Dead Rising

Plenty of movies have answered the question "what would we do if the dead rose from their graves?" Many games have, too. The problem is that the answers are all too often the same, thanks to how forcefully Resident Evil answered it the first time around. Though it comes from the same company that as that tense adventure game series, Dead Rising is more Shaun of the Dead than drama-soaked disaster - and all the better for it.

The unimaginative have figured the easiest way to make an Xbox 360 game stand out is to throw dozens of enemies onto the screen. This time around, though, the tactic works beautifully instead of seeming like a tired gimmick. Dead Rising takes place in a mall overrun with zombies, an obvious swipe from horror classic Dawn of the Dead.

The main character, Frank West, has the beefy build and cow-like gaze of a steroid-soaked Hollywood action hero, but the occupation of a Japanese horror protagonist: freelance photojournalist. It follows that your time will be split between smacking around zombies and trying to investigating the outbreak, with a camera to document the resulting carnage.

Of course, you're going to want to spend a hell of a lot more time mutilating zombies. It stands to reason, when you've got such a variety of weaponry at your disposal: everything from broadswords (from the antique shop) to machine guns (oh, just lying around!) There are even joke weapons, like a replica of Mega Man's "buster" arm cannon, which fits over Frank's hand and fires tennis balls.