With Xbox One exclusive games being repackaged and released to the PC, they are exposed to a much larger install base. However, whilst these titles may have become popular on their original platform, on the PC there is competition and a whole new set of standards to adhere to. That’s the test that Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition needs to pass. With the additional content from the four parts of the Untold DLC and a $50 US Price tag on Steam, it could be easily argued that this is the best way to play the newest iteration of the Dead Rising franchise. However, what makes a far more difficult argument is whether there’s any good way to play it all.
Abandoning the bright and colourful Fortune City, we now take on the role of Nick Ramos in the grey streets of Los Perdidos. With a similar premise to the first two titles, Nick attempts to escape the zombie infested city along with any survivors and ultimately save the day. Assisting Nick is a variety of different characters with their own personality quirks and motivations, which surprisingly enough don’t all involve getting out as a top priority. When exposed to these characters at first, you can start to see a varied plot evolving that takes the interactions and development here into play. Later on, this is no longer the case as it is quickly revealed that these aren’t characters that have any real influence on the world and merely play the role of the quest giver.
When you get about 8 hours in and start wishing that these characters would just be killed off so you can escape alone, that really starts to become a problem and creates a large disconnect between the protagonist and the player. The obstacles stop becoming the zombie hoards and start to become the outlandish requests of your so called companions. There is no motivation behind anything you’re doing. No emotional connection towards the situation at all. Nothing drives the plot, it just chugs along by itself.
This city is set up in four different parts that need to be navigated through based on one large highway. With every mission involving you running off towards some quest marker on the other side of the city and back, the travel gets ridiculously repetitive and seems like more of a time sink than anything as you attempt to work your way through the large zombie hoard. It’s a game that desperately needs fast travel to give players the option of whether they want to spend time killing zombies or just get to the next mission as fast as possible.
If you’re looking for a reason to play Dead Rising 3, it’s not within the narrative or the missions. It’s within how the game plays and how you spend your time. Although the game performs badly on even the highest end of PCs with moderate frame drops, your zombie slaughtering will become the highlight of your playtime. The animations that change depending on the weapon you use and the application all come together to create something really exciting and satisfying. To extend upon this, as you explore the city of Los Perdidos, you will find combination blueprints, allowing you to create some really entertaining weapons. In this sense, Los Perdidos turns from your nightmare into your playground.
You would hope that this would be something deeply rooted into the title itself. If we’re having a blast killing zombies on the streets wouldn’t that mean we’re also having fun killing enemies in mission situations? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The way you defeat countless zombies and how the game accounts for that means that when you go up against boss characters or soldiers with lots of health, they end up becoming little more than bullet sponges. Boss fights just seem to be doing damage, getting damaged, running away to find health, rinse and repeat.
Dead Rising 3 doesn’t hold what could be considered as one of the most important parts of previous titles in the franchise. Although it tries to be silly with its costumes, it’s like a clown wearing a business suit. At its heart, it wants to be silly, but the art-style implemented and the characters you meet along the way don’t seem to support this tone and the game lacks character because of it. There’s this constant battle between whether the player should consider Los Perdidos as somewhere to have fun trying out new exciting weapons or whether they should be trying to escape from it all.
It all just seems like a soulless game. It doesn’t know whether it wants to be a realistic reflection on what a zombie outbreak would really be like or a fun silly game where you make weapons and kill lots of zombies with them. Add the fact that the graphical detail isn’t up to scratch with some bad texture quality and some performance issues and you get a title that is just not worth your time.
This review is based on a PC digital copy of Dead Rising: Apocalypse Edition provided by Capcom.