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Dead Rising 3

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Dead Rising 3

One of the most anticipated launch titles for the Xbox One, Dead Rising 3 is fantastic, despite all the worries about it moving away from the silliness that had previously made the franchise great. With the addition of Combo Vehicles and the expansion of Combo Weapons, there are some completely outrages things that can be created to mow down all manner of zombies. 

Speaking of Zombies, the power of the Xbox One really does show off just how many zombies can be on screen at any one given time. It's certainly intimidating, and can be a bit of a nightmare to navigate if you don't have a vehicle and are running out of weapons. While it’s impressive, there are occasional moments when the frame rate does dip a little bit. Although this doesn't necessarily affect your enjoyment, it does make things a little frustrating in wide open areas where a lot of things are going on. This isn't exactly common, however, and doesn't happen often enough to warrant any real major complaints. 

While the game plays exactly like the previous entries in the series, there have been some improvements to the way you play around. The most noticeable improvement is to the shooting mechanic. While it does auto-lock onto your targets, making it a bit easier to quickly eliminate any threats around you, aiming itself has seen a vast improvement, meaning that it actually feels pretty good to get as many headshots as you can manage. It's refreshing to have these guns feel less of a burden, and it's even better to see more combo weapons involving guns too. 

The game structure is much the same as last time. You have a specific amount of days to accomplish your task before something bad happens and you have to escape. There have been some changes to this however.. There is a lot more to do in Dead Rising 3 regarding side missions, with some being clearing out hordes of zombies around unfortunate survivors. This doesn't necessarily mean they follow you, but does reward you with PP to level up your character. 

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While levelling your character was completely linear previously, now you get a choice. Each time you gain a level you gain some Attribute Points. These can be allocated into a number of different categories from health to ranged weapons, giving you upgrades in different stats depending on which you decide to level up first. There's even an option to unlock different categories of combo weapons and vehicles, just to find them a little easier. 

The main story is also fairly well written. The characters are interesting, the dialogue is good and the story is genuinely interesting overall. There doesn't seem to be as much of a push to do the story immediately either, so the whole thing feels a little slower paced. Everything is a bit more deliberate so it feels like you have a little more time to participate in side missions and other events without feeling like you miss the main story beats. While the timers are still in place, they just seem a little more forgiving. 

Survivors themselves seem a bit smarter too while they're still a bit of a burden they at least have a bit more smarts. You can give them weapons, food and commands and they follow you around and help you fight. They don't appear as often as they used to, and for many players this is a welcome tweak, but there are many different safe houses around the map so taking them along with you isn't so bad and can actually (on occasion) be a huge help. 

The looks of the game have actually changed for this new generation. While the game does look a little more grey and brown, it doesn't lack colour. It's all a bit muted, but it works well for the sombre tone of the game when it's not being overly silly. While that charm is still there, it's slightly understated nature does benefit the game somewhat. It feels like it's trying to be a better game without leaning completely on the insanity the series is known for, having more of a consistent tone while still making fun of itself throughout.

It's a great sounding game too. The vehicles sound powerful, the zombies sound threatening and some of the more peculiar combo weapons have some hilarious sound effects. While the sound effects are a high point, the music itself is regrettably, somewhat forgettable. It's unfortunate, but the majority of the time it sinks into the background and you don't really hear it. There are no familiar tunes that creep up and aside from some songs on the radio, there's nothing else to really pay attention to. 

With the Xbox One, Microsoft decided to integrate Smartglass a little better than they did previously. No longer is it purely a way to type in names and codes easier than the fiddly controller based keyboard. The Dead Rising 3 companion app is amazingly unique in that it completely compliments the gameplay in a few meaningful, interesting and downright awesome ways. Some of these are simple, like marking a specific type of weapon or food nearby via the waypoint system in game. Others are a bit more complex, like calling and receiving phone calls which lead you to alternative side quests that wouldn't previously have been available. There are numerous app updates scattered around the game and there's a number of other features that just make it interesting. That being said, it's a little clunky in that you have to look down to your phone to see what's happening, and without pausing the game that could mean running into some extremely dangerous situations. It's a small gripe for an otherwise great addition. 

Overall, this is a great launch title for the new console. It still retains the charm of the previous Dead Rising games while maturing a little and being slightly more compelling at the same time. The gameplay is tighter, there's a lot more freedom, there's plenty of weapons, gadgets and vehicles to slay zombies with and there's a hell of a lot of zombies around. There are other game modes available and, of course, online co-op to join your friends for the zombie slaying action. It's a complete package with the promise of more “Episodes” DLC with new characters, missions, weapons and vehicles. There's a lot to enjoy here and a lot to look forward to in the future.

Score: 8.5/10

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