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Games That Nobody Plays Anymore: Dead Rising

[Games That Nobody Plays Anymore is a weekly series written by Nathan Hardisty with a little title card help from Juan Houter. It’s an on-going series about the forgotten games of yesteryear, and doesn’t totally reflect the title. Remember; nobody stops playing these games; it’s just a title. Don’t make something of it or I will come down to your house and ask you politely to stop. If you have any suggestions for future titles to ‘GTNPA’ don’t forget to leave me a comment!]

As I was playing Dead Rising, around ten or so hours in, something occurred to me. A eureka moment. A massive explosion of review; I knew what I was going to write today. In fact, it took just one line to sum up my whole experience with Dead Rising. It’s a certain line from a certain post-apocalyptic co-operative zombie shooter from the guys at Valve. Left 4 Dead 2. This line is from one of my favourite characters in videogames, in recent years, and his name is Ellis. Ellis himself pretty much sums up Dead Rising on his own, just downright great, but one of the lines he speaks just sums it all up so darn perfectly. That line is…

“Oh my god, it’s Christmas!”

Zombie-game Christmas.

Dead Rising is so fresh for such an old title; and it’s considered by many to be the first ‘next gen’ videogame. It’s all the more odd that I consider this one of the greatest zombie games ever made (along with Left 4 Dead 2, Stubbs the Zombie and Resident Evil 4).  Dead Rising is not about giant character arcs or emotional attachment; it’s Christmas. It’s you throwing knifes in zombie’s faces, drinking milkshakes to run faster and even climbing around a restaurant in order to acquire a Katana sword. The plot pretty much revolves around a George Romero rip-off, but I don’t care. Capcom knew what they were doing and stickered a ‘SKIP CUTSCENE’ everywhere.

During a little trial and error period in which I kept getting slaughtered to death, in part of the mall, I discovered the oven. The oven would save my life. I found a combo of putting a frying pan on an oven, turning it into hot steel, then using it to literally burn zombies’ faces off. Burn zombies’ faces off. Just say that aloud. How downright brilliant does that sound. I imagine working on this game would be like… zombie game Christmas? You walk into work, sit down at your desk and then begin designing how to combine stuff to kill zombies. Chainsaws, powerdrills. When you level up your character, you eventually learn a move in which you can tear the guts out of a zombie. Frank pushes his fist into the zombie abdomen and tears out their organs.

It’s not a kid’s game.

I was afraid Dead Rising would be repetitive, I was afraid I’d be bored after three hours. After three hours, I was using both a speed milkshake and holding a chainsaw. That meant I was basically a hyper-active lumberjack in a mall corridor that is bursting to the seams with the undead. I found some survivors nearby, people who will follow you around and help you, you can take them to the security room for safety. Instead, I gave each of them a rake and got myself the katana. In less than three minutes, they were both dead, and I was fighting for my life against the endless horde. Instead of frustratingly tapping a button over and over, I decided to go mental and just jump in the air. Somewhere between a few levels, Frank had learned a few more moves, I was walking on top of zombies. Actually putting shoes on top of their heads. In the middle of the crowd I did a little knee drop and there was so much blood that the framerate dropped. Like, the game can’t handle how awesome itself is.

There are issues, which have already been brought up. For starters, I don’t like the save system that much, it seems a bit olden to me. In a game like Red Dead, you can put down a campfire anywhere and save there, but in here you have to walk all the way to the security room until you can park your head. I think it does somewhat turn you into a freakish save-system hogger later in the game at the upper levels, as you will be fighting to keep your levels high when you reload the game. Another issue is you have to stand in one spot and shoot, and you can’t strafe or do crazy stuff. Resident Evil 5 syndrome. Other than a few other control issues, the technical problems, I love this game. I hate myself so much more for missing out on it in the first place. Every time I pick up the case I have to think to myself…

“Oh my god, it’s Christmas!”

Next week: A little bit of haddock (COD) with World at War.

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  • M.A.

    Write about HAWX; I was playing it on my 360 a few days ago and online is like a ghost town. Hardly anyone playing…

    • Aaron

      Back when I got my 360 in the summer of ’07, I always said Dead Rising was one of those games i would pick up eventually. Finally I did last summer. I didn’t like it much at first, but that’s because I’m the type of gamer who wants to try to do everything, even if he doesn’t complete everything, and this game doesn’t allow that in a single playthrough. Once I got past that, I had a ball.

      I enjoyed the storyline, too! Frank West was a solid character, and watching him go through everything in the game was actually pretty cool. Bring on DR2…

  • FemalePheromones

    You don’t have to always go back to the security room to save the game, you can save the game in any toilet around the mall.

    • Chase Lewis

      I know someone who still plays it