The original Xbox 360 version was a race against the clock, with a tight time limit that made it impossible to see the entire thing on a single play-through. Plenty of gamers were turned off by the difficulty level but the Wii version is much more forgiving. The missions are much the same but you simply select one from a menu every time you return to the safehouse. After rescuing some survivors you’re graded based on time taken and the number of casualties, then you can move on to the next set of missions.
There’s a limited selection of items knocking around the mall, which you can pick up and whack zombies with in the unlikely event you run out of bullets. Some items are pretty funny – the petrol-powered auger drill that skewers zombies and spins them till their limbs fly off is a highlight. Still, the appeal of a lawnmower frenzy is tempered by sparse zombie population and the way they fade out within seconds, leaving behind Resident Evil 4-style ammo boxes.
Bikes and skateboards allow for faster travel in open areas, but there are few places where they’re really useful. Most of the indoor scenes are small and confined to just one or two paths, plus those infernal poodles are able to keep pace with you. As soon as you stop, you get bitten. The lack of freedom or incentive to explore reduces Dead Rising to little more than a simple shoot-’em-up and not a particularly competent one at that. Targeting headshots on mostly stationary zombies is extremely easy with the Wii remote, so you can easily clear an entire screenful of them in next to no time (as long as you’re not being harassed by animals). After depopulating an area it’s not uncommon to see zombies reappearing, as if shooting them only served to delete them from the digital world for a brief period.
Forget that it’s a pale imitation of a decent 360 game. This just isn’t up to much in its own right, technical limitations or otherwise.
Feb 24, 2009