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Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition

Score: 80%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2 (Online)
Genre: Action/ Free-Roaming/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

I guess Iím something of a hipster when it comes to the zombie craze. Iíd gotten over the shambling, brainless, lethargic killing machines before they were popularized by games like Left 4 Dead and Call of Duty: World at War. By all rights, Dead Rising should have been the post-Resident Evil 4 zombie game for me: it was witty, campy, and did an admirable job of actually bringing the scope and scale of the zombie apocalypse to the small screen. But in the end, I was alienated by the gameís suffocating time constraint-based structure and perhaps the worst shooting mechanics Iíve ever experienced in a third person game. So ultimately, I never saw it or its sequel to the end. But then Dead Rising 3 came along, shedding much of what held its predecessors back and ultimately becoming the zombie game Iíve always wanted to play. Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition for the PC fancies itself an "ultimate" edition of the game, complete with enhanced visual options and downloadable content that Xbox One owners would have had to purchase separately. While this release is not an ideal port (at least as far as PC games go), itís still worth a look for anyone yearning for an entertaining open-world adventure.

Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition performs decently enough, provided your rig isnít too dated. My two year-old gaming laptop shoulders the burden of the gameís technical weight admirably, without any serious hiccups. But most games seem to be at their best on a powerful gaming PC, and frankly, the jury is still out in this regard; while it runs fine and doesnít seem prone to any game-breaking issues, the word "optimization" doesnít seem to apply yet. Perhaps Capcom simply wanted to get through the launch and allow the community to pick up some of the slack. If that was the case, you might want to hold tight Ė especially if this kind of thing is important to you. Artistically and technically, Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition isnít terribly impressive, but judging this gameís visuals on those merits alone is kind of missing the point. Here, the magic is in the animation... and in the carnage. This game portrays the fragility of the living corpse perhaps better than every other game of this sort that Iíve played. It doesnít take much for a zombie to start flying apart, piece by piece. Standard combat does a good job of illustrating this, but the numerous finishing moves go even further. A vertical sledgehammer swing will reduce a geek to a pair of bloody legs, while a swipe from a scythe cuts through skulls, ribcages, and pelvises like a hot knife through butter. Itís gloriously nasty stuff.

Technically, Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition sounds great. The soundtrack is energetic and exciting, and the sound effects are grisly enough to make you wonder exactly what methods the developers chose to resort to in order to get the desired effect. Voice work is kind of a mixed bag, but itís not the fault of the actors, who, by and large, turn in good performances. The thing is, sometimes Dead Rising 3 doesnít know what it wants to embrace: the schlocky stupidity of Borderlands and Mad Max or the deadly desperation of The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later. Some of the musical cues and some of the lines make the game come across as thematically incongruous. But Iím probably looking too deeply into this; the best I can say is that itís always entertaining on some level.


Gameplay:

Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition reintroduces us to the same blighted world in which former protagonists Frank West and Chuck Greene struggled for survival. And with this new installment comes a new locale: Los Perdidos, a fictional Californian city. You are Nick Ramos, a skilled auto mechanic who just happens to be caught up in the latest mess posed by the zombie outbreak. As illustrated in Dead Rising 2, infection is not a death sentence, especially with the proliferation of the anti-zombification drug hilariously named Zombrex. Now, individuals are required by law to be surgically implanted with a special GPS-equipped microchip programmed to dispense Zombrex when the host individual is in danger of turning. Naturally, a state in fear is a state in chaos; an alarming number of rebellious individuals refuse the chip, illegally coexisting with those who are protected. But things seemed to be going fine until one "illegal" turned and ultimately triggered a brand new outbreak in Los Perdidos. So between the mindless mass of reanimated (and hungry) flesh, the scorched earth policy of the powers-that-be, and the psychopaths thriving on bloody anarchy, Nick and his allies have the odds stacked against them.

Nick may be a softhearted individual when you compare him to most other postapocalyptic heroes, but he is both adaptable and crafty. Like those of Frank and Chuck, Nick's metabolic processes allow him to shrug off devastating injuries simply by consuming anything that's even remotely edible. Okay, so that's not a plot point, but it's no less true. Not only is the guy a survivor, he's a thriver. He's part Rumplestiltskin, part Tony Stark; he can spin garbage into gold. Detritus scattered on the street can quickly be transformed into something deadly. Granted, Los Perdidos is oh-so-conveniently littered with stores that happen to sell sledgehammers and scythes... and katanas... and rocket-propelled grenades...

So as Nick, you traipse across town doing what needs doing in the set time allotted before the military nuke the place to oblivion. And it's here that Dead Rising 3's greatest pleasures await. There's a lot to see and do in this town, from discovering new survival methods to finding escape attempts gone bad to the plethora of collectibles scattered across the city. Oh, and you'll also have your chance to coat the streets and walls with gore. Combat is the driving force behind character progression this time around, and as you earn PP, you level up and earn Attribute Points, which can be spent on upgrades such as extra life, inventory space, and more.

So what's new about this new edition? The "Untold Stories of Los Perdidos" were released as four separate downloadable episodes featuring new protagonists, weapons, and vehicles. I wouldn't argue any of the content contained therein is any better or worse than the core game, but it at least shows that more of the same can be a good thing sometimes.

And of course, you can bring a friend to join in the silly misanthropy. Co-op is great fun, whether you're slicing and dicing together or competing to see who can put together the dumbest outfit. Opportunities for emergent gameplay abound in Dead Rising 3, and for me, that's the mark of a good game.


Difficulty:

Unlike its predecessors, Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition isnít a difficult game. And to be honest, this lessened difficulty can be attributed to better game design. The deservedly-maligned save system of games past has been replaced by autosaves and the ability to save at any time.

Certain difficulty-lessening quirks seem a bit too much, however. Whenever you discover a new combo blueprint, you will always find the necessary components within armís reach of the blueprint itself. And once you construct the weapon for the first time, your weapon storage locker will contain an infinite number of the weapon. Not that I mind or anything; itís really empowering and all, but some players might not appreciate what could be interpreted as coddling.


Game Mechanics:

Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition is just like Dead Rising games of the past, only with better controls, a less contrived player growth system, and gunplay that is actually functional. Unlike Frank and Chuck, Nick is strong, fast, and agile. Heís no Ezio Auditore, but he can make his way to the roof of a building quite ably.

The popular combo weapon system from Dead Rising 2 makes a return, and itís just as good as itís ever been. As Nick scours Los Perdidos for anything that might help him survive, he will come across tools that just seem like they should go together. In an additional departure (and improvement) from previous games, Nick can construct combo weapons on the fly; he doesnít need to find a safehouse and a workbench. If he has a sledgehammer and a cement saw, he can put it together in the middle of a mob as long as they donít hit him.

One key addition to the formula is that of combo vehicles. Got a standard car and an armored behemoth? You can have the best of both worlds by cannibalizing them into a better whole. Granted, I donít personally find the vehicular gameplay to be as fun or rewarding as the on-foot exploration, but itís a nice option to have when you really need to get somewhere quick.

Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition is a solid port of a solid game, and Iíd even call it best in series. That being said, the game is best played in quick bursts, as it does get old after a while. If youíre sick of the zombie apocalypseís attempts at seriousness, Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition is your huckleberry.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

Minimum System Requirements:



OS: Windows 7 64-bit edition, Windows 8 64-bit edition; Processor: Intel Core i3-3220 @ 3.30GHz (or Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 @ 2.83GHz) / AMD Phenom II X4 945 @ 3.00 GHz or higher; Memory: 6 GB RAM; Graphics: NVIDIAģ GeForceģ GTX 570 / AMD Radeon 7870 or higher; DirectX: Version 11; Network: Broadband Internet connection; Hard Drive: 30 GB available space; Sound Card: DirectX 11 Compatible sound card; Additional Notes: Broadband internet connection is required for Co-op play.
 

Test System:



ASUS G74S Series, Intel Core I7 - 2670QM, 2.2 GHz, Windows 7 Premium, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M, 12 GB RAM

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