Dead Rising follows the harrowing tale of Frank West, an overly zealous freelance photojournalist on the hunt for the scoop of a lifetime. In pursuit of a juicy lead, he makes his way to a small suburban town only to find that it has become overrun by zombies. He escapes to the local shopping mall, thinking it will be a bastion of safety yet it turns out to be anything but… It will be a true struggle to survive the endless stream of the undead and players will have full reign of a realistic shopping centre, utilising anything they find to fight off the flesh-hungry mob and search for the truth behind the horrendous epidemic.
Dead Rising features an open level of freedom and a vast array of gameplay possibilities. Like what we saw in the TV series 24 (except this time you have 72 hours), time is dynamic and you have the choice on how you want to spend this time, either helping other trapped civilians, mowing down zombie hordes or just hiding behind a pot plant for hours. But time can also play a negative role as your enemies become stronger and more determined when the sun goes down, making even simple walks downstairs to the sporting store a deadly affair. During the day, it’s their shear numbers that can soon over-power you unless you wield a trusty baseball bat or samurai sword.
To add to the horror, these never-ending waves of zombies are made up of a diverse population of former humans that have retained some memory of their previous lives, which is reflected in their behaviour and appearance. Not only does this make for a large variety of different characters – it also creates a slight sense of guilt when you smack an old lady in the face with a golf club.
The ample supply of different stores in the mall offers players an endless resource of makeshift weapons, food and even vehicles. We can honestly say that practically everything you see can be used as a weapon (with some very satisfying results). We’re talking coat hangers, lawn mowers, soccer balls, road cones (can be popped on the heads of zombies thus rendering them “headless”), toy laser swords, skateboards, CDs, garden rakes – not to mention the ample numbers of actual guns that you can score. Frank’s also got a number of truly insane hand-to-hand combat moves he can gain throughout the course of the game. From punching a zombie in the gut and disemboweling it with a single thrust to wacky wrestling moves like German suplexes and giant swings, odds are you’ve never combated the undead quite like this.
Not a game for the kiddies (rated R16) but an absolute must for anyone who loved the classic Romero zombie film Dawn of the Dead.