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Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition review for PC

Platform: PC
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes
ESRB: M

I’ve put a dumb amount of time into Dead Rising 3 on the Xbox One, searching out collectibles and blueprints, attempting to clear Nightmare mode, and to see just how many zombies I could kill in one continuous combo. It’s a game that I didn’t think I would enjoy based on its initial lackluster reveal, but it quickly became my favorite in the series. Dead Rising 3’s protagonist Nick is no Frank West, sure, but by and large it’s a really fun game.

It’s a shame that this PC port isn’t better though. Dubbed Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition, this port features the core game and the four DLC packs labeled as “The Untold Stories of Los Perdidos”. And of course it features the typical bells and whistles you’d expect from most Steam products, like achievements, trading cards, controller support, and even mouse and keyboard support. As an overall package it’s not bad, priced at $49.99, which is essentially where the standard MSRP is for the Xbox One title. Sure, you can argue that sale prices and used prices drive that bargain down a bit, but with the DLC included it doesn’t feel like PC players are being screwed here.

DR3_PC_Sept05_07The real issue with Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse comes from the performance side. Granted, I’m not playing on a high-end PC. My current rig is an i5-4670k with a nVidia GTX 750ti card and 8 gigs of RAM. With this moderate amount of power behind it, Dead Rising 3 runs into serious issues on the default high setting, and that’s before I try cranking the resolution up to 1080p (high still sticks at 720 for some reason). There’s been a lot of talk about how the game is capped at 30 frame per second, but the review code we were provided also gave instructions on creating a user.ini file to unlock the framerate. The only issue that this seemed to cause was rendering issues with zombies, with certain types coming out purple and green, as if their textures didn’t load in.

DR3_PC_Sept05-DLCWith the high settings enabled, I’m still able to run the game right around 30 frames per second, but noticed frequent drops into the low 20’s. Cutscenes are a bigger resource hog, with constant screen-tearing present with or without v-sync enabled, and the framerate drops even more, causing a noticeable stuttering effect. The medium default works out better, but still falls short of that 60 frames per second goal, hovering around 35 to 45 fps, and cutscenes are still a mess. However, the default low settings push me at or above 60 fps, and oddly enough, cutscenes are improved even more, often performing better than the actual gameplay segments of Dead Rising 3.

Essentially, the game will work on a mid-range system, but you’ll be sacrificing a hefty amount of visual fidelity if you’re dead set on higher framerates. And while the game never ran particularly well on the Xbox One either, it at least looked better than this even when the framerate took a dive. I might be a bit behind the curve on my PC system specs, but I’d expect a better performance out of this system than what I saw in Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition.

DR3_PC_Sept05_06Outside of the performance issues, I still think Dead Rising 3 is a great game. If you didn’t play the Xbox One version for whatever reason, and have some interest in the weirdness of the series, then Dead Rising 3 won’t disappoint you one bit. The sheer number of zombies present, and the variety in objects you can interact and combine, will provide hours of enjoyment. The storyline straddles that serious/campy tone found in previous entries, and there’s some late game surprises that’ll please franchise fans. The vehicle combinations add a lot of appeal to the game as well, with entries like the steamroller bike providing useful, fun zombie slaughtering tools. And the larger scope of Los Perdidos, along with all the hidden collectibles, unique psychopath bosses, and other secrets make Dead Rising 3 a blast to explore.

I can’t suggest picking this up over the Xbox One version, at least until some of the performance kinks get ironed out (assuming they ever do). But if you have yet to experience Dead Rising 3, then this might be worth a look. But if you value performance over everything else, you’d do well to play the waiting game and see what fixes, if any, the community may produce.

Grade: B-