The Xbox one exclusive Dead Rising 3 is still the mood-swinging zombie hack and slash that the previous two games were. At first glance, the game seems rather dark with its nocturnal background and gritty characters, but when the actual gameplay starts, you realise the core gameplay hasn’t changed.
With the Xbox One’s horsepower, the game can focus strongly on graphical detail. There will be more zombies in one instance than the previous games with more emphasis on the individual variety in zombies, ranging from physiological changes to cosmetic ones. Ironically, it’s very hard to appreciate them amidst the chaos that is Dead Rising 3.
Which brings us to the combat. The weapon crafting system is back again with up to five items available, including vehicles, to combine into a super-combo weapon. You can have a megaphone that blasts shockwaves of electricity, destroying everything in front of you, cut open paths with a katana scythe that shoots out flaming, exploding skulls, or deploy a teddy bear on a tricycle holding a machine-gun and throwing dynamite (did I mention this game is wacky?). The variety in weapons and items, and the removal of workbenches, which allows for instant combining, make killing zombies that much more fun.
Another new element in the game is the use of smartphones and tablets as a second screen, via the Xbox Smartglass companion app. They can be used to open additional sidequests or call for military grade distractions such as flares for air strikes. They can also be used as hubs for NPCs to contact you via in-game phone calls, which sounds suspiciously like what Roman did in GTA4.
Finally, the co-op system is still intact with the second player playing as Dick, the trucker, rather than being a clone of the main character. Matchmaking will be developed so that players with the same playstyles will be grouped together for more comfortable gameplay, and progression will be shared so you won’t have to repeat the same story mission twice if you’ve already gone through it in another person’s game. Unfortunately, there will be no local split-screen.
Dead Rising 3 may look gritty and brown, but the core mechanics haven’t changed and the hardcore players can still play in nightmare mode with stronger enemies and time limits. The developers wanted to allow players to decide whether they wanted to play “in a serious tone,” or if they just wanted to “screw around.” If you were planning on getting an Xbox One, note that Dead Rising 3 is a day 1 release title.