Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Capcom's DEAD RISING deserves a 10!

I just finished the 72 hour mode of Dead Rising for the first time. I must say that I am blown away by this game. Contrary to what most reviews say, I think the save system in this game is sheer genius. It just makes the game more challenging and even the decision on whether or not to save your game becomes a factor in gameplay (since you only have one slot).


Plot of game: Zombies in a mall. It just works.

If you read numerous reviews online, they always bring up the save system as a major problem in the game, and thus, most of the reviews gave this game an 8/10 or so. I highly disagree. This is a triple-A title, people. This is one of those games that ushers in the next generation of gaming. It introduces a lot of new concepts in gaming which will likely be imitated by future titles.


Anything and everything is a weapon....

Have you ever watched a zombie film? While zombie films are almost always questioned for their lack of story depth, Dead Rising, while similar to a zombie film, has loads of character substance. Now that sounds ridiculous at first glance, but hear me out. The best part about the characters in the game is that they are well portrayed. The cutscenes in the game feel like they're out of a film, and at some point you end up caring about what happens to the major characters. In one key scene I even found myself cheering on one of the characters who ends up in a gunfight with another character. Ultimately this scene ends with one character getting trapped in a room full of zombies by the antagonist. While on paper, the scene sounds like there's nothing spectacular about it, the execution of that scene (accentuated by Capcom's extremely beautiful real-time graphics) is just excellent. The acting of the game characters is excellent. They almost feel like real people (in fact, i think they did use real people for motion capture. The credits at the end highlight how they had 'actors' and motion capture technology). Bravo, Capcom.

Isn't there an award giving body out there for works like this? It's MACHINMA, and it's the best MACHINMA I've ever watched. Emotionally stirring, highly visceral, and just downright effective. Normally I'd never find myself cheering on the inclusion of a lot of cutscenes in a game---but DEAD RISING just nails it. The cutscenes are a great reward to the player for each little sidequest and case investigation that they do. What used to be Capcom's worst strength in games (storyline) is now their best, and that can be seen in Dead Rising.


If there were an Oscar for video game acting, Dead Rising would win by a landslide.

And that's just me gushing about the cutscenes. I'll spend the rest of my time with the in-game action.

They weren't kidding when they said "anything and everything is a weapon". Dead Rising lets you use most things that you can find in the mall as a weapon to defend yourself with. And what really sets the action apart is your actual interaction with zombies. The zombies in the game are no joke, they are out to kill you and you have to move really quickly if you want to survive. There are literally HUNDREDS of zombies is each area of the game, and in one key moment you're surrounded by thousands of them at the basement of the mall. That's got to be my most favorite moment of the game. What's cool about that one is that the time limit really gives you that feeling of desparation.....in that basement scene you have to do something to save the mall, but a riot is about to break out among the survivors in the safehouse (the survivors you just rescued). When you look at how many zombies are under the mall, you will start feeling the pressure. I haven't seen a game like this before, where there are literally thousands of enemies blocking your path. I felt desperation in that part of the game, to the point that when a group of zombies attacks my character, I would literally shout at the screen in frustration (perhaps this is accentuated by the fact that you can't simply save in this spot and start over!!!) because I was running out of time and I had to accomplish the goal. Factor in the fact that there's another lunatic down there trying to stop you from accomplishing your goal and there you have it. Now that's a winning game design moment right there. I haven't played a game in a long time that gets me THAT emotional about the story or the characters. Heck, I haven't played an RPG that has made me feel that emotional in years.


Yes, this moment is in the game.


The animation work on the characters, the zombies---everything in Dead Rising, is above and beyond everything else I've played on the Xbox 360 so far. Even the simple action of hacking zombies to pieces is well executed and convincing on screen. Very rare slowdown moments occur, but I hardly even remember them at all--they weren't that jarring to gameplay. Also I admire the amount of detail that Capcom's developers put into this title. Now who's to say that Japanese developers are incapable of putting detail in their games? And what I liked about the detail in Dead Rising is that there is ENOUGH of it. It's never too much to slow down the screen, but it's never too little that it looks like a previous generation title.


The clown community won't be too happy with how they're portrayed in this one.

So I can't imagine in my mind why the hell did this game get an 8 with most sites? Are they on CRACK or something???! Here we are with a game that we've NEVER seen implemented at this scale with THIS level of quality ---and it deserves a fucking 8?!!? What the heck!? Have game review sites literally lost touch with their audience??? People, this is the best ACTION game I've ever played, in YEARS. It's only potentially rivaled right now by two upcoming games, Lost Planet and Gears of War---but Dead Rising delivers something that those games *probably* never will, and that's just sheer visceral mayhem at an EPIC scale.

The common complaint is with the save system---but I admire CAPCOM for having the BALLS to do this kind of save system. It introduces one thing that most games of this caliber lack---CONSEQUENCES FOR YOUR ACTIONS. It makes the game branch out in different directions depending on how you play. Now THAT IS NEXT GEN, PEOPLE. If Capcom continues in this direction when it comes to game design, they're in for even more Triple A games in the future. I completely disagree with everyone who says the save system in this game is 'broken'. It's a game design that introduces consequences and challenge to the title that is unseen in most other titles which just let you 'continue' and beat the game in a day. This is the type of game that just begs to be played again and again, because you want to see and experience everything it has to offer.

That is something that has never been delivered by other action/sandbox titles. The game even has several endings, and when it ends....oh, I just can't spoil it! But what happens, just ROCKS.

Dead Rising is a truly next-generation title that has never been done right in the past. I'd say it even rivals, no, SURPASSES Capcom's other Zombie series, Resident Evil---in sheer viscerality, non-stop action and quality of story and characters. In summary, these are why I think Dead Rising deserves a 10:

1. Delivers on its promises of next-generation action and violence.
2. Beautiful graphics with enough detail to keep the framerate rock solid (reportedly the framerate is 30 FPS, but I can't see it---it's so smooth that I mistake it to be 60 FPS).
3. Amazing realistic work on the characters, and somehow Capcom made realistic characters NOT LOOK BORING/GENERIC!
4. Amazing 'character acting' that deserves some kind of MACHINMA award. They even have convincing facial expressions and gestures which can get you emotionally involved at some point. Somehow this makes you forget the fact that the story is quite simple (and has been done before)---isn't that what counts? It's a fresh take on a story that has been told time and again in many other games...it's just well crafted and well-executed.
5. Brilliant save system and time-based quest system, which really makes you feel that 'desperation' which you'd probably have if you were really in this kind of situation (stuck in a mall with zombies!)
6. Beautiful animation work...fighting zombies and killing off hundreds of them has never been more satisfying. It will be hard to top this, people. Especially in the 'basement' scene. Now that just ROCKS.

Can Capcom top themselves when they get Biohazard 5 out the door in a year or two? Dead Rising just raised that bar way, way up. I find myself looking forward more to the sequel to Dead Rising than to the next Resident Evil. It's just the right way to do a zombie game. Congratulations to Capcom, you guys deserve that 500K sales in two weeks that you got for this game. Heck, you deserve even more. Dead Rising defines next-generation ultra-violent action; it just set the standard. I bet the developers of Capcom's Resident Evil series are going to be looking at this one and saying..."How can we possibly top THAT game?!"