Dead Rising 3 is an open-world, zombie adventure game developed by Capcom Co. It was a launch title for Xbox One, and released on November 22nd, 2013. As of December 23rd, 2022 it has sold 3.2 million copies. It was first announced by Microsoft at E-3 2013 and was generally well received by Xbox fans upon release.
The game takes place in an alternate version of L.A., CA called “Los Perdidos” soon after a viral zombie outbreak. You play as a mechanic named Nick Fuentes, who seems like just another guy, but has a complicated past that eventually sheds light on the origins of the outbreak. Nick teams up with new and old friends and co-conspirators, to find their way out of the city, and possibly find a cure to the zombie plague.
Dead Rising 3’s dark, inky landscapes and character designs look great and hold up in 2023. I see it as a classic in terms of visuals, even if not so much in other areas. Gameplay-wise there is a lot to do for an open-world zombie game. Solid sound design and a soundtrack worth exploring also adds to the shadowy allure of DR 3. The story will give you some good laughs, but it leans on humor to prop up a stumbling narrative.
Dead Rising 3 has strong art direction, and is the best looking game in the series. The character models still look outstanding. The overall aesthetic is grim, gothy and beautiful. It features a rich monotone color palette, and captures the sheer lack of hope the player can feel when faced with enormous hordes of the undead.
DR 3 doesn’t have the biggest open world map, but it offers good level design, making the city feel bigger than it actually is. This is nice to see as many open-world games could use more focus, and less scale. There is a day and night cycle and the graphics keep their integrity no matter what time of day it is. The buildings and houses look good, and in some cases exceptional.
The camera in DR 3 is cropped closer than it is in the other DR games, making gameplay look more dynamic, even adding a dose of tension as it makes it harder to look over your shoulder. It also makes searching buildings more fun, in my opinion.
DR 3’s interior designs are aesthetically appealing. You can enter a fair amount of homes and businesses to loot, kill zombies, and find collectibles and secrets, and they have enough spooky details to encourage exploration. Collectibles called “Tragic Deaths” are some such details. The menus and tutorials are also visually effective, but the lack of detail on certain areas of the map can make traveling in a vehicle feel like a burden at times.
The gameplay is a blast, and is the most fun I’ve had roasting the rotting masses in quite some time. As far as combat, both melee and gunplay are functional. DR 3 can also be addictive due to how you utilize random items, and exploration is rewarded. These are all hallmarks of the DR saga. There is usually something to do regardless of what area of the map you’re in. Blueprints, trophies, special items as well as side quests will always be waiting. I should also mention that just like the DR games prior to DR 3, you must finish the game within a time limit. This time you have 6 in-game days.
DR 3 can be as difficult or easy as you want it to be, to some extent. Playing solo can lead to some challenge during the endgame. Live or AI support can be a big help, especially during boss battles or when you need help searching for collectibles. AI support is available early in the game and comes from people you saved from zombies that can be accessed via the “survivor bulletin board” at safe houses. I approached the game both ways, and both had their benefits. The challenge of playing solo was rewarding, and playing with support can amp up the fun. There is also a “nightmare mode” that ups the difficulty for seasoned players.
Some functions, such as picking up items and weapons in particular, as well as organizing them in your inventory can be a pain in the neck. DR 3’s controls could be tighter in general, granted you have to face thousands of zombies, just to get from one side of the street to the other. Yikes ! That being said, controls are good enough.
Everything from normal sports cars to the insane hybrid vehicles you create, have a unique feel to them, as well as their own strengths and limitations. You craft hybrids in the field, which is a nice touch. Something like a tractor, can be combined with a motorcycle to craft a mean killing machine that gives you the ability to cruise the streets and mow down hundreds of undead corpses every 2 seconds. It makes the block look worse than your mom’s kitchen the first time you tried to make the whole family sloppy joes. *Ahem. There are about a dozen hybrids you can make, some with unique abilities such as firing various projectiles, throwing flames, and electrocuting the undead who try to attach themselves to your ride. The devs. also made sure that analog controls feel meaningful.
There are a substantial amount of guns in DR 3. I played the “Apocalypse Edition” which features DLC content, so several were added to the dozen already in the game. There are also so many combo weapons to create, I doubt you will see them all during your first playthrough. You can find everything from six-shooters to rifles and shotguns, and craft everything from grenade launchers, to insane shock blasters than can kill a tougher enemy with a single shot. Melee weapons are aplenty as well. The ones you find throughout the city range from sledgehammers to broadswords, to crowbars, spiked-bats, chainsaws, and more. When you start crafting combo melee weapons things also become more interesting. Mass destruction of the herd becomes possible with weapons like huge electric spears and giant Thor-like hammers, not to mention gun-swords and fire-breathing Chinese dragon suits, just to name a few.
There are also many random objects in the environment you can use as weapons such as; garbage cans, park benches, tacos, Barney the purple dinosaur heads, fireworks, flower pots, your girlfriends vagina, etc.
With so many different ways to play DR 3, I think most zombie fans can find a way to appreciate it. It has a lot of weapons, vehicles, and random environmental objects to use against an insufferable amount of zombies. It also has functional gameplay, overall. There are some prevalent issues with picking up items, and the inventory isn’t the type I would opt for in a game like this. But these things aside, the game is a laugh riot that offers exceptional replay value.
Story is not why you want to play this game, unless you’re in the mood for an often hilarious, pulpy B-movie script, and are ready to accept it for the mildly entertaining shit-show it is. I won’t go too much into comparisons. However, I can say that after spending some time with a few other games in the series, this one is a step down in terms of writing.
Frank West, from the original DR, is a much better written character than Nick Fuentes, who is a motionless, stale protagonist. Chuck Green, of DR 2, carries more swagger in the short cameo he makes during this game, than Nick did my entire playthrough. One thing DR 3 does offer is iconic and psychotic bosses. They range from sadistic, to immensely gluttonous, to downright sexually depraved, and should give you some good laughs when they come to mind, long after they’re defeated and the credits have rolled.
DR 3 takes place in an alternate L.A., California called Los Perdidos, 15 years after the first outbreak that started in Willamette, Colorado. Most citizens have now been “Chipped” with a technology that makes them immune to zombificaiton. Those who refused this government intervention live “off the grid” and are called “illegals”.
Our story begins 3 days after the outbreak, as our protagonist Nick Fuentes is making his way to a diner where his friends are holed up. He fights through a gauntlet of zombies to meet his boss Rhonda and friend Annie among several others. Things take a turn for the worse as the diner gets overrun by zombies. The group gets separated and Annie finds her way back to her own group of illegals. Nick, Rhonda, and a few others find their way to Rhonda’s auto shop and find out the government is bombing the city in 6 days, once the remaining survivors are rescued. They make their way to a military checkpoint, but it ends up being abandoned. They’re then attacked by an ethno-nationalist biker gang, and after defeating them come in contact with Nick’s old friend Diego, a soldier in the military. He tells them there’s a working plane on the West side of town, but it needs fuel.
Nick ends up getting bit by a zombie before the group makes it to the plane, and heads to a local funeral home to find “Zombrex”, a zombie infection medicine. There he meets a man named Gary, who was ordered by his boss, to look for a girl that happens to look like Annie. The funeral home is out of Zombrex, but Gary notices Nick’s bite has mysteriously healed. Nick then starts to think he could be important to finding a cure.
Gary makes a deal with Nick to bring Annie back to him in exchange for plane fuel. Nick soon finds Annie among her group, but she refuses to go back to Gary. Annie and the others convince Nick to help them find evidence that the military and local police are killing survivors instead of saving them, in exchange for their own information about where to find fuel. After finding proof of the military’s crimes Nick catches up with a man named General Hemlock and a woman named Dr. Mallon, who are now attempting to overthrow the government.
While pursing Hemlock and Mallon, Nick uncovers the mystery behind his immunity. Gary then catches up with Nick, and he and Rhonda later realize they share a common bond. This leads to an exciting endgame where the crew tries to escape after finding fuel, and features a cameo by the legendary Chuck Green as he joins Nick to stop Hemlock from achieving his nefarious plans.
The story really doesn’t go anywhere until the end, and isn’t too good from the get. But at least it gives you something else to laugh at, and a few breathers in between your zombie-killing sessions.
DR 3 has good sound design. A large variety of weapons come with an a large number of explosive and destructive sound effects. Guns and explosives sound as loud as they should for a game with this type of action, and the sound of melee attacks against the living dead carry weight and punch. DR 3 has good voice actors, but is generally lacking in vocal direction. The zombies sound cool, and don’t have any sort of overly annoying screams, yells, grunts or groans.
The original music score was done by award-winning music composer Oleksa Lozowchuk. It features a mostly dark, atmospheric goth-industrial type of music, with various alternative rock songs in between. The main theme song called “Please Remember My Name” seems like a strange choice to me, but it can grow on you. The vocals are interesting and haunting.
Overall, the game’s audio works in tandem with its art direction. However, some songs sound a bit too generic for my taste. The song that comes on when fighting General Hemlock is a good example of one of the tracks I really like. It has a fast maniacal beat, with heavy, mechanical drums and dirty electric guitar riffs. It shows me that the game’s composer knows what he’s doing. I would’ve liked to hear more of this type of music on the soundtrack, but that’s not to say there aren’t more tracks similar to it. From what I gathered, Oleksa Lozowchuk also has some recent work in the game “Horizon: Forbidden West”.
Dead Rising 3 is an open-world zombie game with rewarding gameplay, despite a weak storyline. It also has a few control issues. However, its grim visuals leave a lasting impression and encourage return visits to Los Perdidos. DR 3’s soundtrack can sound generic at times, but it does compliment the game, and is worth exploring.
Score: 7.0 out of 10 – Good!
Thank you for reading Spirit Game by Howl Blake. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think about Dead Rising 3. I’d love to hear from you.