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Dead Rising: Game Review

Updated on April 4, 2017

What is Dead Rising?

Dead Rising, the game that started the series, centers on a photojournalist named Frank West. Frank is trapped in a shopping mall in the fictional town of Willamette, Colorado, after travelling to the town to investigate why it was closed off. Frank has three days to rescue survivors, complete missions, called Case Files, and figure out the cause of the outbreak before his ride comes back to rescue him.

Frank must also survive against not only zombies, but psychopaths as well. The player must complete major missions to advance the main story, though optional tasks can be done. There are several different endings you can unlock, based on what missions you complete.

Modes and Weapons

There are two game modes to choose from;

  • 72 Hour Mode: The main mode and the only one available to players to begin with. Main goal is to investigate Willamette Parkview Mall within three days, before Frank can be rescued by helicopter. If the player fails a case file, the game does not end, allowing the player to explore until the mode ends. Though failure to comply to certain conditions will result in earning a different ending.
  • Overtime Mode: By completing all case files by the time the 72 hour mode is up unlocks this mode, which players will automatically begin. The main objective is that Frank has an extra day to complete an additional set of objectives in the mall.
  • Infinity Mode: Unlocked after the completion of Overtime Mode. This mode allows the player to roam around the mall in sandbox mode without any time limit, with Frank trying to survive as long as possible.

To survive each mode, Frank must find weapons that are scattered around the mall. There are over 250 items available to use in combat and fall under two categories; melee and ranged. Frank can only carry a limited amount of weapons, though he can carry multiple versions of the same type. Each weapon can only be used a limited number of times before having to find a new one, as melee weapons eventually break, while guns are discarded after running out of ammo. Some weapons can be changed using the environment, such as a frying pan heated on a stove will increase the damage and grant access to a special move. Larger objects that Frank can't store in his inventory will be dropped when another object is picked up. Many of the less useful weapons are just for humorous effect, like the traffic cones to put on the zombies head.

Health and Prestige Points

Health items can be found all around the mall, usually in the form of different foods and drinks. Frank can also blend different items to make special juices, each having a different effect. However, in Infinity Mode, players will have to constantly eat food to stay alive, as Franks health drops every 100 seconds. They also can't access the supermarket, and food items are limited.

Dead Rising also incorporates an element of RPGs in the form of an experience system, in which completing various actions reward Frank with Prestige Points (PP). In both modes, killing a large number of zombies can earn PP, as well as taking photos. Any photo that Frank takes in the game is automatically scored based on five genres; horror, outtakes, erotica, drama and brutality. 72 Hour Mode and Overtime award PP for case files completed, completing optional tasks of rescuing survivors within the mall, and defeating psychopaths.

When enough PP is earned, Frank will level up, resulting in upgrades in either attack power, running speed, throwing distance, health or items Frank can carry. New moves can also be unlocked, boosting the effectiveness of hand-to-hand combat.

The HUD and Endings

There is an in game HUD provided that displays Franks health, prestige level, amount of PP progress he made towards next level, inventory of weapons and their condition, counter showing zombies killed, objective counter for both major and optional tasks, which also consists of a bar showing the amount of time the player has to complete them. Players also have access to a map, can receive calls on a transceiver about anything suspicious, and can view Franks watch to see what time it is.

Take note, the time of day affects the behavior of the zombies. During the day, they are weak and sluggish, but at night they are much tougher and more active and numerous.

There are several endings in the game based on certain actions;

  • Cannon End: Completing all the case files and Overtime Mode.
  • Ending B: Be at the helipad when time expires but don't complete all case files. Frank convinces the pilot to airlift the survivors out of the mall.
  • Ending C: Complete all case files but don't talk to Isabella at 10am on the third day. Frank fails to appear at the helipad.
  • Ending D: Be captured by Special Forces but don't escape when time expires. Frank is taken away in a helicopter by the forces.
  • Ending E: Fail to complete all case files and don't be at the helipad when time expires.
  • Ending F: Fail to gather all of Carlito's bombs in time.

If you fail to complete Overtime mode before the time expires, Frank eventually succumbs to the zombie infection.

Final Thoughts

Dead Rising brought to the screen a realistic way to deal with zombies, where everything is a weapon, or can be used to hinder the movements of the infected. Frank West also became a sort of face for the series, appearing in some of the other games in one way or another.

There is a DLC that was released, releasing nine keys for the Xbox Live market. These keys would unlock nine lockers in the security room, supplying the player with nine new outfits to choose from. There was also a remake of Dead Rising, called Dead Rising: Chop till you Drop, that was released for the Wii.

All in all, this is a fantastic, fun game to play, even better when you enter Infinity Mode. No time limit, keep your health up, and just beat all the zombies.


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