Denki News

August 19, 2006

Dead Rising is dead hard (mini review/rant)

Filed under: Video Games — icruise @ 12:44 pm

I got Dead Rising about a week ago, and I’ve been playing whenever I have some free time. While it is a great game, I find it incredibly hard. The game play itself isn’t really that bad. It’s challenging sometimes, but once you get used to the mechanics involved in killing zombies and escorting survivors, you can do most areas without too many problems. But the game’s save system and the way its missions are set up make the game really frustrating at times. (More after the jump.)

First, you only get one save slot, and you can only save at a few designated places in the mall. I have a feeling that the designers thought the game would be too easy if you could save anywhere and have multiple saves. And it’s obvious that you are meant to play through the game several times instead of finishing everything in one go. But this system just makes it too hard (or rather, too frustrating). Because most of the game’s missions have time limits, you can easily save your game in a place that makes it impossible to complete a mission.

This isn’t a big deal with the optional missions (called “scoops”) since you can either choose to do them or ignore them completely. But there are a number of key missions that are mandatory. That’s fine in and of itself, but the problem is that if you miss one of these missions, the game is over. That’s it. You’re done. So you might be off in one part of the mall happily killing zombies and find that the game just suddenly ends. Of course, the solution to this is to make sure that you take care of the key missions, but that can be harder than you might think.

Even worse, if you’re not paying close attention, it’s possible that you might not even realize that you missed a key mission until you enter the area where it is supposed to take place. If you’ve saved your game in the meantime (remember, only one save slot), you’re screwed. You have to start the game over. The only saving grace to this system is that you get to keep your levels and abilities even after restarting the game.

Just a few minutes ago, I was trying to escort a large group of survivors to safety. After over an hour of herding them through endless waves of zombies, I finally arrived at the security room. But when I went into the room where you save your game, I was informed that I had missed a mission and that the game was over. I was then faced with the choice of starting over from my last save point or starting the game over from the beginning. I wasn’t sure if my last save was before or after the key mission had already ended, and rescuing all of those survivors had raised my level by 4 or 5, and so I chose to start the game over

Once you get a feel for the layout of the mall and when you have to do which missions, this will probably be less of a problem, but right now I’m finding it annoying. The game has other flaws (some of the people you are escorting are obviously brain dead) but I must admit that I still like it. It plays well and has great graphics. While the mandatory missions and the time limits involved do hinder this a bit, it still has the open-ended “do what you want when you want to” feel made popular by games like Grand Theft Auto. And there are just so many things to find and do in the mall, and so many ways to kill zombies, that it’s hard not to like the game.

[Update: 8-29-06] I wrote a followup piece to this initial mini-review and my conclusions were somewhat different.



  1. I have read about this horrible save system in other places. I think it is very short sighted of the developer to put such a time limit on getting to the next mission.
    This is going to frustrate many players and piss them off. Once word gets around, it might actually put some people off buying it. I certainly will not be buying it and shall only rent it. The thought of playing so much of the game and then being forced to start again really annoys me.

    Comment by becs — August 20, 2006 @ 7:42 am

  2. I’ll have to say that it is a lot of fun, though. Do at least give it a try. I guess once you get used to the system, you won’t find yourself making the kinds of mistakes I did. It’s still annoying though.

    Comment by icruise — August 20, 2006 @ 9:14 am

  3. I wish I didn’t get the game. It takes you back to the dark-ages of video gaming.
    The game’s hard!, but that’s nothing wrong with that but on top of put: some heavy escort missions when the people you’re escorting need constant nursing (you spend 75% of the game nursing people), and their dumber than the zombies, as they just don’t follow you they walk like they were shopping; save spots are far, far from each other, and many of them punish you with hordes of zombies just to get there; one save only; strict time based wich prevents from admiring the game – even in the infinite mode you cant do that as your health keeps dropping even without beeing hit.

    I haven’t seen a so messed up game since Amiga days.

    Comment by Miguel — October 6, 2006 @ 6:15 am

  4. I just borrowed the game from someone, and yeah i’ve had enough of it.

    It’s Whil’e Coyotee and Roadrunner show all over. If it’s not one thing, it’s another, and this is not only too challenging it’s too much.

    If it’s not the zombies, it’s the humans, some survivors decide they will attack out of fear, so you have to shoot them over and over again.

    I’m amazed that regular mall patrons have more hit points and are harder to kill then zombies if they go crazy…why aren’t they escaping the mall themselves? Next to my hit points their supermen?

    Then there is the first battle with Carlito, and the crappy aiming system for your own gun…Oh and he get’s unlimited granades as well.

    This one is never going to be bought by me. BLECH

    Also, time limit crap has to go. My game my timeline not yours game company, snap snap do as WE command not what you think.

    I hate these games, makes it impossible to just play a quick little bit of the game and head out. If you get called away in real life you have to loose your saves, and or leave your xbox 360 on so it can overheat. 😛

    Comment by Rob — July 18, 2007 @ 9:19 am

  5. keep playing it, im trying to get the saint achievement and after getting 46 of them have just relised that i didnt get some guy a bite to eat and will have to start over 4 days wasted as not only did he leave so did the whole room:(

    Comment by captainlester79 — August 25, 2007 @ 12:05 pm

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