Oct 3, 2010

My First Thoughts On: Dead Rising

Yeah, that's not a typo. I didn't somehow miss the 2 in there somewhere. I am really playing the first Dead Rising game, the one that is about to become seriously unnecessary by way of its sequel.

Still, there's someone out there in the Eastern Bloc or Haiti who hasn't played this clunky gem of game, which is the thing I love most about the internet - people are always finding new and interesting ways to amuse themselves - so I feel entirely validated in talking about it. Whoever reads this review may become me a month from now.

However, the need to pick up the first installment may be diminishing, considering that (a) the sequel is out and (b) the original seems to be getting pulled from the shelves in order to make room for the sequel. I'm a compulsive gamer - I'm a compulsive everything - so I spent the better part of an afternoon searching the shops, malls, and cavernous used game stores for a copy of Dead Rising, and, it being my luck and all, only managed to find a battered version at my local used dealer.

The original copy I got was overpriced and seemed to be suffering from third degree burns inflicted by the previous owner's 360's laser, so I had to return it and get a fresh(er) copy, which worked fine, though once I got it home and slid in the disc tray and went through all of the installation mumbo-jumbo, I realized, well, Dead Rising isn't really that fun.

It's sort of like Grand Theft Auto with zombies, which sounds on its face like a magnificent time, but there's some aspect of fun that seems to be lost in the follow-through. I'm no expert, but I expected more than just the melee combat from a Rock Star game to be present in Dead Rising.

You may disagree, and, yes, there are some aspects to it that aren't jaw-droppingly inane, but Frank West moves too slowly and clunkily, the controls are somewhat awkward, and the constant need to check one's watch detracts from the emergent, open-worldedness of the whole experience, which, in my gaming OCD state, I found irritating.

I sincerely want to like Dead Rising, and I do, to a certain extent. I think I should have played it several years ago, before games of a higher caliber had been released. It is a dated, flawed experience, but one that I will give more of a chance in the coming weeks.

To be able to enjoy Dead Rising, you almost have to give into its Dead-Rising-ness and enjoy it for what it is, which is what I intend on doing until I feel I've gotten my money's worth. Since I managed to snag it for 15 bucks, ostensibly the cost of a pretty good XBLA title, it shouldn't take long for me to be able to squeeze worth out of the experience. If nothing else, I should be able to run around and mow down zombies (literally!) to my heart's content.

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