Every good game as far as you can think back has had at least one feature that has made it stand out from the rest, whether it be N in its simplicity, Civilization in its all-encompassing polish, The Elder Scrolls in its size, or in Dead Rising's case, in its masses and masses and masses and MASSES AND MASSES of zombies. While these aren't the whole game by a long shot, having the ability to simply get in a car and drive through literally thousands of the walking dead really conveys how well CAPCOM have got this fancy swarm technology to work for them.
One can't forget though, one feature doesn't make a game, it complements it.
I must confess, I am biased to free roaming games. Sometimes I can't help but just grab a random plane in GTA and just fly around for a while, and at first glance Dead Rising seems to follow this. You can pretty much grab anything not nailed down in the mall and hit/shoot/throw it at a passing crowd of zombies, but when it comes to the story, you not only feel like you can't explore, you quite paradoxically get regularly pushed to opposite sides of the mall. This might not make sense when you read it the first time so let me explain. The story is basically chunks of a few hours where you have to rush madly around with the mall guard Otis ringing you every 6 seconds because he saw something vaguely flash past a security monitor. This usually means someone, somewhere is either sitting, waiting to kill you or sitting around waiting to die in some inventive and probably painful way. And of course only you can save them, once you get back to the control room don't expect any help from the groups of people you save (save for a few admittedly interesting occurances).
I'm not saying that the story is bad, it's a good story, twists, turns, fist fights with tank commanders, its just the mechanic behind the players interaction with the story isn't the best. Don't even get me started on how you can only save when you go to the toilet or in the security room, let me just say the first time I went through the game the only toilet I ever found was so close to the security room it was pretty pointless.
So this really doesn't give you any incentive TO go back to the security room. I have never tried it myself, but there is nothing really stopping you from going to the gunshop with a small army and coming out with a rather well armed, small army that starts screaming and crying randomly which gets annoying after a while "What are we doing here?!" is a common one. "I'll tell you what we are doing, we are trying to freaking stay alive so stop crying and shoot that zombie standing RIGHT NEXT TO YOU with the shotgun I JUST GAVE YOU!". Yes the AI does get a little annoying after a while, works great for mindless zombies, but sometimes make you think if all thats changed is people started eating each other.
The graphics are quite good, nothing spectacular, but quite a step up from the norm, lots of satisfying, yet eventually repetitive blood splatter that can get you quite messy. The costumes are the best in this catagory, whether you like dressing up in kids novelty masks, megaman gear or if you're into that sort of thing, dresses. You should find something that keeps you occupied for a few more minutes.
As for music, it really isn't that great, the background mall music is a nice touch, and a bit catchy, but overall, it really is sub-par. Sort of like the stuff you might find in a fighting or racing game.
So all in all, redone theme, poor music, ok visuals, reasonably good story, lots and LOTS of mindless killing ; an all round above average game.