E3 2013: Dead Rising 3 Preview

June 14, 2013

It’s happening, then it’s not happening. Then it’s happening again. Then not. And now it’s actually happening. The looong rumoured Dead Rising 3 had a formal reveal at Microsoft Xbox One E3 2013 presser, proving all the gossip was correct and the game would indeed be a flagship exclusive. You may have seen a bit about it on your computer. We’ve seen a little more from the show floor.

Dead Rising 3 starts the adventure with a new protagonist; unlucky mechanic Nick Ramos facing undead hoards the equally unlucky Californian city Los Perdidos. And those these elements may be new, Dead Rising 3 retains plenty of mechanics fans of the series will recognise in a flash. Primarily: the world is you oyster, and everything is a weapon.

Like the past two games, Dead Rising 3 emphasises the scavenger concept, wherein the player is encouraged to explore their game world and make use of as many items as they can get their hands on to take down zombies. Bash brains in with hammers, distract them with flairs, cut with blades, and so on. If you can find it, odds are you can use it. And, naturally, if you think you can tape them together, you probably can do that as well. Dead Rising 3 uses the series’ blueprints to discover item combinations, letting you craft new tools on the fly. Stick a cement saw on a sledgehammer and hello, you’ve suddenly got yourself a sledge saw. You’ve even got something called “combo categories”, which allow you to combine weapons anywhere and out of anything, unlocked through a character customisation screen. And to aid scavengers who like constructing their own tools of destruction, weapon lockers let you store anything you’ve found or built for use later. Build your own arsenal, really.

Clothing and experience points too make a return. Dead Rising 2 made the whole dress-up-doll thing a major focus, and Dead Rising 3 is no different. You’ll be able to grab all sorts of gear, for example a hazmat suit, which the dev team was showing off as a homage to Breaking Bad. And, like the weapon lockers, you’ll be able to store your attire in clothing clothing lockers for quick and easy access later. Dead Rising 2‘s experience system transfers across more or less point-for-point, and Dead Rising 3 expands the idea by adding a levelling attribute point system, which lets you level up stuff like your health, potential damage, and so on. Equipable “books” jumble the attribute point system up a bit too, each granting Nick some kind of attribute perk, like extra damage.

One of the major changes Dead Rising 3 brings over Dead Rising 2 is the shift from compartmentalised game zones to true open world. Dead Rising 3 is an entire city, and putting that Xbox One horsepower to good use by totally eliminating loading. And, since the game world is so large, vehicles have taken a high priority as your ideal form of transport. You’ll need them for safer travel from A-to-B, and they make for good zombie battering  rams. On the downside, the undead will cling to your vehicle in an attempt to slow you down. Well, it’s kind of a downside. Sure looks cool. The development team has been thinking up all kinds of scenarios that make use of the open world and vehicle design, like driving a hearse through a cemetery, knocking over tombstones, while hundreds of zombies get in the way and cling to the hood.

Aside from the open world, we did notice (and were detailed) a few other changes in Dead Rising 3. Presentation has taken a shift. The highly comical style of Dead Rising 2 is gone in favour of a more gritty, darker atmosphere. Dead Rising 3 definitely plays a bit more on traditional horror, with gruesome discoveries and jump scares. But the team does promise the essence of silliness from the past two games is still a big focus. As for extras, Dead Rising 3 is one of many Xbox One games making heavy use of smartglass technology. For example, you’ll be able to use your tablet to display an overhead map of the game world, as well as order in air strikes and other such goodies.

Dead Rising 3 is currently slated for a 2013 release exclusively on Xbox One.

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