You begin your journey to Willamette Mall via a small helicopter flying over a rural city in Colorado. Frank and the pilot exchange a few sentences about why he is there, and you discover that Frank has been tipped off that something big is about to happen in Willamette. As you cruise above the small town, you will notice that the military has blocked off all access to Willamette. Frank then requests a closer look, and you are taken into the city. As you fly closer to the city, you begin taking aerial photographs of the happenings in town. You take notice of the violent nature of some of the people in town, and quickly realize that something has gone terribly wrong here. You are then taken to the roof of the local mall, where you will discover what has happened to the people of Willamette. You descend from the roof of the mall, into the main entrance lobby of the mall. You are greeted by a few characters that will soon meet an unfortunate fate. One of these characters is an hysterical elderly woman, who will stop at nothing to find her little lost poodle. Stop at nothing means, “I am going to open these barricaded doors that are holding off hoards of zombies, so that I can save my stupid dog, no matter the cost humanity will suffer because of it.” Yep, that is how zombies get into the mall, a dumb, old lady. The story here is nothing earth shattering, but the secrecy, strange people and government cover-ups should keep you interested between massive zombie killings.
The staple of Dead Rising isn’t a great combat system, smooth controls or a great narrative. What makes Dead Rising rise above most zombie games, (see what I did there), is that you can use virtually anything in the mall as a weapon to kill zombies. That is right, almost anything. See that potted plant? Weapon. What about all those umbrellas that cascade over the tables in the food court? Weapons. Hey, are those a sack of precious jewels from the local jewelry store? Weapons. Yes, the amount of items used to kill zombies in Dead Rising is massive and creative, but it is not the only thing the game offers in terms of gameplay. As you make your way through the zombie infested mall, you will begin with one mode. This mode is called 72 Hour Mode, which is the main story mode that leaves you inside the mall for 72 hours, surprising, I know. During this 72 hour period, you can do whatever the hell you want. Save people, do the main missions, kill zombies or run around all willy nilly. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you make it back to the roof, 72 hours after you landed so that the helicopter that dropped you off can pick you back up again. This isn’t 72 hours in real time, but in simulated game time, so don’t worry about having to sink 72 hours to finish the game if you don’t want to.
While you can kill massive amounts of zombies in Dead Rising, you can also take interesting photographs (Frank is a photojournalist you know). These pictures, just like killing zombies, will net you PP, which are points needed to level up. You can gain PP by taking great pictures, killing zombies in interesting ways, completing missions, saving survivors or upping your total kill count. As you level up, you are treated to more health nodes, more inventory slots and even special moves Frank can execute in order to destroy more zombies. At first, the controls will seem a bit wonky, especially the aiming of the camera and guns, but they are very quick to adjust too. The mechanics of the combat leave something to be desired, but the auto lock on feature when you flick your stick towards the zombie you want to attack is usually spot on. The inventory is easy to access, just by pushing the left or right bumpers in the direction you want to sift through, you can highlight whatever weapon you want quickly and easily. The game is certainly not the sharpest controlled game, but it could very easily be a lot worse.
Here is the best part of the game, the cost. Right now, the cheapest place to buy the game is at GameStop, used. There is will cost you about $4.99, and if you are a pro member at GameStop, you will get ten percent off the purchase of a used game, making your grand total around $4.50. You can also find a used copy of the game at comparable prices over at Amazon.com. If used isn’t somewhere you want to go, amazon.com, as well as, newegg.com have new copies of the game for sale, both hovering around the $10.00 range. If you have never experienced Dead Rising and you own an Xbox 360, five dollars is more than worth the cost of this game.
- GameStop: $4.99 Used Pro Member 10 percent off, $4.50
- Amazon Between $3.50-$6.00 Used. Around $10.00 New
- New Egg Around $10.00
Listen, this was a great game for $60.00 back in the day. With the massive increase in Xbox 360 hardware sales since 2006, there are many Xbox 360 owners who may have never played this game, especially since most console selling games had not been released yet (Gears of War, BioShock, Halo 3). So to be able to experience this game for a measly $5-$10 dollars is such a steal. The gameplay is fun and innovative, the story is decent and will hold your attention and it has fucking zombies in it, that is reason enough to buy the game. There will be times when you are surrounded by hordes of the dead, and you will begin to feel anxiety set in. These are moments that cannot be passed up, especially if they are as cheap as a used copy of DEad Rising. So, if you haven’t played this game, love zombies or are just looking for something new to play, Dead Rising is certainly worth your time and money.