Dead Rising 3: Calling in the big guns

It may seem like a strange decision to make Dead Rising 3 an exclusive, but the same happened when the original Dead Rising was first released on the Xbox 360.

Many first claimed that Dead Rising 3 had lost what made the series so great when it was initially announced. But having seen it close up, does this Xbox One exclusive have a positive impact on the series?

Dead Rising 3 now places a bigger emphasis on the night and day cycle. This is especially true when it comes to night time. Zombies become even more aggressive and this was clear during my eyes-on demonstration. The zombies were faster and attempted to overwhelm the main character, Nick Ramos, consistently.

It has to be said that the sheer number of zombies on-screen is truly impressive. Right now, it feels like it wouldn’t be possible to accomplish such a feat on current hardware. Not only that, but DR3 ran smoothly and comfortably throughout the demonstration.

What’s even more interesting is how zombies react to the character. It’s not just a case of being surrounded by zombies. Some cling on to weapons and absent-mindedly use them to attack Nick.

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Fortunately the combo weapons from Dead Rising 2 make a welcome return to even out the odds. Nick’s mechanic background means he is very handy with his tools.

There are various blueprints scattered across the city of Los Perdidos. These will make it possible to build special combo weapons. But building these weapons is no longer restricted to certain locations. Instead they allow the character to build combo weapons on the fly.

I saw this in action several times and it worked like a charm. All it took was bringing up a menu and combining the required items. An item wheel makes such tasks easier than before. Even swapping weapons is effortless when compared to previous Dead Rising item management systems.

But some of these combo weapons also prove that Dead Rising 3 is still capable of being just as amusing as the previous efforts. A weapon that emulated the iconic Street Fighter Shoryuken move made for some interesting fighting outcomes against the undead. There was even a Blanka costume that allows Nick to turn into a ball of electricity. A small glimpse of the madness that is bound to come from discovering all the various weapons and other items that Capcom likes to add in Dead Rising video-games.

There is also a counter that can result in the character performing a special move. It’s another interesting addition that worked quite well.

Those crazy survivors are also back for more fun and games. This time though, the character can have up to five survivors follow him. These guys will faithfully stick to him and help out to the best of their abilities. The catch, as before, is that if a survivor dies, they will stay that way. It was mentioned that each survivor has unique skills, an indication that it’s best to use certain survivors for different situations.

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Another way to make survivors more useful is that they can enter vehicles with Nick. This produces a rather comical vision of hands poking out of the vehicle windows, bashing zombies away with their various weapons.

Those that are lucky enough to own a SmartGlass enabled device are in for a treat. It will literally change the way Dead Rising 3 is played. It makes it possible to get extra content by receiving phone calls from characters within the game. It also makes it possible to call in reinforcements like a missile strike. Nick is surely a man with powerful connections if he has buddies in the military!

It was very impressive to see how seamless this whole process was in action. It literally only required a few touch-screen actions to perform many of the actions already mentioned.

What is so great about SmartGlass features is that they are completely optional. They will certainly make the game even more engaging. However, those that can’t or choose not to make use of these features can still play without feeling like they are missing out.

Character levelling up has been completely revamped to give the player better control. Instead, attribute points are earned each time the character levels up. These points are then used to unlock various skills. It’s a great idea since it means each player can choose to play in a different manner.

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It’s truly satisfying when a plan comes together. That is just what happened after luring a large group zombies with a light source(call in the military) then blowing them up with a home made explosive. It’s such a destructive explosion that even the character’s clothes get blown off from the blast.

This is the embodiment of what makes Dead Rising such a glorious experience. It certainly seems like Dead Rising 3 will provide the tools and the rest is completely up to the player’s imagination. There is certainly no shortage of test subjects with the powerful Xbox One being put to good use.

Dead Rising 3 is proving like a worthy new entry in the series. It proves that it’s just as comfortable at being serious as much as it is at being comical. It may seem like it has lost what makes Dead Rising so irresistible – but deep down DR3 still manages to make the player laugh.

I only had a brief look, but Dead Rising 3 has the potential to be the most diverse of  Xbox One launch titles.