Dead Rising Preview

We get our zombie-blood-soaked hands on a near-finished version of Capcom's extreme shopping simulator.

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It's been less than a month since we got our hands on a timed playable demo of Dead Rising, and not a day has gone by without us wondering when we might have an opportunity to play a more complete version of the game. We were more than a little excited, then, when Capcom sent us a near-finished copy of the game recently and gave us permission to report on our first 24 hours spent inside the sizable Willamette Parkview Mall. We won't be going into any detail about Dead Rising's storyline for fear of spoiling it for you, but after spending an entire in-game day in the shoes of zombie-killing photojournalist Frank West, we've certainly got no shortage of new things to talk about.

The first thing we need to share with you is that Dead Rising has recently undergone something of a redesign. It was previously stated that when playing the game's 72-hour mode--in which you essentially have to survive for three days while waiting for a helicopter--you'd be able to spend your time doing whatever you like, even if that meant locking yourself in a closet for the entire time. This is no longer the case because the missions that drive the story forward are now mandatory, and although it's possible to keep playing even if you fail some of them, completing them successfully is often the only way to gain access to new areas of the mall. You'll still have plenty of freedom to explore and to pick and choose which scoop missions you undertake, but now you'll be required to check in with and assist key characters from time to time.

After opting to play with the tutorial windows--which pop up the first time you encounter a new situation--turned on, one of the first things we noticed was that when taking photographs, they get sorted into more genres than we previously knew about. The majority of the photos that we've taken in previous versions of Dead Rising have fallen either into the horror or drama categories simply because they featured zombies and survivors, respectively. We now know that photos can also be classified as erotica or outtakes, and although we've yet to get a picture of anything that even vaguely resembles erotica, we've found that zombies pushing shopping carts (which haven't appeared in any of our previous versions of the game) or wearing novelty masks invariably make for good outtake shots.

One outtake shot coming up.

Shopping carts are one of many items that we've found for the first time in our 95 percent-complete build of Dead Rising, and like the parasols that Frank can use like a snowplow to clear a path through zombie crowds, they're very effective when you need to get from A to B but do very little for your zombie kill count. Lawnmowers, on the other hand, make a real mess of the undead when you run through them, but it doesn't take long for the blades to break, and so like many of the more powerful weapons in the game, they're only useful for a short time. Other improvised weapons that we've been experimenting with lately include nail guns (reasonably effective), bowling balls (lots of fun), golf clubs and balls (difficult to aim), chainsaws (say no more), excavator drills (almost as much fun as the chainsaws), swords (good for slicing zombies in two), and an unusual insect in a jar that can be thrown as a one-time use zombie smart bomb. We also found a skateboard to ride around on, which enabled us to move around the mall much more quickly and, for the most part, more safely. We were initially a little disappointed to find that we couldn't perform any tricks on our new ride, but that was before we found a book on the subject inside a store.

Every book that you find in Dead Rising has a different effect on Frank's abilities for as long as he's carrying it. The most common books appear to be those that give Frank extra health or power, but some of them have far more interesting properties. When carrying a book about skateboarding, for example, we were able to perform tricks on the aforementioned board. And when attempting to rescue two Japanese tourists who were hiding inside a store, the only way that we could communicate with them was to find a book that gave Frank a rudimentary understanding of the Japanese language. Early on in the game, carrying books around can be difficult simply because you're not able to hold more than four or five items, but as you progress through the game and Frank's skills (and those of some enemies) improve, we suspect they'll be invaluable.

Twenty-four hours into Dead Rising, the vast majority of the enemies that we've faced have been undead--they're slow and clumsy by day and only slightly less slow and clumsy by night. We've had some memorable run-ins with nonzombies, though, and they've invariably got the better of us at least once before we've either figured out how to defeat them or loaded a save game and avoided the encounters completely. To go into too much detail about these psychopaths would be to risk spoiling your own dealings with them, but among those that you might already have seen in official screenshots from Capcom are a chainsaw-juggling clown, a survivor who doesn't want to share any of the supplies from the hunting store that he's holed up in, and three escaped prisoners who are riding around in a Humvee and shooting at anything that moves. Most of the prisoners' targets are zombies, of course, but we learned the hard way that they're more than happy to shoot at survivors when we crossed their path with the aforementioned Japanese tourists in tow.

Scoop missions are generally offered to you via your walkie-talkie.

If you choose to spend a lot of your time in the mall completing scoop missions, then having survivors following you around is something you'll become very accustomed to. Scoop missions are generally offered to you over your walkie-talkie by a character who has an uncanny knack for being able to locate survivors and pinpoint their positions for you. The walkie-talkie system can be annoying, because Frank isn't able to use any weapons when he's holding it. We're hoping that later in the game you might gain access to some kind of hands-free technology, though the messages would still interrupt the gameplay to some extent because--at least in our current build of the game--none of them are voiced, so you have to read text that appears along the bottom of the screen. When you locate survivors, convincing them to follow you generally requires you to do little more than speak with them, and once they're in tow, you can tell them either to stick with you or to move to a specific location. They're well behaved for the most part, but they'll become embroiled in fights with zombies occasionally, so you'll need to keep an eye on them. It's also worth noting that if survivors aren't standing close enough to you when you move through a door or any other area that requires a brief loading screen, they'll get left behind.

What's clear to us at this point is that, regardless that the story missions are now mandatory, Dead Rising is a game that promises to have plenty of replay value. Our experiences with the game thus far have never been the same twice, and regardless of whether you're in the middle of a mission or not, you still have the freedom to just play around and have fun with zombies if you prefer. We've thoroughly enjoyed our time with Dead Rising, and we look forward to bringing you a full review closer to the game's release.

Discussion

192 comments
daddo-splat
daddo-splat

this game has a story line and specific achievements some are tedious. you need to level yuor player up to get more moves and stronger and faster loads of stuff to do. not just kill zombies butyou can just do that too. give it a chance. you play through and die you save your game and keep your stats so your avatar gains strength and speed.

y0bob
y0bob

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

y0bob
y0bob

played the demo and its pretty good. what can ireally expect from a game where i run around killing zombies?

Willceace
Willceace

Well, I'm not a budding photographer or anything but, i found erotica, By pure accident..... yeah right. lol. But I was taking some snaps on the demo and a female zombie in a dress was in shot. Seems the erotica in question is just Cleavage shots. Then later i saw a Female zombie walking around with no trousers on, Just had underwear covering her rotten jibblets. I snapped that and that came over as erotica. I can safely speculate, that if you knock over one of these female zombies in the red dress, You'll get an upskirt erotica shot. Not that i know.. You don't get much PP for it so, You might as well just do it for the novelty value.

boffin2
boffin2

Ive played the demo and its just plain fun.. a section of the mall packed up with zombies.. a scythe in one hand and a shotgun in the other.. made me laugh chopping off all there legs and watching them chase me on the floor

vuvussi
vuvussi

this game is very lame!

simonwest1977
simonwest1977

uh huh, i didn't like it either, most weapons only have 2 attacks, and i felt i wasn't enthralled at all, after a couple of plays on the demo i dont wanna play it again :( shame

UnbredVermin-UK
UnbredVermin-UK

I agree with some things there, what iv'e seen in the demo, i can't wait to buy it!

tinydan
tinydan

just downloading from live ... just connected 2 day YAY me :P still it should be a funy zombie game

Game-eater
Game-eater

Whoow. It's getting better every time a read a new preview :O. . . .Only have to wait one more month :( . . . In the meantime I just sit then and drool at the review and some nice juicy screens :P

HatchetMan715
HatchetMan715

its funny how Capcom was afraid someone would just sit in a closet in the game for 72 hours. Who in the right mind would buy a game just to stand there? o well as long as I can get unlimited time mode, thatll be good! 3 days, 14 Hours, and 14 mintues for me before i leave to go pick it up.

slayaz
slayaz

This game is a scream! (no pun intented) Exactly what I was hoping for. Tons of fun, not too serious. I can't wait to see what multiplayer stuff gets added. Nice one!

Travis281
Travis281

Yeah...the demo was just a preview. You get to run around and hit zombies with random objects. They don't reveal much of the story at all so it's hard to say how good it'll be. Gamespot on the other hand has a near-complete copy of the game, I'm sure they have a better idea than I do about how the game is going to play. It definately looks worth a rent, I'll be waiting for GameFly to deliver my copy :).

dtortot
dtortot

They should have left out the extra videos on the game and should have added more gameplay. Only two floors that can be covered in 5 minutos, that is lame. I'll wit for the final review.

slayersdeath200
slayersdeath200

still looking forward to this game special edition preordered cause it looks ace!!!!!!!!!

Bluespike000
Bluespike000

For S man. You played a demo that gave no part or depth into the main story what did you expect? For the light of a million torhces to show you the story? I can understand you may not like the style of gameplay, totally understand I have certain games I do not like. But to say Gamespot lies because your views differ shows some ignorance, and I see it too much. You can not deny the vast amount of stuff you can do alone in the demo though. So plz think before you post. On the game. This game actually didn't bleep on my radar till about a month ago. And to be honest waiting three more days is gonna be a hassel for me. I'm addicted to the limited amount of items and freedom of the demo as is. But when I can use dozens of items in numerous ways to my heartly content I get as giddy as a child. Always been a succer for the playground style games where you can do so much.

shizzzzel
shizzzzel

look, i just downloaded the demo on 360 and the game is a joke. if u like mashing buttons for no reason then have at it. but the game lacks depth and personality. i'm a huge fan of dawn of the dead and i love all zombie movies but this game is a joke. i wish gamespot would stop taking kickbacks from the producers of games and blatantly lie about a game. garbage garbage garbage

coxmartin
coxmartin

The more I read the better this game gets

np1001
np1001

I so tottaly want this game I am hoping you dont spend all* the game in the mall................

MorseY05
MorseY05

so, when is the demo out?

silsbysimons
silsbysimons

I am sooo angry. I'm out of town and i don't have my 360. i get back on the 9th, and have a reserved copy, but cant play the demo

eyet00th
eyet00th

I hope the graphics are as good as the gameplay

LosDaddie
LosDaddie

Can't wait for the FREE demo on Xbox Live!

slimdirty
slimdirty

This game looks like it is going to be tight. I just hopes that it doesn't get repetitive after a while. Guess we will have to find out.

evilyoda861
evilyoda861

This game will really make sony fanboys sweat!

slayersdeath200
slayersdeath200

this game looks awsome cant wait bring on the zombie gore

living_dead140
living_dead140

Dude this game is gonna rock on so many levels! Iss kinda wierd cuz 4bore i heard bout this game, i actually imagined it, while i was in a mall. Im gunna buy an X-box 260 just 4 this game!

Sycerica
Sycerica

did u guys see the video of frank on that bike in what i guess was a parking garage, i think he got up to like 600 kills on that thing, until it was destroyed. anybody know of any other drivable vehichles on the game yet?

jade0732
jade0732

is there a demo and when can i get it

wenbin09
wenbin09

the plot is similar to a plot in a movie... zombie in a mall.. but quite refreshinh idea and i'm looking forward to it!!

ultrazone
ultrazone

one simple word will suffice. Wow.

JuliousJ
JuliousJ

I just heard about his game and im already dying to get it.I cant wait until it comes out, Ima go straight to eb games and buy it when it comes out.Im a big Resident evil fan, but i always said they needed to make a type of free roam zombie game that puts u against high numbers of zombies at one times like the movies.

digitalren3gade
digitalren3gade

have it paid off, waiting for the 8th! This game is a keeper for sure.

Smoke0
Smoke0

When this game is released, i wil run to the nearest game store as fast as i can, and buy this game. Then i´m gonna go home, and have hours of zombie blasting fun!

derangedphoenix
derangedphoenix

I've been waiting for this game since they first showed footage of it. That was before the Xbox 360 came out!!! Appart from Halo 3, this is about the only game I've been looking forward to! And I'm not even that excited about Halo 3 at the moment. i know I'll go crazy about it in a few months though.

eandradams
eandradams

If you read the preview carefully, you'll note that the writer seems to indicate that the "72 hour" mode is just one of many. My guess is that there will be a game mode that allows for as many days as necessary for a gamer to complete any and all missions they wish.

bbooty
bbooty

all of you who keep complaining about the objectives being mandatory in the story JUST DONT DO THEM and free roam and kill things.

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

"what happens if you dont complete the mandatory missions before the end of the 3 days?" The main missions are now what advances the clock, from what the many previews are implying. Every 5 minutes of realtime equals one "hour" but it sounds like the you'll get a "game over" and booted back to your last save if you fail to do the core missions in time. Capcom should have left well enough alone instead of getting too strict witht he gameplay. I think it's quite clear people are going to buy this game, bull through the lame story mode (complete with lame meathead main character) and just go crazy in the free modes. And I'll say it again: they still need to redesign the ugly user interface. Seriously Capcom, you have better artists at your disposal than the Photoshop workshop dropouts who designed that HUD.

robubie
robubie

this is why i want an xbox 360

kpgamer6144
kpgamer6144

wow, a zombie game that uses books to bestow knowledge? who'da thunk?

august_king
august_king

I've been looking forward to this game for a while now. I hope it's challenging.

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

They had better include an (easily/early) unlockable version of free-play!!! I'll take a non-linear game to a "locked into a rail" game any day... That was one of the most appealing features of this!

thetruesonic
thetruesonic

i want this game, i need this game, beleive me. when this game comes out, i'll be a happy man.

Sycerica
Sycerica

what happens if you dont complete the mandatory missions before the end of the 3 days? These missions hafta be like in GTA in a sense that you dont have to do them unless you want to access better places and toys or else playing the game for 72 hours and not finishing the missions would be a complete waste.

themidgethotel
themidgethotel

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

LosDaddie
LosDaddie

I can't wait to own this game! Go, Xbox360!:D