Review: Dead Rising 3 – Operation Broken Eagle

When Dead Rising 3 was first unveiled with a hard-hitting trailer, many instantly assumed the off-the-wall humour and over-the-top antics were buried beneath a more structured, serious narrative.

But those fears were quickly allayed when we discovered the chicken helmets, suits of armour and Blanka costumes. Clearly, the bat-shit zombie slayer was still alive and well under Nick Ramos’s watchful eye.

Still, Capcom have taken the right steps forward in creating a world with narrative depth. Compared to the days of running around a shopping mall with a cricket bat, Dead Rising has grown up a lot during the switch between generations and that’s especially clear with the introduction of its DLC, The Untold Stories of Los Perdidos.

There are many major events in the Dead Rising 3 campaign and the DLC aims to build into those by shifting the narrative perspective away from Ramos and giving the spotlight to four other characters.

In Operation Broken Eagle, we learn a certain someone has been watching the Outbreak spread through TV monitors. Every hero, villain, fool and legend has been documented and recorded, their life-defining feats immortalised through film.

Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: 22nd January 2014
Format: Xbox One
Price: £7.99

Operation Broken Eagle focuses on the Spec Ops capture of the President of the United States. Commander Adam Kane and his team take orders from General Hemlock, a man intent on overthrowing the President. Hemlock cites the President as the man fully responsible for the spread of the outbreak, due to his soft take on the illegally infected. As a result, he wants the President brought in for questioning and dubs himself Commander in Chief.

Kane questions nothing. His code of conduct is to respect rank with duty and honour.. This is a man who follows orders to the letter and fully understands the chain of command. That makes him a very different fit for Dead Rising than Ramos. It also means that Kane is pretty dry. Very straight-laced, sharp and to the point. Some might even say dull.

But while this content lacks a sense of wit and humour, the subject matter in question isn’t anything to laugh or joke about. In fact, it treads a few sensitive lines, partly focusing on the invasion of immigrants.

The good news? Kane is just as bad ass as Ramos. He starts the game by leaping out of a burning helicopter, then finds himself knee-deep in the dead, a knife in each hand. The opening sequence will definitely help you shake off any Dead Rising rust you may have, seeing you furiously tapping away at the X button to wade through animated corpses. While the combo won’t last forever, it’s good while it lasts.

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When on the ground, Hemlock continues to bellow orders at Kane, eventually convincing the commander to hunt for members of his squad. This sets up the majority of the side missions for the content, tasking Kane with retrieving their dog-tags either from their zombified form, collecting the tags from the marine’s last-known location or being handed them by the live marine trying to repel the undead threat.

Kane has the same set of moves as Ramos; acquire enough PP and he’ll perform powerbombs, or with a weapon in-hand, he’ll execute a specific, special move. Basically, you’re handling Ramos re-skinned. The environments are also the same areas seen in the majority of the campaign with some minor changes.

That said, there are some new toys for you to play with, including some new bio-weapons. A freeze-gun can be fired off into a large horde of zombies, freezing them all in place. They won’t shatter on impact, but they will be slowed down, making sure you’re not overrun. Players can also wield a Shield and Axe combo, which is fantastic for safety play

Then there’s the Minigun, arguably the best weapon seen in Dead Rising 3 to date. Just slight taps will see you plough through zombies at break-neck pace. It handles wonderfully and feels very satisfying to wield.

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Operation Broken Eagle also tries to mix up the content with quick changes in enemy. In the space of minutes, you’ll find yourself fighting the standard zombie flair, then contending against charging quarterback zombies, human marines and even super-infected.

The marines, in particular, offer a tougher challenge. They’ll fire quick, sharp flurries of bullets and even rockets at Kane that eat through his health. They also duck and dodge out of his way if he tries to get up close with a weapon. The need for a gun in this campaign becomes pretty clear, pretty quickly.

As for the Armadillo, a mini tank with a minigun on top, its inclusion is satisfying, except the campaign is filled with frustrating lengths of road that barely give the tank any chance to keep on the straight & narrow for longer than two seconds at a time. In light of that, you have to wonder if the team should have bothered adding it at all. Though wading through zombie hordes, squishing them under tire tracks, offers a nice change of killing pace.

However, with no additional Smartglass missions and no Co-Op functionality at all, all of the content can be digested in just over two hours flat, even with the abysmal checkpoint system. And with a story and main character that’s fairly forgettable, at £7.99, that makes this content a bitter pill to swallow.

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Pros:

  • Minigun!
  • Armadillo is fun over a stretch
  • Gives some narrative depth to events in Dead Rising 3

Cons:

  • Way too short
  • No co-op or SmartGlass integration
  • Hefty price point for content offered

Rating:

3 out of 5

Operation Broken Eagle is engaging and will keep you entertained throughout, but the sacrifice of co-op over a narrative that’s pretty underwhelming is perplexing, especially since it’s all over shortly after it begins.