Given what I wrote in initial mini-review of the game, you might be surprised to hear that I think Dead Rising is great. I’ve spent a LOT of time playing it in the past week or so. My character is now maxed out at level 50, and I finally got the “good” ending after having start over a couple of times due to time limits and the save system. While what I said in the previous post is still true, I’d like to add some further explanation. (More after the jump.)
My main complaint about the game was that only allowing one save slot, combined with the fact that there are time limits placed on all of the missions, made it possible to unwittingly save your game in a place that would make it impossible to finish the game. If this happens, you just have to start over (although your character does retain his level and abilities, which makes further playthroughs much easier). This is still true, but I think that the save system/time limit idea is actually a very good one, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw more games like this in the future.
Although this game has (even by me) been compared to Grand Theft Auto, it is actually more like the anti-GTA. Grand Theft Auto allows you to do just about anything you want to, when you want to do it. Individual missions may be timed, but in general you are free to wander the game world for as long as you like in between missions and to do missions in any order that you like. Dead Rising does give you an element of freedom in that you can go anywhere in the mall you like, and you can choose the order to do some of the missions, or to skip the optional missions completely without any real consequenes (aside from losing experience or not gaining access to certain items, etc). But you are forced to do the missions within a pretty tight timeframe, and in fact this is one of the things that makes the game so compelling. Seeing the game’s story unfold is only part of the fun. The real challenge is seeing how well you can perform the missions in the time given to you. Can you finish them all? Can you rescue all of the survivors? There are so many missions and so little time in which to do them that finishing them all would be quite a challenge. It’s been a long time since I felt so tense (in a good way) while playing a game. Without strict time limits, this tension would be gone. Having only one save slot adds to the tension, and makes the game seem a lot more immersive.
And of course, the graphics, sound, and voice work are top notch, as is the localization. Let me just say “well done” to David Crislip who was in charge of the translation (and don’t think I didn’t notice that the hardware store in the game is named “Crislip’s”). Although some of the boss monologues were a little over the top, I’m sure this was the case in the Japanese, and it fits the atmosphere of the game. Overall, I can’t remember a single line of dialog that didn’t ring true. There were a few typos here and there, but we’re all guilty of that from time to time. David, drop me a line if you read this. We should talk shop sometime.