Blood. Flesh. Cars. Guns. Panties. Boobs. Bikes. Chainsaws. Blades. Soccer. Pizza. Photos. Ice Cream. Golf. Gardening. Wine. Funfair. Skating. Katanas. Pet Food. Helicopters. Cinema. Boxing. Religion. Dating. Scoops. Rock. Cooking. Bowling. Pee. Mags. Toys. Gym. Cursing. Ecstasy.
One single game gathers them all.
Capcom’s Xbox 360 masterpiece. The zombie epic that kicks everyone’s ass. A title that summarizes by itself the likes and interests of an entire gaming community. Not to mention the fears of the current society. Dead Rising.
It’s certainly praiseful to combine a totally perverted gameplay with a social critic storyline only to get one of the best games ever released for one console. In fact, Dead Rising was probably the best game in an overall sense of the last year. Not even the popular Gears of War or Zelda: Twilight Princess reach its level of brilliance. Frankly.
Players of Dead Rising control Frank West, some sort of Max Payne’s stepbrother employed as a freelance journalist. He is determined to cover a mysterious event that is taking place in the town of Willamette, Colorado. The entire city is infested with zombies and the National Guard has already isolated the area, while keeping the truth away from the public. One way or another, Frank manages to cross the barrier and ends up inside a mall. Just like in Dawn of the Dead. But even better. Because now you are the prey trapped on a frantic race against time.
You have three days until a helicopter comes back to get you off. Until that moment, under no rules, there is one single objective: survive.
The great thing about Dead Rising is that it’s up to the player what to do during his time in the mall. Frank has an absolute freedom of choice. And when I say absolute, I mean as absolute as vodka. Fuck Grand Theft Auto. Willamette is no man’s land. There will be no pesky police coming to dick around even if Frank decides to cut a woman in two halves with a chainsaw... just for the sake of taking a picture of her nice shaped butt once it’s resting in the ground. As deranged as that.
But there is not only the way of the psychopath. Players may choose to help other survivors who are fighting for their lives. Because shit happens, and there’s an amazingly wide range of unexpected tricky situations that might occur in every corner of the mall during the three days of Frank’s visit. Actually, it’s literally impossible to witness all the events or meet all the lost citizens in that span without replaying the game. Several times. Checking out different routes.
Those survivors, by the way, won’t be easy to save in many cases. The life of the hero is rough. Some of them will be wounded and desperate, some of them will be elder persons tired of running, some of them will be looking for others, and some of them may not even be able to understand English. So Frank needs to learn how to help each one in order to take them to a secure place. Assuming they are not disturbed people that might try to kill him. No one is subject of being trusted in the middle of a zombie outbreak.
In addition to these kind of survivors, there are others much more relevant in terms of plot. A small group people leaded by two special agents control the mall from its security room. Frank can cooperate with them as he solves a series of cases scheduled along the three days. This represents the real storyline of the game and following it is the only way to discover the truth behind the incident. However, the turn of things could not be easy as the player advances, so it’s advisable to play the full game at least one time without focusing on the story before going after the good ending, only to increase the character’s status level. There are a total of 50 levels for Frank, each one rewarded with a crazier skill than the previous. From uprooting heads to removing the entrails of the zombies. Just try to picture it.
Dead Rising has been an unfairly underrated game even taking into account that most of its scores have ranged from great to greater. Capcom’s unofficial Romero adaptation is the first truly intelligent incarnation of not only a zombie game, but the stereotypical Xbox 360 action game. Hundreds of characters on screen, thousands of weapons to choose, violence bordering the absurdity, the obliged sexual component and a delicious sense of black comedy. Possibly the biggest fun that can be found on Microsoft’s console. As long as people is open minded enough to understand the concept.