*Extreme Gamer's "Best Action Game of 2006"

Zombies, Zombies, Zombies. Isle four checkout! Capcom's Zombie Slaughterfest is infecting Xbox 360's all across the globe. Dead Rising has risen to showcase the best of adventure and horror exclusively for the Xbox 360. Get ready to be bitten with our review of Dead Rising.

In Dead Rising you play as photojournalist Frank West. Frank has a hot tip that something is going down in the fictional rural town of Willamette, Colorado. As Frank is taking aerial photographs of the town he notices the town folk are acting a little bizarre. They are acting very strange indeed; cannibalism usually isn't a normal pastime of Middle America. As Frank questions the surroundings, the military get up in the sky to meet their bird. Frank takes the only option a good journalist would do and jumps onto the Willamette mall to get the real scoop on the towns' population. Frank has three days to figure out what has happened to the town before his ride comes to pick him up to score the biggest story of his career.

"M" Means "M"ature
Before I get too deep into the review, I have to mention that this is one "M" rated game that totally deserves the rating. Dead Rising is for adults, the entire experience is packed full of horrific brutality, sexual innuendos, gory death scenes and all that other survival horror goodness. In no way did the brutality effect my review of the Dead Rising, if all it applauds Capcom for pulling no punches.

Sleep or Slaughter?
From the get go, Dead Rising is in your face. The Zombie action rarely lets up and the plot keeps pushing you along. You really get a sense of urgency in Dead Rising which usually isn't accomplished in Survival horror games. The clock is always ticking and it's up to the player to choose how far they want to go in the Zombie infested mall. Wait by the heli-pad for three days or go shopping. It's your call, but who really can resist the urge of slaughtering thousands of zombies.

Chopping Mall
I've mentioned the mall a few times and that is where the whole Dead Rising experience takes place. It's not all indoors though, you can travel outside in the court yard to grab some fresh air, and well as fresh that dead zombie stench can be. Inside there a whole host of different stores that really help the environments feel rejuvenated. What also helps keep Dead Rising fresh is the amount of interaction with the environment either smashing up the joint, eating many different types of food, or using anything you can find as a weapon. Dead Rising has some of the most enjoyable and bizarre weapons ever put into a game. I'm talking about everything from condiments to lawnmowers; it's truly quite the experience. A nod to the weapon design team, great inventiveness on their part.

The innovative ideas don't stop at the indoor mall environment and plethora of weapons. The whole concept of the main player being trapped in this sea of zombies with no escape until three days later is brilliant. The gamer is always on the go and will feel like they are really "in" the adventure. The clock is always ticking and you can check your watch whenever by simply pressing "left" on your D-Pad. Having a clicking timer also means the games missions all affected. This causes stress, but it's the good stress.

A few other interesting game ideas are that you can't quit the game. You have to die before you're the option comes up to Load, or Save and Quit. I usually didn't want to save and quit, so I would just power down. I think they could have had another option for those who want to quit without saving. Sounds stressful, well it's not over yet. For saving you have to hit certain checkpoints which consist of mall bathrooms or the safe security via the rooftop. Again Dead Rising proves to keep the game moving with urgency is always present. Half the time is delegated between escorting survivors, or just finished off a psychopath and you'll be sweating as you attempt to make to a save point. Really, if you could save anywhere at anytime, Dead Rising would be too easy.

Smile for the Camera
One more innovative aspect of Dead Rising is Frank's photojournalist skills. Frank is equipped with a camera which gives him PP (Prestige Points). The better the photograph the more PP points, this also goes for kills and special photo ops. The camera is equipped with a PP sensor, but in the middle of the action you'll probably be too rushed to take your time. The PP work like a RPG, the more points the more you can level up. Leveling up is important because Frank learns new combat skills and he also gets bonuses to his statistics. Frank traits are broken down like this attack, speed, life, throw distance, and item stock. Even the smallest boost seems to help especially early in the game. There is an achievement and a level cap of 50, but to achieve level 50 you'll need to play at two or three times.

Mentioning achievements, the breakdown in Dead Rising is interesting and the 1'000 points are scattered over 50 achievements each worth 20 points. Some range from the easy like, kill 1'000 zombies (Zombie Hunter) to the hard, get the true ending without being knocked out (Unbreakable). Most of the achievements are average in difficulty, but this won't be as easy as King Kong. If you're an achievement-aholic then you be happy to know there are some cool unlockables when you grab some achievements. Mega Man anyone!

Psychopathic Freaks
What else is left? Well, first I have to breeze over the bosses in the game. They are broken into main storyline characters, and psychopathic freaks that lost their marbles in the mall. The psychopaths which are usually optional are one of the coolest and creepiest aspects of Dead Rising. If you through Condemned had some freaks they are nothing to Adam the Clown or Steven the grocery store manager. Defeating bosses will help make the game a little easier because you will normally receive a special bonus for defeating them.

I'm A Survivor.. I'm Not Going to Make It
Lastly we have survivors, save them or let them die. In totally we have 78 survivors, and just so you know it's impossible to save them all. When saving survivors you might have to complete a small task before they will go with you, from finding them food, to saving them from a horde of zombies. It's not overly complex to get them to follow you; the hard part is making it to the checkpoint. The survivor AI isn't the greatest and half the time you'll be fighting with them to make it to a save point. In Capcom's credit, each one has been programmed to act differently, some will fight others will crawl and whine. Survivors give big PP, so it's wise to try and save as many as possible. I also liked how you can assist them by holding their hands, giving them weapons or food, or even piggy backing them to safety.

Addictive by Nature
So that's sums up most of Dead Rising. The gameplay is extremely addictive and a nice change for the survival horror genre and typical gameplay. The story is engaging and every angel has been approached. For once I didn't breeze through a game and I had to reload several times, best part is. I didn't see it all in one play through. I'm glad Dead Rising has come out within the first year of the 360, so hopefully we can get another one or two from Capcom before this generations ride is over.

Capcom is no stranger to blood and guts, dark atmospheres and the design of the Zombie. From their jaw dropping graphically perfect Resident Evil 4 to the current generation with Dead Rising, no other company excels in horror like Capcom. Dead Rising is beautiful in that gory way. Capcom really pushed their development onto the next generation and it shows. Dead Rising practically runs without a hiccup while processing large indoor and outdoor environments, hundreds of zombies, while your character is going nuts with an assortment of weapons. Even the smallest details on these zombies and characters are captured and it's even more apparent on the main characters. The leading cast is some of the best characters I've seen and they all look very realistic without being too Hollywood. Yes, it's safe to say, Dead Rising is amazing.

The audio department has a similar high production value attached to it like the graphics, although there are a few flaws that keep Dead Rising from that perfect 10. The main complaint on the audio side is the lack of voice work on a good amount of NPC's conversations in the game. Mainly the needed to add voice overs to the transmissions from Otis updating you on the malls happenings. Other sections of Dead Rising have voice over work which is believable and good, that's why I'm surprised the skimped out a bit on the overall product. Besides the voice overs, the music and sound effects are good. The eerie overtones and the violent sounds of zombie dismemberment are sweet. Capcom did a great job all around for the graphics and sound in Dead Rising. It's a definite highlight for the Xbox 360.

Dead Rising is one of the most engaging survival horror games to be released in the last few years. Dead Rising offers a lot to gamers in the way of action, suspense, stress, and humor. Besides Oblivion, no other Xbox 360 has reeled me in like Dead Rising has. If you have an Xbox 360 then you need to check out Capcom's zombie slashing, Dead Rising.

Gameplay: 8.5, Graphics/Sound: 9, Innovation: 8, Mojo: 9. Final: 9 / 10

Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 08.21.06


  • They went shopping, now they're rotten - Next generation "swarm" technology surrounds you with hundreds of on-screen zombies to hack, drive and run through.
  • Lawn mower death - If you can pick it up, you can use it. Over 250 items to cause mayhem with include skateboards, severed arms and circular saws.
  • 72 hour countdown - You decide how to play, as events unfold in the mall. Help other survivors, find the source of the outbreak - or just hide yourself away in a cupboard.

Dead Rising




Sept 2006


Players 1
Dolby 5.1
HDTV 720p