Dead Rising E3 2005 Hands-On

We were fortunate to get to play Sega's Xbox 360 zombie blast-a-thon behind closed doors. Find out all about this crazy action game.

We got a real kick out of Dead Rising when we first laid eyes on it earlier this week. While Capcom has a long history of making zombie games on account of the Resident Evil series, Dead Rising will be a real change of pace, in that the game's got a decidedly tongue-in-cheek tone to it. We managed to squeeze through the thinning crowds on the third and final day of E3 to get a little behind-closed-doors hands-on time with the game, and we came away eager to play more of this one.

The main character of the game is a journalist forced to try to survive a zombie onslaught in an overrun shopping mall. In the sequence we played, our man Frank was caught in a department store being completely flooded. At first glance, the game doesn't look all that remarkable. The character models and environments look good but not exhaustively detailed, and Frank looks like your everyday Joe. Then the zombies start spilling in. We took the fight to them with everything we could get our hands on, such as pipes, a baseball bat, a placard, a pistol, a sledgehammer, and more. We noticed that Frank could execute power attacks when we pressed and held the attack button, causing zombies not just to topple over but sometimes explode into little chunks--always a treat.

We also messed around with Frank's surprisingly capable grappling abilities ("He must have played a bunch of Virtua Fighter as a kid," joked a Capcom rep). Frank could pick up his foes, hoisting them overhead and then chucking them into their cohorts, causing a neat little pileup. And one time, we managed to put one of those no-good zombies into an airplane spin, swinging it all around and smacking all the enemies nearby.

Eventually we got completely overrun. It's possible to just start shoving foes as you desperately try to flee, but it gets to the point where the stage is packed like a Tokyo subway train during rush hour. Here's where the technology is pretty amazing. Despite the ridiculous volume of zombies shambling around, the frame rate holds up well. The experience reminded us a little of our first impressions of State of Emergency, another game that impressed us through its sheer ability to have tons and tons of characters running around onscreen.

The action itself already felt pretty good, though we didn't have enough time to get a grasp on the aiming mechanics before we were already embroiled in close-quarters zombie-mashing.

Watch the first footage of Dead Rising and you'll see that this zombie game is likely to have more zombies in it than all previous Capcom zombie games combined. Think you can handle it? We're looking forward to trying.

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