Dead Rising Chop 'Till You Drop is off the wall and exciting but doesn't present the same eminence as its HD equivalent
Dead Rising Chop 'Till You Drop features the same plot and design as its sibling on the HD games consoles. You're Frank West, a zealous photo-journalist who is the first on a potential front-page scoop in the small town of Willamette, Colorado. Yet it turns out that Frank's story is in fact more contagious than anticipated, literally. There are zombies ravaging the town, the military is slowly quarantining each area off and lunatic survivors are hell bent on their own goals and disturbed desires.
So, taking the plunge, our hero Frank decides to investigate the case himself via Willamette's own mall, with the promise of a safe departure within three days time. And from there on it's up to you how Frank spends his time… Sort of. Unlike the 360 Dead Rising, Chop 'Till You Drop rather has a set out check-list of tasks/missions before you can further your progress in the game.
This eliminates the time management systems of the original game, where you had to choose between certain scoop missions and the main story itself. But another huge difference is the inclusion of gameplay modifiers such as a gunshop and precariously familiar weapons from Resident Evil 4 which seems to replenish with nearly every zombie threat thwarted.
The core layout of Dead Rising remains much the same otherwise in Chop 'Till You Drop. It is a sandbox title in that you can move about the Willamete Wall killing the dozens of zombies on screen and finding whatever objects you can find to use to your advantage. So be it your average bench, mannequin or the good old frying pan – they can all be found with a little searching in the right places and used to your total advantage during play.
This doesn't sound very impressive but in reality, the necessity of weapons like the frying pan will be palpable in order to progress through the swarms of undead horde that stand between your objectives. While Dead Rising on Wii lacks the same number of onscreen zombies as its 360 sibling, it still has a large enough number of them to still keeps the action impelling and rip-roaringly satisfying.
But, if you're itching to use a gun rather than lash your way through the numbers of zombies in Dead Rising, you'd be fortunate to learn there is much heavier emphasis on the gunplay this time around on Chop 'Till You Drop. As you begin, Frank will only have a dinky pistol with limited ammunition to boot. Where as eventually you can visit the gun store from the original game. Not only will it be for Frank to upgrade his previous weapons, but he will also be able to purchase riot guns, revolvers, sub-machine guns and a variety of rifles too.
To buy the guns though, you're going to need money and perhaps the easiest way to do that in Dead Rising is by completing the scoop missions that are in-between the main story blocks during play. For the most part, they're simple go in and go out tasks, where you fetch the survivors back to the hideout but they vary greatly in difficulty and challenge with some scoop missions even being boss battles. You're graded based on how long you took and how many zombies you've killed during the mission and also rewarded cash.
This differs from the main case missions in which are more or less cinematic progressions of Dead Rising than anything else. This is because the case missions are generally no less than five minutes long to complete, minus the cut-scenes spread out in-between. And some case missions are simple arrive and be debriefed missions as one of the central characters gives you intel on your next move or aspect of plot, agendas, conspiracies, etc.
Needless to say, you'll care little for Dead Rising's storyline and typical of Capcom it has very corny, perhaps intentionally poor dialogue to back up its fairly clichéd story. But with Dead Rising being a game that is arguably inspired by Dawn of the Dead, its cheap B-Movie motifs aren't that shocking.
As far as other benefits of Chop Till You Drop are concerned, there are a few new enemies that pop up as you better your skills and complete more missions in the game. These new foes take the already over-ridiculed deluded maniacs you find during the scoop missions and turn them into brain munching zombies. These new zombie bad guys range from bomb dropping parrots to Kent, the obsessed photographer, karate kicking you from the wilderness.
It goes without saying the new foes are harder to kill than your run-of-the-mill zombie. It can take you somewhat ten or twenty seconds before you actually have a shot on the pink mindless poodles that jump into your face and chew chunks out of your health. You earn experience for each special zombie you kill but the point is they can become quite aggregating when you're trying to save survivors.
As the Nintendo Wii is clearly not as powerful as the Xbox 360, Dead Rising is majorly downgraded in the graphics department. Chop 'Till You Drop runs on the Resident Evil 4 engine, a tantalizing choice figuring the difference in both games settings. Resident Evil 4 is a game designed to benefit secluded and dark, gothic level design and Dead Rising couldn't more be less acquainted with such a setting. Regardless, it is a mixed bag with some impressive visuals granted the Wii's hardware but it looks much too muddy and too dull to really look as if it's used the machine to the best of its capabilities
Despite this, Dead Rising on Wii does benefit in some way from the Resident Evil 4 engine in that it has very solid controls, if a little fiddly. Conventially, movement is performed via the analogue stick on Nunchuck while the D-pad on the Wiimote navigates the camera. Aiming is simply done using the pointer of the Wiimote and preparing your weapon can be done by holding B. From there, you can fire by pressing A and switch between your four assigned weapons with the D-pad.
If you run out of bullets, a simple wave of the Wiimote will reload your gun. You can also exit aiming by letting go of A and letting them have it in melee combat by pressing A on its own. Or if you don't want to fight at all, you can, with a 180 degrees turn in the opposite direction by pushing back and Z together so you can face the opposite direction.
Other commands are pretty much simple from there. Survivor commands are dealt with by pressing + to return and – to view the stats menu. The actual menus themselves are a little uncongenial by being slow and outside the fight but this has been a problem with Capcom Survival horror since the dawn of time. The chances of a fix would've been second to none.
There are the occasional waggle quick time events however they're functional and a decent gameplay element with Dead Rising. Unfortunately quick time events occur when you least expect them such as during the fight between Frank and the prisoners in the hijacked army jeep. It is in the middle of the game and on the 360 version you kill them by using whatever guns you have found ,but on Wii its entirely reaction time based in how you survive the boss battle.
Yet speaking of what isn't in the Wii version, Dead Rising Chop Till You Drop completely lacks the ability to use Frank's camera to take photos. This is quite a let-down as this mode could've been made far more immersive to the experience given the use of the Wiimote. But also, Frank still has the camera with him in the game! And it's almost mind-shattering not to be able to use it when many of the famous photo opportunities from the original HD version are still experienced on the Nintendo Wii.
Dead Rising actually has quite good music for a game of its type. The ambient tones are fitting and the theme music signifies the sense of mystery and disillusion which are palpable elements to Frank's story. The boss fight music varies but again is fitting with the aggressive and visceral beats of the heavy metal that often plays in the background of these fights.
Besides that Chop Till You Drop only suffers from some mild repetition, ultimately the missions themselves feel samey and eventually tedious after so many continuous hours of play. Annoyingly, some sections of the Willamette mall are inexcusably blocked of in Chop Till You Drop. There is no clear reason why, which makes manoeuvring around the mall more difficult than it should be.
Also, the night sections of Chop Till You Drop can often make it far too difficult to see what you're doing and with the countless of onscreen zombies appearing out of nowhere in general – the game can get frustrating. But on the plus side at least you can now actually read what the text says on the screen when playing Dead Rising on an SDTV.
Initially Dead Rising Wii is just as exciting and off the wall as its HD sibling. Yet the actual unrestrained heart and sandbox mentality of Dead Rising are somewhat threatened by the linear structure and destined plotline of Chop Till You Drop rather than the multiple plot routes and endings otherwise experienced in the original game on Xbox 360.
And comparing the productions values of the Dead Rising Wii and Dead Rising 360 make the former look past a joke due to its weaker graphics and admittedly tacked on extras. But if not compared to the HD version, Dead Rising is actually a sound third person action-adventure on Wii. Its Offers the same experience on the whole but obviously done in a different fashion and with a more relaxed attitude to the core game itself. Have you not the opportunity to play this game on 360 and willing to put up the comprimises, go ahead and buy it.