Dragon’s Dogma 2 and Dead Rising’s remaster prove that Capcom loves restricting players, and I’m the sicko who wants more

Dead Rising Deluxe Remaster
(Image credit: Capcom)

Oh Dead Rising, how I’ve missed you. Capcom’s reveal of Dead Rising Deluxe Remaster, which is set to launch this September, has brought back many fond memories. I’ve spent days in the shoes of journalist Frank West, traipsing through the zombie-infested Willamette Parkview Mall in search of survivors to save. Hours have gone by in desperate battles with schlocky “psychopath” bosses, and for long minutes I’ve rifled through shelves in search of all-healing orange juice. It’s important that we get granular here, because Dead Rising is all about time management: you’re on the clock for every second of Frank’s investigation, and losing track of time has dire consequences.

Dead Rising’s three-day time limit was – and still is – a somewhat divisive feature. Failing to rescue characters by an allotted hour resulted in their death, and you can easily fail the main quest by turning up to an important meeting late. Understandably, that sort of pressure isn’t for everyone, and when you factor in an absolutely dire save system (which is thankfully getting the boot in Deluxe Remaster), Dead Rising was never going to win over the world. I bloody loved it, though, and this year it’s been reassuring to see Capcom continue to champion risk-taking mechanics.

Don't have it your way

Dragon's Dogma 2 screenshot showing two characters overlooking an expanse

(Image credit: Capcom)
Lost in Vermund

A dragon in Dragon's Dogma 2.

(Image credit: Capcom)

Dragon's Dogma 2 review: "Embrace the chaos and there's nothing quite like it"

Back in March, I fell head over heels for Dragon’s Dogma 2. Despite never playing the first game, the sequel felt like it was made for me. For a bit of context, I’m all about immersion when it comes to RPGs. I play Skyrim like an adventure sim – avoiding fast travel, staying at inns overnight, and wolfing down entire cheese wheels for “dinner” – and Dragon’s Dogma 2 embraces all of this. Fast-traveling is a luxury that uses up pricey Ferrystones, so get used to hoofing around on foot. Going out of your way to cook a hearty meal can provide life-saving buffs before combat, and you can only save by napping in a bed or making camp. It’s an approach that makes merely staying alive feel consequential – the perfect ingredient for an immersive RPG. 

As with Dead Rising, Dragon’s Dogma 2 wasn’t for everyone. Some found its limited fast-traveling to be an inconvenience, while Dragonsplague – an unforgiving disease that can decimate entire cities if you fail to spot your companion’s symptoms in time – remains one of this year’s biggest controversies in gaming. These design choices add reams of texture, but naturally, not everyone’s going to like how it feels. Capcom following that up with a Dead Rising remaster – a game that lives and dies on whether you can gel with its time-sensitive demands – shows the studio isn’t afraid to keep taking risks. 

For every other fast travel-skirting sicko out there, that’s very good news because it doesn’t feel like enough studios are flying this flag. I mentioned Skyrim earlier, and while I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into it over the last decade-and-a-bit, it was a shame to see Bethesda trim a few of its predecessor Oblivion’s more granular features. One of the more talked-about losses is the ability to craft spells, but I’ll forever miss skirting through Cyrodil as a stage-four vampire. Going without feeding made you supremely powerful, but it came with major trade-offs: sunlight became truly lethal and in public you were attacked on sight by vigilante townsfolk, which meant you either had to avoid people entirely or regularly drink blood to blend in. All of that’s toned down massively in Skyrim, which makes vampirism easier but far less colorful as a result. 

Ultimately, it all comes down to a willingness to limit the player. Done well, restrictions push players into memorable encounters they wouldn’t have otherwise experienced – my defining memory of Dragon’s Dogma 2 is making the long trip from Melve to Vernworth, which became a desperate slog as I didn’t yet have a camping kit to stop and heal with. I still remember every single second of the journey, from cutting down a rope bridge so that my half-dead party could escape a gaggle of skeletons, to the immeasurable relief I felt when dawn broke the next day and Vernworth’s gates were finally in sight. Thematically it’s a million miles away from my time in Dead Rising, charging through escaped convicts and hordes of zombies to reach a juicy scoop in time, but neither would have happened without capital C Consequences in play. 

Dead Rising protagonist Frank West fighting a horde of zombies using a baseball bat

(Image credit: Capcom)

That being said, it’s a fine line between restriction and frustration. There was no auto-saving in Dead Rising, and you could only save manually by going out of your way to visit bathrooms. Because you were usually in a rush, saving often slipped your mind until it was too late and progress was lost. This sort of limitation is about as fun as a dull headache – it doesn’t encourage new experiences, or force you to come up with creative solutions to a problem. It sucks. Capcom iterated upon this in Dragon’s Dogma 2, which still limits your manual saves but generously auto-saves before every fight. Dead Rising Deluxe Remaster will use a similar system, thankfully, and as a result I’m hoping it strikes the same balance – after all, is there anything scarier than a life-or-death run to the bathroom? 

The fact that Capcom hasn’t entirely scrapped Dead Rising’s limited manual saves shows that it still understands the allure of consequence, just a little better than it did in 2006. The broader decision to even remaster Dead Rising, when there are arguably safer games worthy of revisiting (has anyone checked in on Dino Crisis fans?), suggests Capcom knows the demand for tactile games is there. As for me? I couldn’t be happier. When September rolls around, I’ll be in Willamette Mall guzzling orange juice, suplexing zombies, and loving every carefully-measured minute. 

If you already miss Frank West's old look, don't worry - Dead Rising Deluxe Remaster will include this very nostalgic setting

Features Editor

Andy Brown is the Features Editor of Gamesradar+, and joined the site in June 2024. Before arriving here, Andy earned a degree in Journalism and wrote about games and music at NME, all while trying (and failing) to hide a crippling obsession with strategy games. When he’s not bossing soldiers around in Total War, Andy can usually be found cleaning up after his chaotic husky Teemo, lost in a massive RPG, or diving into the latest soulslike – and writing about it for your amusement.