Review: Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition

Despite its share of disappointing releases, the Xbox One’s exclusive launch lineup was solid. Forza Motorsport 5, Killer Instinct and Dead Rising 3 lead the system going into 2014, but those who didn’t own the console were left without their zombie murder simulator. Dead Rising 3 is the first game to break out of its exclusivity bubble, with Ryse: Son of Rome coming next month, and has hit the PC platform to moderate success. The zombie apocalypse is upon us; is your PC gaming rig up to snuff to process the hundreds of detailed zombies on screen at once?

Forget the Wiillamette Parkview and Palisades Malls as Dead Rising 3 has players traversing through the fictional Californian city of Los Perdidos, which is broken up into four districts. This gives the developers an opportunity to build different structures than what we’ve become accustom to such as mansions, hospital, graveyards and more. Unfortunately, because of this, the color palette has gone from a bright, colorful mall into a rather dark, grey world that seems to be somewhat indicative of the semi-serious tone the story has. The Dead Rising franchise has always had tongue and cheek humor, and while the third iteration certainly has a strong cast of characters and psychopaths, Nick’s somewhat conflicting demeanor dampens the fun. One moment he’s executing thousands of zombies in his underwear, the next he feels sick about having to kill a psychopath. The story itself is pretty cut and dry as the government is covering up their efforts in evacuating Los Perdidos and look to bomb the city in five days. This gives the player plenty of time to explore the vast city and maybe help survivors on the way.

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The gameplay mechanics are fairly similar to what we’ve come to expect with the Dead Rising name. Hacking through the hordes of undead with unique combo weapons has never felt so good, and being able to craft items on the fly now is a nice bonus and saves a lot of time over finding a bench. The more creative the weapon is and the higher the combo meter ticks, the more PP Nick will obtain, allowing him to level up and assign points to various attributes. Vehicle combinations are also introduced, allowing Nick to ride in style around Los Perdidos, or in safely, depending how the player wants to go. The biggest and by far best new adjustment Capcom Vancouver has made is that survivors who need saving won’t be tagging along. The artificial intelligence in past games has been less than satisfactory, so this time, as soon as Nick saves a survivor, they escape on their own. There’s still an element where Nick can bring along someone he saved at a safe house, but it’s still not great as it will quickly end in that survivor’s demise – but at least they’re more mobile this time.

The variety of activities and exploration opportunities in Los Perdidos is a little overwhelming. While it’s not the biggest open world that’s out there, it’s the fact almost every structure placed in the setting can be accessed or entered. There’s a lot of extras scattered throughout the world, although the number of side quests seems to be on the shorter side. Regardless, there’s a lot to do in the desolate city as depending on the time of day, players may run into random encounters or other activities that will drag them away from the main story. As most as it is the zombie apocalypse, five days in Los Perdidos is a lively vacation.

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Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition is one of the very first games made intently for current generation consoles to take the leap onto PC. The difference can be told as it’s a very demanding game. Playing at 1080p, 30fps with everything maxed out isn’t a significant problem if you have an up to date gaming rig, but if you want to go higher than that, it will take some serious hardware to do so. It should be mentioned that Dead Rising 3 is, from the offset, locked at thirty frames per second, but don’t fret as it’s not hard to unlock it. A simple .ini file can be created with a single line of code to fix it, but it makes you question why it wasn’t put in the game in the first place. There are random bursts of frame rate drops when turning the camera, so be prepared to potentially lower some of the visual settings to compromise. Speaking of frame rate, the majority of drops we experienced weren’t actually from hacking through the overwhelming number of undead on screen, but rather during the cutscenes. There are some that are pre-rendered, mainly located at the beginning, but the majority are in-game and can fluctuate in frame rate depending on the settings and your system’s capability. If your system can handle it, running Dead Rising 3 at a high resolution with everything maxed out yield absolutely phenomenal results.

Unfortunately, the port isn’t without its issues. For one, the sound levels are quite low, even when everything is maxed out. It by no means makes this unplayable, but some will have to adjust when going back to regular computer activities, especially those with headphones. Additionally, at least from the build we played, running Dead Rising 3 at a lower resolution than the monitor is set to will cause some problems. Having a 1440p monitor and switching the resolution to 1080p while still in full screen mode ends up with a cropped picture in the middle of a large black enclosure. It doesn’t seem to scale appropriately, but that’s something that may be patched after the fact. There’s no official windowed mode in the menu system, either, so Alt+ Enter will be needed to do so, and even that can be finicky. Finally, the load times can be excruciatingly long, ranging from twenty-five to forty seconds. Thankfully, the game will really only load once when you start up the main campaign, and transitions through cutscenes take no time at all.

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Closing Comments:

Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition is a beefy port of a great Xbox One game and its decent post-release content. It may come with its own set of issues that could be fixed in future updates, but they matter little if you have the gaming rig to back up. While it will require a little bit of fidgeting to run at an unlocked frame rate, the visual upgrades will help immerse the player in the zombie infested world. Los Perdidos is an impressive playground, especially with online cooperative play, offering a wide variety of activities to play through. While the story doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen before, it still contains a strong cast of characters with a couple of interesting twists. If you’re a PC gamer who missed out on Dead Rising 3 last year, then the Apocalypse Edition will help fill that zombie slaying void in your heart.
score4
Version Reviewed: PC