic lack of anticipation for the newly resurrected Killer Instinct. So then what struck us about the latest and third entry in the crazy zombie slaying Dead Rising franchise? Well quite simply we’ve left the best hands on demo for last – Dead Rising 3 has the honour of being the game that impressed us the most. Forza 5 is undoubtedly going to be a marvellous instalment in the long running beloved racing franchise, but out of all four games it was Dead Rising that felt the most next gen – the sheer number of shuffling undead on screen at any one time is testament to that.
Incidentally it was standing directly in front of a rampaging horde of the shambling creatures in a claustrophobic main street that the five minute demo started – initially armed with nothing more than a sledgehammer we were left to fend for ourselves. As the curtain raised and the zombies were revealed in a moment of sheer panic I hurtled towards the colossal crowd and began slamming the powerful sledge into my foes before realising the futility of my actions. After a moments thought and another second of hesitation I decided to turn around, heading back to where our gory engagement began. It was then a flashy neon sign in the distance caught my eye, fleeing toward it I quickly found myself in a flash car showroom; then I saw if a beautiful Lamborghini tensely parked in front of the second story window.
Jumping into the fancy motor I sharply slammed the acceleration smashing through the window before clumsily falling one story and landing on the crowded street below. Imbued with a sense of power I floored it, flying the car directly into the once threatening crowd of ghouls I laughed to myself happy that victory was achieved; then the car began to slow. The ravenous fiends were actually clinging to the side of the vehicle desperately clawing their way in. With the car grinding to halt and zombies flying from impact and my intentional frenzied waggling to loosen their grip I scarcely emerged from the crowd before ditching the car that served me reasonably well in favour of the surely much safer in-doors.
For the rest of my demo I meandered around the shops trying out different blunt weapons to take out stragglers: crowbars, mannequins and handbags – the natural zombie killing equipment. At one point I even fended off a foe by throwing gemstones at him whilst his buddies flailed viciously at the stores window – then it hit me. For all the Dead Rising 3 presents it’s situation as much more perilous than it’s predecessor it quickly become clear that like previous entries landing in hot water won’t necessarily be the death of you. No one I witnessed playing even came close to death even when things were at their most dire – even the fellow who accidentally threw and lodged his sledgehammer in the first zombie who maliciously shuffled close to him was okay.
It’s this persistent sense of invulnerability and power than encourages players to explore their surrounding without fear of the masses of walking corpses and, goads them into playing with finding new creative ways to handle the rotting walkers. That liberating feeling of creativity and freedom is exact reason that everyone who played Dead Rising 3 came away a with different story they were desperate to share. Whilst my time was spent driving through the crowds the person who attended the event with me joyfully recounted a tale of explosives that burned off all of their characters clothing except their boxers before fighting off a zombie with a cars hub-cap – much the attendants apparent bemusement.
These anecdotes of silly adventures are what makes Dead Rising 3 really stand out, yes the graphics look pretty, it’s simply breath taking how many zombies can be on-screen at any time with no lag and the visceral bloody deaths that can be inflicted on the living dead makes combating them feel really rewarding. It also controls well, no controller quibbles were even raised. Yet these aren’t the reasons to get excited for Dead Rising rather the enthralling deep exploration and experimentation are the eye catchers. Custom made ludicrous weapons make their return and, we’ve been told timers have completely been removed meaning you can really enjoy playing in the sandbox for as long as you choose. Both features enrich that already brilliant feeling of freedom.
Dead Rising 3 is the stand out game of the Xbox One launch and, by extension maybe the most valuable gem across the whole next gen launch. It’s the essence of a sandbox, it provides a shuffling playground of zombies to hunt whilst providing an atmosphere of invulnerability – it’s creative direction makes it feel like only your imagination is the only limit on ways to kill the abominations. Like all the greatest worlds it allows players to generate their own whimsical stories to tell their friends. Dead Rising 3 may not be an experimental game, or something completely new but, it takes the concept of it’s admittedly flawed current gen entries and generously imbues it with spectacular next gen traits making it the Xbox One launch game we’re most anticipated for.
If you missed any of our hands on impressions with the Xbox One hardware or games you can find them on the links below.