Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Dead Rising Remaster Review (XONE)

Capcom mostly seems interested in doing remasters this generation so far, but with games as great as the Resident Evil series and now Dead Rising, we can’t complain.  The remaster of Dead Rising 1 features all the bloody and gory zombie slaying action you remember but with much cleaner visuals and the addition of multiple save slots.  The game still holds up incredibly well overall, too.  This won’t necessarily be a full review, since the game is 10-years old now, but read on for our full impressions and score for the Dead Rising 1 remaster on Xbox One.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom, QLOC
  • ESRB Rating: “M” for Mature
  • Genre: Third-Person-Action
  • Pros: Satisfying bloody gameplay; lots to do; great presentation; psychopaths; save slots!
  • Cons: Otis; awful survivor A.I.
  • MSRP: $20

Originally released exclusively for Xbox 360 on August 8, 2006, Dead Rising was one of the defining games of the beginning of the previous generation.  It packed a ton of enemies onscreen all at once, looked great, and was a fresh and fun and new experience at the time.  It also got criticism for having tiny text on SDTV’s and a wonky save system, but overall it was, and still is, a beloved piece of zombie slaying history.

Playing as photojournalist Frank West, Dead Rising 1 takes you to a Willamette, Colorado, specifically the shopping mall, where a zombie outbreak is taking place.  Frank has to survive for three days until the helicopter comes to pick him up and in that time he has to figure out who was responsible for the outbreak.  And rescue any survivors.  If he has to.  To fight through the zombie hordes Frank can use anything he can get his hands on as a weapon, which is where a lot of the fun in Dead Rising comes in.  You’re in a shopping mall full of potential weapons, so go nuts!

The new remastered version of the game is mostly intact save for a couple of changes.  The load times are slightly faster on Xbox One, all of the DLC costumes are available from the start, and the text size isn’t an issue anymore since you have to play it in HD, but the bigger story is the inclusion of multiple save slots that you can switch between.  The original release had confusing language when it came to saving, so a lot of people got confused and accidentally re-started the game a lot when they didn’t necessarily mean to.  That confusion coupled with the overall difficulty of the game – and it still is pretty challenging – led to frustration from players that didn’t know how the save system was supposed to work. 

Only having one save slot also led to frustration because you could screw up and miss achievements and miss saving certain survivors on one run through the game.  Now with multiple save slots you can save scum all you want in order to save everyone.  Or if you screw up and restart, you can just go back to a previous save like nothing happened.

Of course, I was one of the few people that was actually a fan of the way everything worked in the original Dead Rising.  I wrote an article that explained how the save system worked back in 2006 that to this day is still one of the most read pages I ever posted for About.com.  The way it worked was like this – when you died you could choose to re-load your save, or you could re-start the game but keep all of your XP and upgrades.  The idea was that you were supposed to die and restart a couple of times to power yourself up to make the rest of the game easier, but impatient gamers wanted to be able to beat everything in one run.  I prefer the original setup, personally, but if having multiple save slots makes the game easier so more people can play it, I’m all for it.

Check our reviews of the Dead Rising 2 and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record remasters!

And Dead Rising 1 is still a game you should definitely play, too.  It has held up incredibly well over the last ten years and is still a ton of fun.  It still stands as easily the best game overall in the Dead Rising franchise thanks to the most interesting environment to play in – a shopping mall scenario straight out of “Dawn of the Dead” – and a great supporting cast.  It was also fairly serious compared to how silly Dead Rising 2 could be and had some truly memorable enemy “psychopath” characters.  The psychopaths are regular humans that went crazy due to the zombie outbreak.  Each one had an interesting backstory on why they went nuts and their boss fights (and deaths) were really a highlight of the whole series. 

Before writing this review I actually played the 360 release of Dead Rising (with my level 50 maxed out save from 2006, of course!) to see how the visuals compared and I was actually quite surprised how good the game still looked on Xbox 360.  It is vibrant and clean and good looking even now.  The remastered version on Xbox One looks just a little better though, of course.  The background details were always pretty sharp, but the remaster really makes the zombies look a lot better as they’re a lot more detailed now.  Much of the game takes place in confined areas so the draw distance isn’t much of a factor, but you can definitely see more zombies a lot further away now than you could before out in the large outdoor area.  The performance is also rock solid at 60FPS with few drops. 

All in all, Dead Rising 1 is still the best game in the series and the remaster does a good job of cleaning it up and making it presentable in 2016.  It is a ton of fun to play, has a great environment to play in, fantastic boss fights, cool weapons, and it looks so sharp and clean you could cut yourself on it.  Dead Rising is one of my all time favorite games and being able to play it again, and earn the achievements all over again, on Xbox One has been a real treat.  If you never played it before, definitely play it now.  And if you already love it, well you’re already probably going to buy it anyway.  In any case, Dead Rising is great and the remaster is well worth a look.
Disclosure: A review code was provided by the publisher.