Also On: PS4, PC
Developer: Capcom Vancouver
It’s hard to believe that the original Dead Rising was released 10 years ago. Games have changed in so many fundamental ways since then. Graphics are the most obvious evolution, but the controls are one of the most important changes. In the case of Dead Rising, this is something that shows its age when revisiting the original game.
After playing Dead Rising 3, I found that it could be a challenge to go back to the original control scheme. My reason was as simple as muscle memory. We are accustomed to playing games nowadays with current controls that are typically similar to each other. Ultimately, I feel we have been spoiled by how games have evolved over the years. The Dead Rising series is no different.
The DR triple pack, which for the first time outside of the Xbox 360 includes, the original Dead Rising. Also included is the sequels Dead Rising 2 and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record. What would have made this collection complete is the two digital only releases from Xbox Live. Fellow editor Paul R agreed with me that maybe we will get them as backward compatibility for Xbox One. Note: (The DR games are only available as a bundle digitally. Sold Separate on disc.)
For those new to the franchise, Dead Rising is a series that focuses on surviving a zombie apocalypse. This isn’t in the same realm of survival horror games like Resident Evil and Dead Space. DR offers more humor and a less serious take on the genre with the ability to change into wild and crazy outfits and use just about anything as a weapon. This is what has made the series memorable.
Playing the original DR brought me back to when I was first given the game by wife Jessica for my birthday. I played it for hours upon hours and even attempted to rescue every civilian and was unsuccessful. Playing the game 10 years later makes me feel old. Not much has changed other than the HD textures and smoother framerates. All of the DLC costumes and weapons for each game are included as well.
In the first game you play as Frank West, a photojournalist that had a helicopter drop him off in the middle of the madness in Willamette Colorado to get the scoop of his career. Frank ends up in the town’s mall, which is filled with the undead as well as survivors. You have 72 hours to find out what’s going on and get the hell out of there when the chopper comes back for you.
There is a ton to do during your timed run through. Taking pictures, killing zombies, finding clues to what happened and maybe save some people while you’re at it. The game can be a ton of fun, when you are worrying about yourself. Sometimes you have worry about others, and it can be a real drag.
As I revisited DR, one thing kept going through my head. “How did we tolerate escorting survivors?” I don’t remember it being an easy task, but I literally found myself dying over and over trying to escort someone back to the safe room. This was something that reminded me how much the series has evolved. It will be a tough sell for newcomers to these entries.
The majority of my time with the triple pack has been on the original since both DR2 and DR2: Off the Record both made significant changes to improve the mechanics that made it to DR3. As I mentioned before, these re-releases, like most this year, are exactly that and not much more. These are really for the fan boys like fellow editor Paul “Triple R” and myself.
The only real downside to the pack is the lack of a modern control scheme. For newcomers to the series, they may find the progress and enjoyable evolution. Starting with the original and working your way up to the eventual release of DR4, it’s a path worth the trip. The original holds a special place in my heart. Despite the dated controls and frustrating AI, there’s so much more to the game that makes each play through worthwhile. Most of the hiccups were addressed in DR2 which is a plus.
It’s great to finally see Dead Rising on multiple consoles and give current gen players the ability to get some time in with the series before the launch of DR4 on Xbox One, PC and eventually PS4.