New consoles may be all about the exclusive games available for them, but it was still a surprise when it emerged that Capcom’s much-loved zombie-genocide toy-box Dead Rising would be taking its next-gen bow solely on the Xbox One. Fortunately, it offers plenty in the form of bragging rights.
Initially, though, it doesn’t impress as much as you might have hoped. Visually, it’s not the next generation level you’d expect, with unconvincing textures and a general level of crispness that looks more Xbox 360 than Xbox One. But importantly, it really does feel like a next-gen game. Capcom has clearly put the main thrust of its efforts into what lies beneath the surface, coming up with a huge city, Los Perdidos (reminiscent of LA’s dodgier parts), which is jam-packed with zombies.
You play Nick Ramos, lowly mechanic. Frankly, he’s a bit gormless, but at least he’s good at building stuff – and that’s what Dead Rising 3 is all about. More or less anything you find can be turned into an implement for reducing zombies to random body parts and hunks of meat, as long as you find the right blueprints – a rake and a katana, say, or a sledgehammer and a circular saw. But the crafting extends to vehicles (a particularly satisfying means of dismembering hundreds of zombies in a few seconds flat) and even food – combinations of which can give you extra powers (Heston Blumenthal would approve).
The end result is a delicious zombie-playground: the biggest, most intense one you’ve ever seen. You’ll need to take your time: the main story is pretty short, but there are vast numbers of side-missions, survivors to rescue, zombie-killing challenges and collectibles, alongside an almost confusingly extensive levelling/upgrade system that becomes surprisingly addictive.
There’s loads of replay value, and you can play co-operatively online, or attempt the fearsome Nightmare mode when you’ve levelled up. Dead Rising 3 may not be the best-looking game, but it takes the irresistible business of zombie-despatching to whole new heights.
Reviewed by Steve Boxer