Relive the terror in Dead Rising HD (PS4 review)

dead rising

Last week Capcom treated us with the re-release of three classic Dead Rising games remastered in HD for the Xbox One and PS4 (bundle or individual release). I got my hands on the original Dead Rising in all its HD glory, and being able to relive each moment brought back many memories when I first played it. Seeing as this game is a remaster of the original, not a remake, none of the gameplay is touched other than to adjust for the current console controllers. It’s pretty apparent that this game has aged in the past 10 years, for better or worse.

If you’ve never played Dead Rising, the game is set in the fictional town of Willamette, CO. Playing as Frank West, you get a tip about something big happening in town and are dropped off to cover the story. The main setting is inside a shopping mall as a massive zombie outbreak threatens the town of Willamette. Since the helicopter that dropped you off will arrive in 72 hours, you’re running against time to uncover the truth behind the outbreak as well as saving as many lives as possible along the way. There are several different endings depending on the outcome of your 72 hours; for example, if you complete all the case missions, you’ll unlock Ending A, which is the actual ending of the game. Missing a mission will result in another ending, and even arriving for your helicopter on time or not results in different endings, with 7 potential endings. Again, if you’ve never played Dead Rising, I don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s worth several attempts to unlock each ending. And if you are a fan of the original, here’s your chance to try unlocking the endings you missed.

The game itself shows its age graphic wise. But it’s not something that faults the game; it is 10 years old. The smooth upscale to 1080p and 60fps really show the blockiness of the original game as well as the odd facial expressions, especially the way they talk. The upgrade does, however, allow the gameplay to run really smooth with absolutely no slowdown regardless of how many zombies there are. There is a noticeable bump in textures and shading effects throughout levels that adds to the finish of the game. Overall, the HD re-release may not be pretty, but it isn’t ugly either.

Now, here’s my biggest gripe with the Dead Rising HD Re-release: nothing has been changed gameplay wise. It plays exactly as it did when it was first released for the Xbox 360, and I feel like that is a big issue when playing. Games have adapted to newer gameplay mechanics and it’s something that can be frustrating while playing when realizing there are many things you can’t do while playing. For starters, there’s no crouch button whatsoever. Hiding behind objects when being fired at can be difficult when being shot at, but I can’t fault that if crouching wasn’t really a popular game mechanic until after Gears of War. Aiming in absolutely atrocious and takes some time to get used to again. Again, when gameplay mechanics adapt to what works, gamers adapt as well, and this just takes a step backwards. You can move and shoot which results in a complete blind-fire that can hit or miss the target in front of you, or you can stand still in the middle of a zombie infested area and try to shoot one by one whatever is in front of you regardless of whats behind you.

It’s exactly as hard as it sounds, so melee weapons are your friend. Despite the nature of aiming and shooting, just smacking zombies around is tons of fun, especially since almost anything in the general area can be a weapon: baseball bat, iron pipe, a frying pan, a bench, plant pot, zombie hand, etc. It’s actually what made Dead Rising fun in the first place, trying to survive wave after wave of zombies with just weapon and your fists. And when it looks like end is near, that random item you come across can save your skin when it matters most. But don’t get too courageous out there since the game is exactly as it was 10 years ago. The saving mechanic is as well. You can only save your game in one area, which is the security room. If you get far in the game, you’ll have to head all the way back to the beginning just to save, then get back into whatever it is you were doing.

Final Reaction

Dead Rising is a fun game, 10 years ago. Replaying it again is still fun, but more frustrating than I can recall. Despite its flaws, it’s still a solid game that’s worth a run, or rerun if you’ve played the original release. Graphically it’s been enhanced enough to where it runs much smoother and allows for more onscreen mayhem, but the lack of updated gameplay mechanics can push this off people’s “must have” list. It will keep you going until Dead Rising 4 this December.

Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms

NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

You can purchase Dead Rising digitally or physical disc on PS4 and Xbox One.

*The game was provided by Capcom for review.

Facebook Comments

About author

Joe Gonzalez
Joe Gonzalez 286 posts

Gamer since '86, well knowledgeable in movies and games, and semi tech savvy. Graphic artist and t-shirt printer for over 10 years.