Like World War II games last generation, it might be time to put the zombie genre to bed. Yet, just when I think I've lopped off my last undead head, along comes a new game to change my mind one more time. Dead Rising 3 for the Xbox One continues the open world style zombie game the original created back on the Xbox 360 in 2006. We started in a shopping mall in Dead Rising 1, found ourselves in casinos in Dead Rising 2 and now Dead Rising 3 gives us a full quarantined city at our chainsaw wielding fingertips.
In Dead Rising 3 you are dropped into the shoes of Nick Ramos, a mechanic stuck in the fictional city of Los Perididos. As with all the other games in the series, the focus of the game is on its main character and how he handles the events put forth to them. The team at Capcom Vancouver is fully aware of the issues that past games have created, whether it's a horrible save system or the constant annoying need to find a certain item - both of these have been addressed. In fact, early on in Dead Rising 3 the game makes you believe you are going to constantly need to find Zombrex (a temporary cure if bitten) - but then throws a major curveball into that notion. The save system has completely been overhauled, so much so, you simply can click "Save" at anytime from the main menu and your progress is saved with a respawn at the nearest safe house next time you play.
The biggest addition to Dead Rising 3 is the extended use of vehicles, or rather, the ability to access a whole host of vehicles to drive around a much bigger world. These vehicles can be "crafted" into Road Warrior like hybrids that are perfect for slaughtering the undead. Weld a motorcyle to a steam roller, an icecream truck to a party van, or a utility truck to a sports car. A lot of the vehicles have alternate modes that allow you to fire projectiles or perform some action that take care of large crowds of the undead. And most of the vehicles have a spot for a second player in co-op. These combo vehicles are created by finding blueprints and parking the two required automobiles next to each other on the road.
This is another big change in Dead Rising 3. No longer are you required to build weapons at a workshop; instead, at any point in time you can create new weapons by combining weapons and items found throughout the game world. There are over 100 to find and some can even be combined further to create super weapons. Some of my favorites are the "Freedom Bear" which is a teddy bear with a boombox and LMG machine guns; the Sentry Cat, a beer keg created pussy cat of destruction; and an electrified traffic light that shoots flames from one end of the pole. Yes, the weapons are completely over the top, and that's part of the game's charm. Best of all everything you find and create is stored at the safe house and can easily be recalled, this includes AI survivors who can help you.
Since we're now in the "next-gen" of gaming, it's worth talking about Dead Rising 3's graphics. The city of Los Perididos is simply overflowing with undead and the first time you encounter an entire highway filled with them it's a little terrifying. The visuals are absolutely impressive in these regards, recreating that feeling of being overwhelmed. That being said, you can see where there are shortcuts. Only smaller sections of those zombies react to you, leaving a larger portion of what is on screen a little more than scenery until you get closer. The character models and cut scenes do look great, though sometimes they never quite get past that plastic look.
Still, Dead Rising 3 continues to impress me. There's virtually no loading other than a quick flash when starting up some of the core missions or psychopath side missions. You can travel anywhere in the world, in and on top of buildings, and it's completely seamless. In a way, Dead Rising 3 feels like Crackdown and the Dead Rising series blended together.