When I first purchased my Xbox 360 there were only a few games I actually wanted, one of them being Dead Rising. Released on August 9, 2006 Dead Rising was one of the fasted selling exclusive titles to the 360 at the time. Dead Rising was developed by Capcom with the help of lead producer Keiji Inafune, famous for his work on the Mega Man series. Developed in the classic sand box style (an open environment for the player to roam, with little boundaries) Dead Rising gives players an almost unlimited freedom of choice.
Dead Rising’s story comes straight out of George A. Romero’s movie Dawn of the Dead. You play as Frank West, a photo journalist who is investigating a plague in the fictional town of Willamette, Colorado. You are dropped off at a local mall by helicopter to discover it’s been infested with zombies. You’re given a 72 hour deadline to solve what happened to the sleepy little town of Willamette before your helicopter returns. Dead Rising’s story is presented in Case Files, each case file is a short mission that furthers the progression of the story. However these case files are not required to complete, and the player could simply wonder around the mall killing the undead with toy swords he found in a Toys-R-Us. Dead Rising's story is far from polemic or deep, but it makes up for this in its all-inclusive game play style.
This freedom of choice in game play is what draws me to Dead Rising. Unlike many of the modern games found today, Dead Rising encourages you to look at different paths to solve a problem (or to just ignore the problem all to gather.) I often found myself more interested in hording ammunition by using blunt weapons or kitchen knives, than wastefully using precious bullets. However, this play style wasn’t mandatory. Upon my second play through, I discovered I could be as wasteful as possible by changing my strategy on “zombie killing”.
The only aspect that I found annoying about Dead Rising, was Capcom’s choice on how the player would save his game. To save your game, the player must find the nearest restroom, and then “answer the call of nature.” Call it creative choice; this is just aggravating when you’re in the middle of play. We’ve all had those moments where you’re in the middle of a game and your boss, mom, or girlfriend called you away. It’s not always practical to leave the console on until you get back. So you panic and rush to find the nearest checkpoint, only to be killed by your careless dash to the next save point “or in this case bathroom.” Capcom could have easily fixed this, with the addition of a quick save function (the ability to save your game at any time.) I’ve heard the counter to this argument was that it increases the overall intensity and drama of the game, but I just found it tedious and silly.
Despite all of its flaws, Dead Rising is a really great game. It manages to do something that not many games have done in awhile, be genially fun. Dead Rising is one game that will be remembered for its fun - sometimes wacky - parody style of game play. I give Dead Rising an A for being one of the few games that made me smile all the way to the end.