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Dead Rising 3 Preview - E3 2013

We find out more about the upcoming Xbox One exclusive zombie title

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One of the bigger surprises at this year's Xbox One reveal at E3 was the announcement of Dead Rising 3, the popular zombie action/survival title that has become an unexpected hit for Capcom. So much so, that the next title will be launching soon after the Xbox One and once again exclusively on Microsoft's platform. During the show we had a chance to see more of the game in the company of the developers.

In a session hosted by a coiple of producers on the game from Capcom Vancouver, we saw a live demo unlike the one that was shown during the Microsoft press conference at the start of the week. It was a live demo however, so a few unexpected events did take place, primarily with the behaviour of the zombies. We saw Nick Ramos make his way through some suburban locations, getting into a car, crashing it, and calling in a military strike.

Dead Rising 3

The game will take place in the city of Los Perdidos, a fictional location that is similar in many ways to the city of Los Angeles. Events occur 10 years after Dead Rising 2, allowing the developers to have this new setting and protagonist and let newcomers on Xbox One enjoy the franchise from a fresh start. However, existing fans will find cameos and back story elements that are familiar.

True to the franchise heritage, the goal is surviving and anything can be a weapon. In the demo we saw a hammer, a 2x4, a chainsaw and other items being used to bash zombies. Location based damage is also prominent, and you will see zombies react appropriately when they lose a hand or leg. There will be more variety to how the zombies look, with the game utilizing a randomization and location-based references to create appropriate outfits for the undead. There is also more detail to the internals, with zombie guts, eyes, and teeth if you're into that level of detail.

The world is fully open with four major districts, in size bigger than the first two games combined. It is still filled with the undead, weapons, and attention to detail the same way that the more linear predecessors were. Almost all of the buildings are unique and were hand crafted, without any copy pasting of structures according to the devs. Getting through the zombie hordes will require creativity, and the crafting system is still a key part to the experience, but this time around because Nick is a mechanic objects can be combined on the fly. This means no more looking for a bench to create your favourite spiked bat.

Dead Rising 3

Exploration, scavenging, and surviving will be the key pillars of the experience. Nick will be able to level up, craft more advanced tools, search stashes for loot, discover safe houses, and more. Due to the open world nature of the game, driving will be an important aspect, with multiple vehicle types available. But this isn't a free pass to mow down zombies (though some vehicles like a bulldozer will provide that opportunity). The undead will grab on to your vehicle and affect your steering and weight of the car until you shake or scrape them off.

Black humour will still be part of the experience, but this time it will be less self-aware. Previous games were marketed to players who wanted to dress up the character in insane outfits and have fun smashing some zombies - while this will still be possible in Dead Rising 3, the game's debut trailer and our conversation with developers indicate the game is attempting for a much more serious tone. Players looking for black humour will still find it, but those wanting a more gritty and serious experience also won't be disappointed.

Because the open world, the rules of the experience will change as well. Players will no longer need to find a bathroom to save their progress and won't be constricted by a timer to complete the main story. However, the developers will make that mode available to players who want a challenge and a more classic Dead Rising experience. The app that will launch alongside the game will have some unique abilities - including the tactical strike seen at the end of the trailer - that can only be used and unlocked by those who own the app. Developers promise, however, that there will be other in-game abilities equivalent of the tactical strike to help with overwhelming zombie numbers.

Dead Rising 3

The game will also take advantage of Kinect, but on a level that hardcore gamers won't find intrusive. For example, you can flick the controller to get zombies off you, and navigate some menus via gesture. Voice commands will also be utilized, and the game will even react to noise detection in your room, alerting the zombies in-game if the space where you play emits a sudden noise. Though that feature can be turned off.

Dead Rising 3 looks promising from what we've seen at the show this year. The developers are opting to create a brand new experience on Xbox One, one that is gritty and integrated with the latest technologies. But fans wanting an oldschool game will still be happy with the available classic mode and plenty of black humour. Dead Rising 3 will ship exclusively on Xbox One. The developers refused to comment on the possibility of a later PC port.

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Dead Rising 3
Dead Rising 3 box art Platform:
Xbox One
Our Review of Dead Rising 3
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Dead Rising 3 is ranked #764 out of 1646 total reviewed games. It is ranked #70 out of 158 games reviewed in 2013.
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