TGS 2005: Dead Rising Hands-On

We grab an Xbox 360 controller and beat zombies to a pulp as we check out Capcom's upcoming action game.

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TGS 2005: One of the first games that we checked out on day one of the Tokyo Game Show was Dead Rising--a zombie-filled action game that we saw in video form at a pre-E3 event earlier this year. Capcom has a playable demo of the game in an adults-only area of its booth, and although we were able to spend only about 10 minutes with it, those were 10 of the most viscerally satisfying minutes that we've spent in Tokyo thus far.

Assuming the role of the photojournalist who is the star of Dead Rising, we found ourselves atop a small food stall inside a shopping mall filled with zombies when the demo got under way. Our mission, which we had a little under 10 minutes to complete, was to find a woman in the mall who had information pertaining to the recent zombie outbreak. Armed only with a baseball bat, we jumped down from our position of relative safety and set about clearing a path.

Shortly after we began exploring the mall, we happened across a couple of other characters who had climbed up onto the roofs of food stalls, and when we spoke to one of them--an old lady whose husband had gone missing--we were given the option to accept our first side quest, or "scoop." The time limit for us to rescue the lady's husband was only a few minutes, so we headed directly to a nearby hardware store (where else would he be?) where, after experimenting with weapons such as an iron pipe, a tin of paint, a gun stolen from a zombie police officer, and a chainsaw, we found the gentleman in question defending himself with a shotgun. After making contact with him he became part of our group, and we were able to give him a "follow" command using the Y button anytime we'd cleared enough of a path for him to do so safely. We were injured as a result of his trigger happiness on a couple of occasions, but for the most part he did a good job of defending himself.

After returning him safely to his wife, we headed to a supermarket, where we found that we were able to take food off the shelves that restored our health when we had a moment to eat it. We also encountered a couple of other characters who were defending themselves from the seemingly neverending zombie crowd, and we were relieved to discover that the only penalty for dying (at least in the demo) was that we lost 30 seconds from our time limit before returning to the start of the level.

Dead Rising's visuals were impressive for the most part, but what really stood out for us was just how easy the game was to pick up and play. Besides the aforementioned follow command for group members, the only controls we had to concern ourselves with were buttons for jumping, attacking, and changing weapons. Pressing the jump and attack buttons simultaneously allowed us to perform a variety of different grab moves on nearby enemies, but we found these to be less satisfying than the melee weapons on the whole, and since the grapple animations invariably took a few seconds to play out, we found ourselves getting surrounded by brain-eaters on more than one occasion.

If you're a fan of George Romero's original Dawn of the Dead movie, then Dead Rising is looking a lot like the stuff that zombie-filled dreams are made of at this point. We look forward to bringing you more information on this one as soon as it becomes available.

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