Capcom has sure made a good career out of using zombies in their games. For the past ten years Capcom has scared the bejesus out of unsuspecting video game fans with their popular Resident Evil series. Millions of gamers have been trapped in the scary mansions outlining Raccoon City, fought mutated monsters and went into combat unarmed against dozens of bad smelling zombies. After ten years, a dozen games, two (soon to be three) bad movies and hours of terrible voice acting, you would think that you've had enough of Capcom's zombies. But you would be wrong … dead wrong!
On paper Dead Rising may sound like yet another Resident Evil clone, it's a game that traps you in a shopping mall and requires you staying alive during a zombie outbreak. But just because this is Capcom and there are zombies don't mean this is anything like Resident Evil. While Resident Evil has always been slow-paced and about puzzle solving, Dead Rising is a balls-to-the-wall action game that has almost no puzzles at all. Dead Rising is more of an anti-Resident Evil, for people that just couldn't get into caring about Jill, "the master of unlocking."
You play Frank West, a freelance photojournalist who is off on the hunt of a big story in Williamette, a fictional town in Colorado. As you're flying into the town you notice rioting, explosions and even a gruesome death or two … sounds like the place to be if you're looking for another Polk award. Most daring photojournalists just go to the front lines of some war torn country, but not Frank, he's ready to dive right into the middle of a pack of zombies.
After being chased by government helicopters, Frank lands on the roof of the local mall and reminds his pilot to return for him in 72 hours. Now it's up to Frank to take some quality photographs, save some innocent shoppers and figure out what is going on … all in 72 hours. Can you do it? Talk about some pressure.
Although you are trapped in a smallish environment, the game feels more like Grand Theft Auto than Resident Evil. Frank can go anywhere and shop in any store he wants; he is free to do what he wants in the 72 hours you are given. If all you want to do is run around and kill zombies all day, then have at it. If you want to solve the cases or figure out how to save all of the innocent shoppers, then you can do that too. It's your mall and you can do whatever you want with it.
The main story is split up into eight different missions, each requiring you to be at certain places at exact times. If you happen to miss a rendezvous or forget to be at the right place to catch an important cinema sequence, then your whole case crumbles and you have to start all over. Solving these cases require you to pay close attention to what time it is and never missing an important clue.
Thankfully the rest of the game is far less rigid; a lot of what you do in Dead Rising is save the non-infected civilians that are hiding out in the mall. It's your job to find them, protect them and then convince them that there's a helicopter coming … a helicopter that will fit more than four dozen people in it. Once these innocents have teamed up with Frank you are able to tell them where to go and give them your weapons to defend themselves. If everything goes well then you will lead them back to a safe room and head out for your next mission.
As you might imagine, the mall in Williamette offers you countless ways of killing the zombies that are looking to feast on your brains. Just about everything you could possibly want to use as a weapon is available somewhere in Dead Rising's mall. I'm talking about CD jewel cases, shovels, lawn mowers, chainsaws, baseball bats, clothing hangers, jewelry, a katana, mannequins, giant rocks, and dozens of other items. It will take a dedicated player (with much too much time on their hands) to grow tired of all of these weapons, which gives Dead Rising a lot of variety and replay.
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