Review: Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition

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Review: Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition

Last year's Dead Rising 3 was and still is the best argument for owning a next-gen console, so PC owners are in for a treat with the release of Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition, a game-of-the-year-type compilation of the main game with its four downloadable content packs. Set across several days in an open world overrun by the undead, the story introduces survivor Nick Ramos, a mechanic who can conveniently strap together nearly any two objects to make a lethal zombie-killing weapon, racing to escape the fictional Californian city of Los Perdidos alongside other B-movie stereotypes before the entire area is nuked. While each previous Dead Rising has been notorious for its crazy level of difficulty and tricky time-restricted gameplay, Dead Rising 3 is a sequel that builds on the series's strengths and narrative while refining core mechanics to render it accessible to newcomers as well as fans. Playing the game's campaign on the standard settings frees up timed events to allow a more casual and manageable playthrough, wherein everything the game has to offer can be experienced without restriction, retaining its infamous difficulty in a separate Nightmare mode, featuring the demanding time limits and cutthroat RPG elements for series veterans.

Prior to its release, there was some concern over Dead Rising 3's grungy brown-and-grey color palette, a contrast to the bright and colorful locales of previous series entries. Thankfully, the game plays this to its advantage: At first glance, Los Perdidos seems to reproduce the comically unclean, broken-down grime look that's been the standard for AAA games over the past generation, but this serves as a terrific contrast to the ridiculous tools for destruction that Nick gathers and creates. Electrical neon boxing gloves, flaming-chainsaws-on-sticks, and a bright red-and-blue steamroller motorcycle become commonplace instruments with which to wreak havoc on the massive hordes of zombies encountered across the game. The graphics are just as impressive here as they were on the Xbox One: Witnessing literally thousands upon thousands of zombies on screen at once is breathtaking, as is charging through them with muscle cars.

The hilariously, bewilderingly awful writing adds to the B-grade appeal of the game, with Nick encountering a variety of strange and sick boss characters, termed Psychos, during his adventure that are illogically based on the seven deadly sins—because, well, why not?—and draw from a manner of typically Japanese stereotypes. (Crazed transgender bodybuilder, anyone?) Likewise, a terrifically implemented co-op mode allows two Nicks to take to the game's campaign together; it makes little sense, which is completely fitting to the lunacy. There's just so much to see and do in Dead Rising 3, and the game only stumbles with minor technical hitches and the lack of inclusion of the final downloadable addition, Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha. But it doesn't matter, as one of the best and most addictive games of 2013 has now become one of the best of 2014.

Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition is now available from Capcom for PC.