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Willamette Mall: Where Fun is All Around

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    Dead Rising

    Rating: 4.0 – Great

    Willamette Mall: Where Fun is All Around


    Dead Rising tells us the life of photojournalist Frank West, a man who got a tip on a major story going on in the far away city of Willamette, Colorado. Hungry for something to write about, he goes there by helicopter and while flying above the town he notices people in the streets wreaking havoc for no apparent reason. Is a riot going on? But why? Those are the questions he’s trying to answer.


    Frank notices a very large bulding in the center of the town, which he asks the pilot to land there. Frank then asks the pilot to come back there to pick him up in 3 days, after he looks into the mystery surrounding the town and tries to find answers. Once he lands there he realizes the building is a mall, and he is immediately greeted by a mysterious man named Carlito. Once inside the mall, Frank meets a group of people who seem desperate to barricade the main entrance. Turns out a zombie outbreak is going on in the town, and the ¡°riot¡± Frank first saw while flying over the place was actually people trying to run away from the zombies. As he tries to help them secure the place, a woman opens up the doors as she tries to protect her dog who ran away. That’s when the zombies get inside the mall and everything falls apart.


    Without spoiling the story from that point on, I’m going to shift the topic to the gameplay of Dead Rising. The game has an ¡°open world¡± in the sense that you can go anywhere inside the mall at any given time. However, the mission progress is based on a timer system. You have 3 days in the story which translates to a limited amount of time to solve the main story missions, known in the game as case files, and everything happens on a predetermined moment. There’s a watch that you can check any time to see how things are going. If you fail to complete a main mission within the time limit, you lose the game. Rather, Frank loses the opportunity to solve the mystery, which gives you a bad ending. There are several different endings that you can achieve based on how was your progress toward the case files. If you manage to finish every mission on time, you get the best ending. While you traverse the mall going to your objectives, side-missions also pop-up. Those are always about stranded survivors inside the mall in need of help, and you can go out of your way to try to help them and save their lives. Saving survivors nets you a big amount of EXP points as well as other bonuses depending on the case. Just be prepared to deal with terrible AI when it comes to the survivors, you need to escort them to safety and they often won’t follow you and will run into zombies, making you come back to them repeatedly until you can reach the safe room. Other type of side-mission is the Psycopaths, people who went crazy due to the zombie outbreak. Those are bosses, which also grants you many bonuses once defeated (including exclusive and often extremely powerful weapons).

    Due to the timer, many people find the game extremely hard to play. Some of the bosses are also very difficult at first. The lack of na auto-save system is also a problem to many; you can only save manually inside bathrooms around the mall, and the safe room. There’s a level-up mechanic that carries over to a new game file even if you get to the game over screen. This, along with the many side-quests and different endings, encourages the player to have multiple playthroughs. Once you get some of the more useful abilities through leveling-up, learn your way into the mall, shortcuts, secret weapons and whatnot, the game becomes much easier to the point that you can almost one-shot every boss in the game. Speaking of weapons, one of the biggest attractions of Dead Rising is the environment and how every object you can find can be used as a weapon. Since it’s a mall, there are many different stores of all kinds, going from sporting goods, to restaurants, to clothing stores (which you can dress Frank in the most ridiculous ways imaginable), to hardware stores, and many more. There’s always something new you find that can be used to kill the many, many zombies that are always nearby. As a photojournalist, Frank also utilizes a camera, and as a gameplay element you can take pictures in any moment. There’s a score based on what kind of picture you take (drama, comedy, horror, and others) and you can be rewarded with experience points.


    Dead Rising is a unique, one-of-a-kind game that can often be frustrating, but also highly fun to play through. It has a rough start, but once you get used to it, you can experience one of the greatest games Capcom has ever created. I highly recommend the 2016 PS4/Xbox One remaster over the original (and exclusive) Xbox 360 version, because some quality of life improvements were made, like the ability to save up to 3 different files in case you mess up and much faster loading screens.

    – Great story and characters that keeps you engaged;
    – Diverse and unique environment full of things to discover;
    – Variety of missions and endings boost the replay fator greatly.

    – Unforgiving learning curve for new players;
    – Some of the bosses are extremely cheap if you don’t abuse overpowered weapons;
    – Survivor AI is extremely infuriating.

    FINAL SCORE: 8/10

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