Dead Rising 3 Preview: A Zany Zombie Apocalypse
Dan O’Halloran and Ian Cheong collaborated on this report.
A recent presentation of Dead Rising 3 gave us a promising glimpse of the light-hearted, yet brutal zombie killing title. Though we were only offered a look at the loading screen-free open world, what we saw looked like a lot of fun as you explore hundreds of ways to massacre the undead in ways ranging from brutal to hilarious.
The game picks up ten years after the events of Dead Rising 2, and is partially darker in tone, intending to induce a sense of dread in the player. It’s aiming for dark, dread-inducing atmosphere, but also has plenty of lighthearted moments of comedy to lighten the mood.
Playing the role of Nick Ramos, an ex-mechanic, you will get to explore the city of Los Perdidos, California, which has been divided up into 4 distinct districts. It’s all connected by a highway system which takes full advantage of the wide selection of vehicles to choose from.
There are objects you can use to confuse zombies, including portable stereos which you can use to “drop some phat beats,” hinting at some of the game’s lighter tones. Also retained is the ability to dress up in crazy costumes from bear suits to fireman uniforms while going on a zombie killing spree. Coupled with gratuitous displays of violence, the game manages to retain the zaniness of its predecessors while also exuding a good amount of grit.
“Zombies are a threat this time,” said the Capcom rep we spoke to. “They are deadly, they’re more aware, they can scream, other zombies can hear. They can hear you and you’re really pushed by that now, not necessarily by running out of time to complete the missions. It’s about the zombies.”
We were informed that the zombies are equipped with advanced AI, but they’re still low-intelligence enemies. A Capcom rep stated that the developers invested in their ability to scream out and cause other zombies to gather to the location. Furthermore, the horde of zombies functions as a single AI, which can be confused as a group that will run towards a flare or a loud noise.
Diverting zombies with noise and light becomes important when their sheer numbers crowd in on you. A well-placed flare will distract the mob long enough for you to make a quick escape. But when you break into the gun shop to arm up, the store alarm attracts the shambling brain eaters, quickly giving you little time to grab munitions and get the hell out.
Despite being a much more serious survival horror game than previous iterations, you’ll still be rewarded for exploring with easter eggs, goodies, and moments of comedy to lighten the game’s tone. For example, grab a traffic cone at the local gas station and you can jam it on the head of a shambler Plants vs. Zombies style. If you were smart enough to have run over the gas pumps, you can use the resulting explosion to light conehead on fire as well. Hilarious and disturbing all at the same time.