Dead Rising 3 really is more of the same. Though I’m sure the developers at Capcom Vancouver and the marketing team behind it would tell you otherwise, it’s largely the same game you’ve always played: go around an open world, craft weapons, meet people, and kill zombies. There are some changes, of course, some of which are for the better and others for the worse, but one change in particular really stands out.
Perhaps it’s not so much a change so much as an oversight. Or it could be an added feature. It may have been discovered elsewhere, but the knowledge for breaking much of the game’s built-in leveling system was popularized by a livestream over at Giant Bomb. Vinny Caravella and Brad Shoemaker showed that with the Super Combo Weapon of the Ultimate Grim Reaper, you could level at incredible rates at an amazingly early point in the game. Shoemaker went from level 48 to the cap of 50 in a matter of minutes.
And once he hit the cap, he kept going, accruing even more points to spend on skill trees, potentially maxing out every slot over the course of 15 minutes of laying waste to zombies with a grenade-throwing flaming scythe.
This, in effect, takes out the most tedious part of any game involving leveling, which is just about all of them nowadays. But it really makes a difference here in Dead Rising 3. It’s actually quite a good game (a review is forthcoming) but it truly is more of the same. Once I hit a certain point, I had to force myself to get past my reaction of “yeah, okay. I get it.” I really wanted to see what the end game was like.
Unfortunately, that meant grinding out enough PP to top off all my skills and whatnot, and that, as the verb implies, is not very fun. You have 10 to 15 minutes of virginal fun followed by another 20 of experimenting with what’s possible and then 10 more minutes of denying that you can’t possibly have seen and done everything you can do at that point. It’s a very familiar cycle to any open world game.
I’d like to think that the developers were keenly aware of this. I’d like to think they made this ridiculously overpowered weapon available not just at all but so early because they know some people just want to see progress. It’s not a cheat and it’s not a hack. It’s a reward for knowledge.
It seems very similar to the idea of beat Myst once you know the secret. You could go through all the hullabaloo of solving puzzles (or killing the undead in Dead Rising 3‘s case) but with the proper application of available but furtive information, you can skip the tedium once it becomes tedium. It was fun once before but no more.
Okay, so it’s not a perfect analogy since you’ve already seen all Myst has to offer by the time you figure out you can beat it in 20 seconds, but the idea of forgoing work to see the end is still there. And it’s significant. Not many games now would do the same in rewarding you for your desire to progress but also your efforts to get there. With a grind so readily available, this could have easily taken a turn for the microtransaction. Double your PP earned for just 99 cents and you’ll max out your level twice as fast!
So it’s not breaking the system. It’s playing into the system because someone out there realized that the lure of discovery is sometimes greater than the idea of working for creation. On one hand, you are working towards forging a path to the end and finding out what Dead Rising 3 has to offer. And on the other, you knowledge as its own reward, one which is given as a remuneration for knowledge itself.
It’s not a white flag. It’s not a concession. The developers did not throw up their hands and say they made a game too long or too boring or too poor to play. They simply acknowledged curiosity and gave it a vent. And more games could do with the same.