Thursday, November 09, 2006

How Dead Rising Could Have Been 100% Better

I'm beginning to feel like a curmudgeony gamer. Almost every time I play a video game, I find myself thinking, Why didn't they just make it THIS way? It would have been so much better!

Dead Rising, Capcom's shopping mall zombie survival game for the Xbox 360, is a good game. It's really good. It's as good as a game can be without being full-on wicked awesome. While it's admitedly hard to find fault with a game that lets you run zombies over with shopping carts, throw pies in their faces and smash guitars over their heads, the developers dropped the ball when they designed the game's survival mode.

"Infinity Mode," as it's called, challenges the player to survive as long as possible with a draining health meter and limited food supply. This mode, which gives the player a level of freedom very much missing from the main story mode that must be completed to unlock it, should have been so much more fun. After all, it lets the player do whatever he wants for as long as he can, so long as he can find enough food to keep from collapsing. No responsibilities toward the stupid AI characters who need to be rescued in the story mode. No need to be at the Security Room at 3:00 PM on the dot to start the next case. It should have been the best mode ever.

The unfortunate thing is that, in Infinity Mode, the developers failed to create any incentive to do the thing players most want to do, which is kill zombies. How difficult would it have been to give the player a useful bonus item for every hundredth zombie killed? How about the game automatically snapping a still of every fiftieth kill from a random angle (the camera is disabled in Inifinity Mode, for some reason) and offering you the chance to keep it in your photo album if it turns out nicely? How about ANYTHING besides challenging the player not to starve to death?

I don't mean to complain. Dead Rising is an important step forward in the evolution of the zombie game genre. But man. If I had been on the creative team, there would never be a need for another zombie game ever again.

Capcom, you can contact me directly for my resume.

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