Dead Rising hands-on

By now, we're all familiar with the premise of games like Dead Rising - any game featuring zombies is going to focus primarily on dropping the creeps in a desperate bid for survival. After just a couple of minutes with Dead Rising, however, it becomes clear that there is a lot more to it than just beating the not-living crap out of the walking dead (although there's still tons of that).

The game opens with our hero Frank helicoptering into the sleepy, backwoods town of Willamette that has been beset by some strange happenings. Flogging his credentials as a freelance photo-journalist, you get behind his lens to snap pictures of the mayhem below. This brief introduction serves as primer on Dead Rising 's answer to character enhancement: you earn Prestige Points for your photos if they're graphic, dramatic, or horrificenough. These points will garner new abilities and special moves for Frank later in the game, but getting the points in the first place is part of the fun.

Once Frank safely arrives at the ultimate paragon of what-to-do in Willamette (the local shopping mall), things really start to get sticky. You learn of the undead invasion that has embroiled the town in a survival-terror nightmare straight out of a late night horror flick. We can't get too specific on the plot points (and you don't really want us to blow the key story elements, do you?), but a host of poor shlubs have taken refuge in the mall and it's up to you to help them in any way you can... or don't, if you want to be a jerk.