Review: Dead Rising Triple Pack (PS4)

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Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV
Title: Dead Rising Triple Pack
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN

Release Date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Original MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: M
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
The Dead Rising franchise has been around for ten years and that makes me feel really old. The zombie bashing, mall crawling franchise has always held a special place in my heart, and despite playing and finishing the original three games when they first released all those years ago, I was excited to return to them in 2016.

Dead Rising released in 2006 for the Xbox 360 and was one of the console’s earliest and biggest hits. Now it is 2016 and the first game is finally available on a PlayStation console with the “remastered” version on the PlayStation 4.

For those unfamiliar with the game, the story follows a photojournalist named Frank West on the hunt his next big story when he finds himself in a zombie apocalypse. Now trapped in a huge mall, West must survive and save others while getting to the bottom of the zombie outbreak.

DEAD RISING_20160919214624 DEAD RISING_20161003135518

The gameplay is pretty simple. The mall is your weapon and there are hordes of zombies that need to be taken care of. Scattered throughout the world are objects that can be used as weapons which are the types of things one would expect to find in a mall. From store displays to random merchandise, most items you see can be used to bash some zombie skulls.

In 2006, the size of the game was rather impressive, especially with the amount of zombies the game packs on to the screen at one time. While perspectives have changed with the times, the game is still impressive though it does have some rough edges.

There are still a few issues with the mechanics that have aged it just a little bit since nothing has been changed from the original. The save system is pretty rough and the timed missions can feel overwhelming.

… annoyingly slow, dumb, and unbearable …
The game encourages players to restart their save often because they can keep their leveling up stats and become overpowered, making for an easier game. Players must remember to save often because there are no checkpoints outside of your last saved game. It can be frustrating losing a ton of progress only to die and realize it has been hours since your last save.

Other little things that were improved in the sequels have remained bothersome in the first game. Things like Otis the needy janitor on the walkie dishing out missions, or the A.I. survivors you have to rescue being annoyingly slow, dumb, and unbearable to listen to in the Safe House. Just little stuff here and there will pick at your overall enjoyment of Dead Rising, but the game is still fun.

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Moving on to what is probably my favorite game in the franchise we have Dead Rising 2 starring a new protagonist named Chuck Greene. Greene is competitor in a zombie killing themed game show called “Terror is Reality” in which contestants kill zombies on motorbikes for cash prizes. The story takes place sometime after the events of Dead Rising and show that life has begun to normalize after the zombie outbreak. This has lead to a world where zombies still exist for entertainment purposes.

After winning the game show, Greene is framed for causing an outbreak when the zombies from the show break free and wreak havoc on a Vegas adjacent city. Now being blamed for the destruction of a city, Greene must find the truth all while trying to protect his daughter who requires a medicine called Zombrex once a day.

In my opinion Dead Rising 2 is without a doubt the best game in this package as it improves on many of the flaws in the original game. The timed missions still remain, though slightly tweaked, making for a slightly more manageable experience, while the A.I. survivors appear to be far more capable in this outing.

… I found myself having just as much fun now as I did back then …
And quite frankly the environment is just better, with more wacky areas as would be expected in Vegas. There are malls, casinos, and other tourist traps, making it a fresher experience. It’s also far more capable at packing zombies into the world.

A new feature that was introduced into the franchise with the second game was the weapon customization. The player now has the ability to cobble together items into better and sometimes more bizarre weapons. The customization is not unlimited, but the number of combinations leads to fun experimentation and discovery.

I spent many hours playing Dead Rising 2 when it was first released on the PlayStation 3 in 2010 and I found myself having just as much fun now as I did back then.

Dead Rising 2: Off The Record_20161003025244 Dead Rising 2: Off The Record_20161003021537

And finally, the last game in the pack is Dead Rising 2: Off the Record which is an odd game to say the least. In this one, Frank West returns and replaces Chuck Greene in the story in an alternative reality take of the second game.

Since the first game, West had become a hero and celebrity, but that all goes downhill and he finds himself desperate for money and competing on Terror is Reality in a sad attempt at recapturing his former glory.

Just like what happened to Chuck Greene, the zombies break out and he is blamed for it. Now he must clear his name and help others as Greene did, though this time instead of having to find Zombrex for a daughter he must find Zombrex for himself.

… resolution has been bumped up to 1080p …
This game is a little bizarre because it is pretty much the same as the previous one but with a new (old) protagonist. The major story elements have been slightly adjusted to work for West’s story and character, but most of the missions remain the same as they were with Greene.

The game was likely made as a cash-in at the time, especially since people loved the character of Frank West. It feels like enough work was put in to change the story for Frank West, but playing these games back to back to back made me just not care enough about what was going on.

The game does add some things like a new amusement park called Uranus Zone as well as some new weapon combinations, but overall it very much feels like a complete retread.

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Visuals:
In terms of the visuals, the resolution has been bumped up to 1080p and the framerate hangs at a mostly steady sixty frames per second. I say mostly steady because the first game struggles with the framerate in a mind boggling manner.

I only had framerate issues when I swung weapons like a sledgehammer or larger weapons like a lawnmower. This is most annoying because the sledgehammer is a very effective weapon against hordes of zombies so I would just have to live with the slight dip in framerate every time I swung it.

Overall Dead Rising is just a victim of its time and is the rougher looking game of the three. Dead Rising 2 and Off The Record just look better overall, having been released later. That’s not to say that Dead Rising looks bad by any means, it just has some rougher edges as one would expect from a game ten years old.

… NPC characters constantly shouting the same lines …
Audio:
Not much has changed if anything in the audio department. The games sound like they did back in the day as far as I remember. There’s a lot of cheesy voice acting, which is part of the franchise’s charm as far as I am concerned.

I did forget how annoying the safe house was in the games with the NPC characters constantly shouting the same lines or crying in an endless loop, but that’s only a small complaint which is a problem mostly with the first game.

Dead Rising 2: Off The Record_20161003032834 Dead Rising 2_20160928015756

Online/Multiplayer:
The co-op aspect of Dead Rising 2 and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record return to much delight. I spent a great deal of time on the PS3 playing multiplayer with friends and I am happy to report that in my experience, the multiplayer plays just as well as it did back then.

Two players can bash zombies together to complete quests and various challenges offered in the two games, and it can be a blast with the mechanics provided.

… still very much enjoyable …
Conclusion:
The Dead Rising Triple Pack is a straight re-release or port of the original games for better or worse. Little was done to the games outside of the upping of the resolution and steadying the framerate to around sixty. For some, that might not be enough work to justify the release, but the games still hold up quite well.

I do have issues recommending purchasing the Triple Pack as a whole since the first game is pretty rough for newcomers and Off the Record is too similar to Dead Rising 2 to be enjoyed when playing them back to back.

Luckily each game is available separately for a reasonable price of $20 each. With that option, I highly recommend Dead Rising 2 to anyone and would recommend the original Dead Rising to those that want to replay the game in its best form to date. If you really miss Frank West, Off the Record is fine if not bizarre due to it being an alternate reality version of the beloved character.

The games are just as you might remember them flaws and all. Yes, they are just ports and that’s alright sometimes if they’re still enjoyable. These games are still very much enjoyable.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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