Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dead Rising

I have finally, mostly, recovered from my trip to Manhattan. I have to admit that being back in the rural midwest truly feels much safer (from zombies), at least I can have some time to evaluate the situation should the menace strike...
However, while in New York I had an opportunity to finally play Dead Rising. Since nothing in the world could convince me to walk around during that sickening ode to consumerism, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, I decided to rent Dead Rising, and decide if it can be used as a training simulation. The answer is no.

The problems with Dead Rising as a training game
1. The zombies do not require severe head damage to die. Granted, enough damage to any type of body should immobilize it, a couple of strikes with a baseball bat (irregardless of where they land) are enough to "kill" the zombies of Dead Rising. Moreover, a single gunshot to the head is not necessarily enough to stop a zombie.
2. If you are bitten, you don't get the zombie virus, your health just goes down (and can be brought back up by drinking a gallon of orange juice- without fear of a diabetic coma). There is no fear of the contagion, and armor upgrades seem to be for aesthetic reasons only.
3. The weapons break too quickly. A lead pipe is not going to be useless after attacking a zombie ten times. The lead pipe will seriously outlast a good chunk of the zombie threat.
4. Some of the most effectual weapons are the least plausible. For example, a park bench can be used to sweep 5-6 zombies aside (also killing them). How many people can wield a park bench? Although, the lawn mower was pretty cool.
5. Finally, movement logistics. The biggest challenge I had in the game was picking up and not dropping weapons. In real life, picking up a lead pipe would not be an extremely difficult task requiring repeated references to the gaming manual. Also running in a specific direction would normally require little thought, but in Dead Rising, I have to make sure that I am aimed in the right direction and that my camera is providing me a view of the direction I'm heading in. This last complaint is probably the most revealing of my video-gaming capabilities, but also is probably the biggest difference between attacking a horde of zombies in the simulacrum versus the real world.

All in all, Dead Rising is an entertaining game, however, time would probably be better spent preparing for the zombie menace by working out and arms training (not trying to figure out how to shift to the crosshairs perspective). Other reviews are welcome.

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