Freed from the shackles of platform exclusivity, Dead Rising 3 finally shambles onto PC screens. Promising all the previously-released DLC, improved visual fidelity, and more graphics options than you can wave a katana taped to a rake at, it certainly seems like a no-brainer for anyone dreaming of hacking and slashing their way through hordes of ravenous dead folk.
Unfortunately, much like the undead masses found within, Dead Rising 3 lacks finesse and fine motor control. It tends to stumble and groan under the strain of pushing an ocean of slavering corpses at the player. Gameplay that’s almost as brainless as the risen dead and some minor yet persistent performance issues mean any recommendation of this title comes with a heavy dose of caveat emptor.
Set a decade after the events of Dead Rising 2, you find yourself filling the work boots of Nick Ramos, a working class MacGyver, reluctant hero, and proud owner of a magical never-ending roll of duct tape. As Ramos, you must find a way to escape the overrun city of Los Perdidos before it is bombed off the face of the earth.
As was the case in previous games in the series, you can pick almost any item in the world and wield it as a weapon. As was also the case in those games, in-world quality control leaves a lot to be desired: even the hardiest of items degrade quickly, and most weapons are destroyed after dishing out a dozen or so solid thwacks to a zombie face.
Worry not; even though build quality in Los Perdidos is dire, Nick can utilise his awesome mechanic skills to combine objects into new and improved cadaver evisceration devices. Unlike the previous games, however, Nick is able to construct these weapons of crass destruction on the fly – no workbench needed! This gives him instant access to upgraded weapons with which to shish-kebab, bludgeon, and even hadoken wave after wave of the eternally hungry fetid meat sacks.
The game’s combo weapons are outlandishly inventive and utterly ridiculous, and locating blueprints to unlock these deliciously demented devices of deceased destruction is one of the driving forces in the game.
Inexplicably scattered all around the game world by some unnamed benevolent or perhaps absent-minded maniacal genius, they are a trophy collectors dream, and in of themselves will provide hours of exploration and gleeful carcass dismemberment.
The focus on melee combat is to the game’s benefit. It’s weighty, frantic, and immensely satisfying. Not since Condemned: Criminal Origins have melee encounters felt so realistically kinetic. Full credit to Capcom Vancouver – it has built what might be the best melee combat mechanic to date.
But combat alone does not a game make, and with a story as disposable as any of the weapons found in the game and a protagonist who is little more than a toolkit and a platform to attach a weapon to, there is not much here to keep the player interested in the happenings of Los Perdidos.
The fetch quest missions become tiresome very quickly, NPCs are uninteresting, and the boss battles are laborious chores with easily-exploited attack patterns who provide no real challenge except to the patience of the player as the hitpoints are gradually whittled away.
To that end, anyone wanting wholesale slaughter of an inexhaustible supply of the walking dead will find plenty to enjoy here. Dead Rising 3 is all about killing zombies and it kills zombies exceedingly well. Players wanting more substance to their undead sandbox will however find the game tired and dull rather quickly.
As for the quality of the port itself, while there are all the graphics and sound options any respectable PC game could hope for, the game is lacking in many areas. Locked at 30 frames per second, the game suffers from a lack of fluidity with feedback and control, especially if mouse and keyboard are used.
Removing the FPS lock only adds more issues. Inconsistent performance directly affects the responsiveness of the controls, mouse acceleration makes fine aiming a chore, and overall the game feels undercooked as a result. Playing with the frame rate locked at 30 with a controller in hand is the best option for a consistent and relatively issue-free gaming experience.
Even so, Dead Rising 3’s emphasis on pushing truly impressive numbers of zombies onscreen has come at the expense of the personality and charm that characterised the series' previous games.