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E3 2013 Preview: Dead Rising 3

Capcom didn’t have a whole lot to show at E3 2013. The beginning and end of their booth was the huge area for Dead Rising 3, exclusive for the Xbox One. Even worse, the booth only let you have a hands-off demo, a guided tour of the game by the developers. Capcom was obviously banking on Dead Rising 3 being their rising star of this year. Did they succeed?

In some ways, yes. Dead Rising 3 is easily the biggest Dead Rising yet. The whole game takes place in what is essentially a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. So you will have to contend with zombies roaming the streets, hiding out in houses, and even shambling along the sewers. Instead of just one safe house, there will be numerous safe houses strewn around the city, and yes they can get overrun.

In addition, nearly everything is intractable this time around. Need a weapon? Pull a board off a house or a leg off a chair. Quickly duct tape a chainsaw to the end of a bat to make an improvised weapon. Spend your days scavenging for food and your nights hiding from a ravenous zombie swarm.

Gunplay has also come back in force. Not only are guns and ammo far more common in Dead Rising 3, but they are also needed. Zombies are far more resilient now, and ducking behind cover in order to shoot at them from a safe location seems to be a fairly standard way to handle huge zombie hordes. Unlike previous Dead Risings which asked you to hold off on using your ammo until a boss appeared, Dead Rising 3 has you shooting at just about everything that comes your way. These aren’t handguns either. These are full blown military assault rifles.

This is actually where the game ended up losing me. You see Dead Rising 1 and 2 had a certain feel to them, a schlocky zombie movie feel that no other game had. The psychopaths in the game were almost cartoony in the way they were deranged, walking among zombies as if there were no problem. The idea of a zombie plague being spread by bees, and the antidote being made by coffee creamer was absurd, and we liked it that way.

But Dead Rising 3 is an entirely different experience. Everything in the game is dark and gritty. Everything is drawn in shades of grey and brown. Weapons aren’t absurd anymore, they are military issue fire-arms. It feels more like a Call of Duty game than a Dead Rising game. Perhaps this was an attempt by Capcom to reach out to the Xbox One market, or perhaps it was an attempt by Capcom to take their Dead Rising franchise in a new artistic direction. Whatever it is, it just doesn’t feel right. I wasn’t having fun with the game anymore. I was just surviving. This might be an awesome message for games like The Walking Dead, but for Dead Rising, it just doesn’t fit.

Dead Rising 3 is expected to come out late 2013 with the launch of the Xbox One.

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