First off, you might be wondering to yourself, “Wasn’t the third game already announced?”, to which I’ll reply, you sir or madam, are very astute. The next game in the Dead Rising universe, dubbed Dead Rising 2: Off the Record was unveiled at Capcom’s Captivate event earlier this month. The only thing is, this isn’t necessarily a followup to the events in Dead Rising 2, instead it’s more of a “what if” scenario had Frank West been in the game originally. Does it make much sense? No, not really, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be blow our minds with how great it is.
Let’s set Off the Record off to the side so we can have a chat about Dead Rising 3 and what Capcom and Blue Castle can do to make it the bestest. game. evar. Whether or not you’re a fan of the series (I tend to find myself flip-flopping between mindless fun and heavy frustration when playing these games) there’s no denying they have some serious issues. Sure they’re fun, quirky and there’s no shortage of fantastically brutal ways to dismember/burn/freeze/mow down the undead but much of the potential fun is held back by some serious flaws. Here are some of the things that are really holding the series back, as well as a few things the series needs to keep in the next game. Arguably the Dead Rising’s most frustrating feature is the ever-prevalent time limit. It’s always there, ticking away, and if you miss your deadline you have to start over from your last save. Now, this wouldn’t be at the controller smashing level of frustration if the save system didn’t still suck, but I’ll get into that later. Dead Rising is the only sandbox style series that continuously forces you to watch the clock and punishes you severely for taking your time or, oh I don’t know, trying to have a little fun.
I understand the idea of some missions having time limits, like giving Chuck’s daughter the goods to keep her from jumping on him and tearing out his throat like that little girl in the Dead Island trailer. But there is always a time limit, it’s an omnipresent clock that keeps me from doing what the game seemingly wants me to do – kill lots of zombies in the craziest ways possible.
If I had my way then time limits would be banished entirely from the series since their sole purpose seems to make the game less fun, but I don’t see that happening. Assuming that’s the case, I suggest either giving us a time limit free option once we’ve beaten the game or limiting the timers to missions that make sense. If I find a survivor that’s fighting off a horde they shouldn’t be able to do that until I take the time to save their ass, but leave the time limits to only a few missions and I’m positive more people will be interested in the game.
For the most part the save system saw a vast improvement over the original but it’s still inconvenient having to go so far out of my way when I have the fucking time limit to think about. Dead Rising simply needs to be about having fun, but the systems in the game contradict each other. It’s like they found themselves with a great concept, i.e. throw your ass in a world filled with thousands of zombies and many different ways to dispatch them, but when they realized the game was too fun they threw in a few awful ideas to make it more challenging.
So, for a recap: let us save any time we want or give us a healthy amount of checkpoints and remove the time limits. If just those two ideas were implemented into the next game I predict a 10 point jump in the next game’s average Metacritic score, easy. But that would bring Dead Rising 3 into the low 80’s, and for many companies that’s just not high enough to compete in the big leagues. So, here are a few more ideas.
Stick with the humor, in fact, I suggest taking it even further into the realm of over-the-topedness. This might be hard to believe, but I think Capcom is actually holding back when it comes to all the crazy shit you can do in the game. They’re Japanese, and without sounding racist, those people are capable of reaching a whole new level of weird. I mean, have you seen any Japanese game shows lately? Pure, beautiful insanity.
What would Dead Rising 3 be like with a little more weird sprinkled on it? A better game, that’s what. One of the best things about the series is its outlandish sense of humor: with the crazy costumes, imaginative ways to take out waves of zombies and fairly odd story. It’s still pretty tame, and I think they can do better. Need an example? How about a mech you can create by combining a bunch of combo weapons? YES. PLEASE.
There’s plenty of things that can be done to make Dead Rising 3 the open-world zombie game I desperately want it to be but the aforementioned ideas are firmly at the top of my list. If you’re wondering why I didn’t dive into the weapons or co-op it’s because those are things I already know will see improvement in the next game. Of course there’s going to be a bigger arsenal of weapons and there’s definitely going to be more cooperative play. But I’m not entirely sure whether or not Capcom even thinks any of the things I did talk about are issues, and they are. Some might even call them fundamental problems with the game since they keep it from being what a game should be. (I’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with bun., but it starts with an F).
Think I missed anything? You could be right. Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your ideas. Just make sure you coo them softly in my ear so I have something to fantasize about tonight.