Dead Rising 3 (2013)

Welcome to Los Perdidos

Dead Rising 3 (2013)I’ve played all of the games in today’s series before but have never been nearly as into them as everyone else seemed to be.  And no, I’m not talking about the Grand Theft Auto series.  I think I’ve already written that review.  Though I’ve never been a fan of this series, I found myself extremely excited to purchase this game on day one.  Why is that?  Because it was one of two games I intended to buy for my brand new Xbone!  And it was the only game I was going to buy that was exclusively on said Xbone.  We shall see how that worked out for me as I review Dead Rising 3, developed by Capcom Vancouver, published by Microsoft Studios, and including the voices of Andrew Lawrence, Shelby Young, Valorie Hubbard, Daniel Roebuck, Kirk Bovill, Juan Gabriel Pareja, and Veronica Milagros.

Ten years after Dead Rising 2 and Capcom is satisfied with using the same story again with different characters.  Mechanic Nick Ramos (Andrew Lawrence) is in Los Perdidos, California, trying to survive a zombie outbreak with a few other survivors named Dick (Kirk Bovill), Rhonda (Valorie Hubbard), and Annie (Shelby Young).  But their survival has a timer on it as they find that the government has decided to write the city off … with a nuclear bomb.  The group decides they need to use this time to repair an airplane they found and get out before the bomb is dropped.

When looking at the very few release titles for the Xbone, the two games I was most interested in were Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome.  Ryse was said to be the game that best showed the power of the system, but it fell off my radar because it was said to be too repetitive.  Dead Rising was supposed to be not leaps and bounds above current generation games in visuals, but was supposed to be fun.  And it was, but story certainly had nothing to do with that.  It’s a very basic story, one I feel like I’ve already lived at least twice in the Dead Rising series.  There’s a zombie outbreak and you have about 6 days to escape.  They have a couple other things going on like a few relationship things and a government conspiracy, but nothing that was shocking.  I guess I found it shocking that one of the characters in the game throws up when a guy’s intestines are thrown against a window, but only because of the failing logic involved in a guy being squeamish about gore when he spends his days surrounded by the walking dead.

Visually, the game does not stun as I had hoped it would as my guide into the new generation of video games, but I suppose you can find the power of the Xbone if you really look for it.  The amount of zombies on screen at any given time is what shows off the processing power of the machine, and all of these zombies look at least a little bit different.  But the fact that it seemed to be a more stylized look instead of trying to look uber-realistic hindered me from being impressed by it at first glance.

The real reason to buy this game is because of the gameplay.  It’s a lot of fun.  It’s pretty mindless fun as you may have come to expect from a hack-and-slash game, but it is fun nonetheless.  I think I had the most fun with the crafting system.  It’s really pretty deep.  You can make a ton of stuff in this game by collecting and combining even more random items, but I found myself just picking the few items I particularly liked and sticking with that.  I really liked how effective the electrical hammer was.  And, though it wasn’t nearly as effective, I felt obligated to carry around a lightsaber at all times.  How could I not?!  And there were tons of collectibles and random events to encounter around the map, but I found myself resenting the time constraints of the game.  I understand how the 6 day thing relates to the story, but I want to play around in the world and collect stuff.  Why would you want me finishing your game so quickly anyway?  It should be considered an insult to say you can beat a game in 10 hours.  Most games add things like collectibles in hopes that you’ll spend more time playing and getting the feeling that you got your money’s worth out of the game instead of trying to force you to rush though the game.  I also didn’t enjoy the multiplayer aspects.  I was running around in the game and some random dude decided to jump into my game without my consent because I hadn’t gone into the settings and disabled that.  I don’t want someone up in my Kool-Aid like that!  Especially not if him joining would stop my game in its tracks for a minute while I wait for them to join!  So I quickly turned that off and went by to my self-imposed isolation.  Just the way I like it.  I also wasn’t a fan of the way Xbone seemed to try to rip off Sixaxis from Sony.  When a zombie grabs you, you can shake your controller to get them off.  And it works as well as Sixaxis ever did … which is to say not very well.  I hope it doesn’t become a thing with the Xbone, but it’s still a minor gripe.

I only got about half of the achievements in this game before I stopped playing it in favor of Assassin’s Creed IV.  I may go back and clean up a few more that I was close to.  They’re mainly just a lot of collecting, leveling, and killing.  Killing 100,004 zombies takes a while.  Everything else seems attainable, depending on how hard Nightmare mode is.

Dead Rising 3 is the best (and only) Xbone exclusive I’ve played.  Unimpressive story and graphics that only impress with the amount of zombies the system can have on screen at any given time are overridden by the good old fashioned fun of cutting your way through an ocean of zombies with a weapon you made from a sledgehammer and microwave.  If you purchased an Xbone, this is probably a game you should have for it.  Dead Rising 3 gets “Local Hero” out of “Them’s the Facts.”

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Gears of War 3 (2011)

Let’s … Get … RASPY!!!

It finally came out. A game most proclaimed was the “most anticipated game of 2011” has finally been released and, after I finished playing a game that will be reviewed later, I was able to dive into Gears of War 3 … and beat it about 24 hours after I started it. Gears of War 3 is a third-person, cover-based shooter brought to us by Epic Games and Microsoft Studios.

As always with series, I feel the need to catch you up on the story of the other games first. In Gears 1, you start as your main character, Marcus Fenix, in jail and broken out by your friend Dom. You are COG’s (The Coalition of Ordered Governments) troops and a group of creatures called the Locust have attacked humanity. And you are the only one raspy enough to stop them! You lead your team of Dom, former thrashball player Cole Train (baby woooo), and the asshole mechanic Baird. Your main goal is to retrieve a resonator that will map out the Locust hive, in order to later deploy a Lightmass Bomb and destroy them. Then you do and that’s basically that. In comes Gears 2 and shows us that that was not basically that. The Locust survived and have found a way to sink human cities. We get down there and see it’s a giant worm that the Locust are using. We kill it. Dom finds his wife trapped in a cage in the underground tunnels, but she’s been tortured and traumatized so much she can’t even speak. Dom reluctantly euthanizes her. We later discover that the Locust are at war with another creature known as the Lambent. We decide that we are going to sink the city of Jacinto and flood the Locust tunnels with water, killing Locust and Lambent alike. We meet the Locust Queen, Myrrah, who admits she had the same plan so that she could destroy humans and Lambent alike. But we do it first. Nah nah nuh nah nah!

Now that we’re all caught up, we dive into Gears 3. We start off on a boat as it gets attacked by a Lambent Leviathan. With help from Baird and Cole Train (baby woooo), we kill it. Once we get off, we might a dying douchebag named Prescott (who I don’t remember, but he apparently pissed off the COG’s by ditching them a while back) who tells Marcus that his father is alive and has a cure to the Lambent problem. Marcus, who had previous thought his father to be dead, is not pleased to find out that Prescott had Adam Fenix kidnapped and taken to an island called Azura to work on such a cure. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to rescue him and destroy the Lambent.

This game had been called the “most anticipated game of 2011” by many people I’ve come into contact with. It’s not the case for me, however, because Uncharted 3 and Arkham City are probably more anticipated for me. I like Gears of War a lot though, don’t get me wrong. To me this game is a great game to cooperatively play with my friend Jordan, and it’s great fun for that. Of course, when he has to leave an hour after we start, I’m probably gonna finish the game without him (and I did). But, for me, the Gears games have been lots of fun but I wouldn’t put them near the top of my favorite games of all time or anything.

I think the story is probably the biggest failing of this game. It’s fine and everything, but it’s kind of predictable and lackluster. There have been a couple of great moments though. I still remember when Dom had to kill his wife. That was a very emotional scene. And when it was referenced in this game, I didn’t need a reminder. Other scenes, like Marcus’ fathers death, I am still wondering if I witnessed in the game or if it happened before the game. And apparently we thought he died in a helicopter crash of sorts, so I have that in common with Marcus. And now I can only assume my dad will come back when it’s time for me to end the inevitable zombie holocaust. I won’t spoil them, but this game had one or two good emotional scenes to it but, frankly, I saw them both coming. I will spoil something in a way though: It is a very, VERY bad idea to wear a helmet as a COG. Know what I’m sayin’, Carmine?

The gameplay is probably the finest thing about this game. It’s nearly flawless. The guns mostly feel great, although I admit I only typically use two of them (the Lancer and the Longshot) unless they’re not available. They added two (or perhaps more if I didn’t notice them) new guns for this game, the much touted Retro Lancer and the Digger. The Retro Lancer was like a shitty version of the regular Lancer and I didn’t use it unless I had to. The Digger was a nice gun though, but a sonofabitch when the enemy had it. You basically shoot a grenade into the ground and it digs it’s way over to you, pops up and explodes. The cover system works smoothly and I very rarely had a situation where I couldn’t get it to do what I wanted it to. And that was mostly when I had an enemy in front of me and at my side. And I didn’t have this problem often, but it’s highly annoying on the 2 or 3 times it happened, but your dumbass AI teammates occasionally found themselves disinterested in picking you up from a downed position, instead letting you bleed out slowly and having to restart.

Graphics are probably the thing they do second best here. You don’t really get to notice it too much throughout the game because the greater majority of the landscapes are ashy, broken, gross-looking cities with all the color bled out of them. But in this game, when you head underwater and when you reach the last level, you get to see the lush landscapes and beautiful colors and start to realize that these guys do graphics right.

The voice acting also works nicely. John DiMaggio plays Marcus Fenix in a much different way than he played Bender. He’s the raspiest of raspy. This caused many jokes over the years between me and Jordan, but it still works for the part. Cole Train (baby woooo) does his part as well, and is less annoying in this game than in previous incarnations. The same can be said of Baird. Also I noticed that Claudia Black, who I know as the voice of Chloe in Uncharted 2, plays Sam in this game.

I actually played the multiplayer a bit! Isn’t that wacky!? The versus options offer your regular modes: Team Deathmatch, Warzone (Team Deathmatch with one life), Execution (Team Deathmatch with executions), Capture the Leader (Flag), King of the Hill, and Wingman (Team Deathmatch with a partner). Horde makes a return in Gears 3; a mode where you and some buddies try to survive round after round of increasingly difficult enemies. Then they added a new mode called Beast mode. This, to me, is a swagger jack of Left 4 Dead. It’s Horde, but you play as the enemy. As you do better and better, you unlock more and more powerful enemies (although my favorite for most situations was the weakest enemy that ran up to enemies and made itself explode). At first I found it very difficult to get used to (much like playing as one of the zombies in Left 4 Dead was) but once you got a handle on it, it was pretty fun. If you want a nice change from a normal first-person shooter multiplayer, this is similar but different enough to keep you interested. I had a few problems with glitches though. In one of my first matches, someone went to trade an item with me and when I did, I froze in place with the rest of the game going on around me. Then I was booted for not participating.

I say this is a game worthy buying. If you’ve played Gears 1 and 2 then you should also pick up the pinnacle of their game making and find out how the series ends. I give this game a “RASPY!!!” out of “raspy”.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.