Capcom’s definitive Zombie Sandbox Survival Horror
Dead Rising come out in the summer of 2006, being one of the first true generational jump gameplay experiences with the xbox 360. This was the first title to be used by Capcom’s internally developed engine “MT Framework” a very well efficient engine that would define their huge success of HD development and being only one of the few Japan developers of its period to pave universal success. A fun quick fact with this as well, this engine own origins are thanks to Onimusha, where its early development pipeline tools come from.
keiji inafune and a few other key capcom staff developers wanted to create a love letter to the zombie genre (with the former wanting to leave his own imprint legacy out of Resident Evil’s shadow), inspired by those beloved zombie films such as George Romero’s “Dawn of the dead” and wanted to deliver a similar experience in the gaming medium.
The very first early glimpse was shown at Los Angeles 2005 –
I still remember this trailer very well and how amazed and excited was in my adolescence to witness such a fascinating zombie focused game that was very western centric on its semi open-world concept. My mind was being blown away by the sheer zombie count and “top notch” graphics still complimenting the environment all around the player to use any potential tool as a weapon for survival. From here I knew I would be day one without a shadow of a doubt. Capcom had something potentially special on their hands.
Willamette, Colorado, a shopping mall and a photo journalist
The game first throws the player with our beloved cored wars protagonist, Frank West, a successful photo journalist who got a scoop about something big going down and headed his way to Willamette. In the very first minutes starting of the game when given control to the player you introduced to one of the game’s core mechanics being the camera, as you it teaches you the mechanics and classifications of the “money shot” across a spectrum of fitting emotional marks that gives a score and then stored in your library. This core concept plays a significant role with the given character and help shaping the personality of the game on what to expect coming when you arrive at its infamous shopping mall. As you already flying there you can tell the whole town has already been lost and under military occupation.
Not long soon after when making introduction to the scenarios cast of characters and beginning the conspiracy laid upon the player, all hell breaks loose and you make haste to a centralized safe location, meeting Otis the mall’s janitor, and given a radio as a means to following objectives and fully being shown the game’s core DNA as you have to wait 72 hours in-game time before you are picked up and rescued. Here is where the game truly begins.
Chop till you drop
Now the true fun begins. The first part opening to the mall, Paradise Plaza, you are free to fully explore all its beloved shops and all its fun toys at your disposal. First and foremost, the game’s amazing strength on where it shines is how the zombie horde’s only purpose is to be only an environmental hazard and obstacle on your survival and nothing more. Difficulty and risk are all down to the player as other key factors come into play (which I will explain a little later) when you start off as a mere weakling on its level stat structure. Starting at level 1 you have very limited health and inventory of items you can carry and use around, based on the "PP" system. These mechanics help ensure the game doesn’t outstay its welcome and give also a secondary motivational objective to the player to become stronger and grow on its experience and level system. With limited time as well on whether to wish to continue the main conspiracy on the traditional story front, or wanting to only mess around and its potential other secondary objectives with finding other survivors, the game holds a fair and just hand on whatever path you wish to take when you are alive and allows you to restart from the beginning again with the current level and stats you made on that run through.
The difficulty curve and game flow is solely down to how much you are willing to invest on time and also shows another reason why this sandbox is totally further away from its other undead horror series benefactor.
I spent endless hours on the very first demo that come available on Xbox live before its full release experimenting with all possible tools and goodies in this incredible sandbox. The game has a certain pleasing unique feel and soulful charm about it and why I still consider this game timeless even now. I could just pick up random pies and launch them into many faces, or dashing like an absolute mad man with a trolley and indulging on full anarchy to the danger around me and never get bored. I couldn’t help but just say under my breath in all this never-ending dopamine rush of engagement and just think and say
Even as I am still typing this passionate topic to sing its song now, I’ve not even barely touched the surface yet fully on the already established features mentioned and need to bring up the other big part that makes Dead Rising, Dead Rising.
It's only but the mastefully executed use of Eastern-to-Western Satire and commentary focusing our beloved society collapsing from extreme duress due to the undead walking the Earth and ushering the beloved:
They are the glue that ties everything about the game together. They challenge you to survive and tackle the hazard environment all around you, making you adapt, persevere and press on while the undead are all around you. Each of these tragically twisted character have a story to tell and highlight this twisted world upside down, whether through dark humour or even something darker that wishes to make a point on our own selves as a society on possible what ifs.
I applaud the team for how they made this layer of its identity one of the most important aspects. Without this Dead Rising wouldn’t be what it is and would not be well regarded or loved as it is. It’s very hard to truly do satire well, especially in today’s climate with how barmy everything is becoming, and seeing more and more lack of common sense and human empathy. Dead Rising continues to remain relevant in today’s times with all this in mind, showing perhaps how psychopathic deep-down western comforts can bring out of people upside down!
So there you have it really, everything on why I love about this title (and "most" following titles in the series to date) has been explained by my own behalf and why it deserves to have this topic to help give areminder why how damn awesome Dead Rising is! I shall end this post with a good old school trailer to highlight further!