Wot I Think: Dead Rising 3 Apocalypse Edition

Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition is a game about killing zombies. Lots of lots of zombies, and then lots and lots more. Previously the series has been set primarily in a mall, but now it moves to a GTA-style open-world city. The clock’s ticking, and you – and anyone you can rescue – need to find a way to escape before Bad Things happen. There’s still time to play dress up and build your own mad weapons and vehicles, though. An Xbox One ‘exclusive’ last year, today it releases on PC. Here’s what I made of it.

I’ve long inclined towards games that create anecdotes. I love to share brief vignettes with people, and so demonstrate why that game meant something to me particularly. Dead Rising 3 does do that, but the potential anecdotes arrive in a constant rush, a dozen stories per second, and are pushed out by still more before they can leave an impression in the wet cement of my memory. Comical genocide. Mayhem without end. Harrowing last-second escapes because I found a carton of apple juice on the side, or an improbably lethal dildo on the ground. Oh look, I did remember one. Even after four Saints Row games, hitting dumb videogame NPCs with big plastic willies is still a bit funny, after all.

Anyway, my point is that Dead Rising 3 is like those coin pusher machines you find at the end of piers. Second-to-second you’re the most engrossed and engaged you’ve ever been in this tiny act – be it dropping 2 pence into a hole or slapping a zombie about with an electrified sledgehammer – but by the next second all the tension and drama of the last 2 pence/zombie-slap has vanished from your mind.

I will invariably partake of both activities for some time given the opportunity (and enough tuppence pieces), but once I’ve finished there is that moment of slightly chagrined self-reflection. ‘What did I just do?’ ‘Where was I just now?’ ‘What was it about this that seemed to matter so much?’ If all this also sounds like a metaphor for masturbation, well, yes, probably.

That’s a round-the-houses way of declaring Dead Rising 3 to be perfectly entertaining in an entirely shallow way, and by God there’s nothing at all wrong with shallow if you’re looking for shallow. Zombie headcounts have risen dramatically since the last couple of games, and the destructive capabilities of the available arsenal have followed suit. This is a wide-open zombie slaughterhouse in which it’s entirely possible to deanimate over a thousand reanimated in less time than it takes to make a lovely cup of tea. Clearly it’s best played with or in front of friends for maximum chuckles, but the sheer scale of deadhead destruction is solidly amusing even played solo.

This is despite the game’s attempts to be alternately grimdark and hyper-macho, pinging wildly between disjointed and ugly shouting-based dialogue, and unconvincing attempts at being totes emosh. On the other hand, this remains a series in which you can dress your male character howsoever you wish and not a soul in-game will judge you for it.

The arguably over-sombre palette and pantomime pathos are really only surface, however, and underneath that lurks a game that is fundamentally silly and knows it. (It also boasts a great Romero/Carpenter-style dark, sparse synth soundtrack at times).

While I miss the cartoon colours of the previous Dead Risings’ malls, and a further switching of focus away from ostentatiously weird weapons towards nebulously-spiky combinations, this is still very much the game about killing loads and loads of zombies with found everyday objects while wearing Mariachi trousers.

That said, it is much more of a scavenger hunt than ‘oh, what do we have here and what funny thing will it do when I twat a zombie with it?’. The aforementioned combo weapons can now be made in the field, so a great deal of my time was spent searching for just the right parts for a Mini Chainsaw or a confusingly effective football/bowie knife DIY mace, or a robotic bear with a machine gun and a stereo.

I got pretty caught up in that stuff, but it does come at the expense of making hay with whatever’s on hand – and indeed the essential zombie-twatting takes a back seat to combing buildings for a meat cleaver or sledgehammer. Dressing my guy up in a miniskirt or general’s outfit or giving him a handlebar moustache or whatever barely even registered, which is a great shame.

I am well aware that this may be down to having been spoilt for choice, in terms of making my game characters look weird or amazing or progressive, since Dead Rising 1’s cock-a-hoop take on Day of the Dead as much as it is Dead Rising 3 arguably being too monomaniacal about combo weapons. If you haven’t played a Dead Rising or Saints Row game before, you’re going to think the outfits and facial hair and whatnot are brilliant, and I envy you deeply for it.

The vehicles, which can also be combined into improbable machines of megadeath, made much more of an impression. It’s with these Mad Maxian hybrids that the undeath toll with mount most steeply, and where the size of DR3’s zombie crowds is most breathtaking. Ploughing through hundreds of shamblers on a fusion of motorbike and steamroller is a heck of a thing to witness. The murky art style keeps Dead Rising 3 from being impressively attractive, but there’s some incredible crowd tech powering it.

Sadly the openish world city it’s set in isn’t quite so impressive, at least in terms of scale. Initially it seems overwhelmingly huge, because it’s not easy to get from A-B when a couple of thousand deadheads are lurching into your way, but once crowd-dispersing vehicles are in play its boundaries become all too apparent. It tries to conceal this by placing assorted insurmountable barriers that force you take the long way round much of the time. Once you start the recognise the sights, and know full well that the graveyard’s right on the other side of this big fence but you’re being forced to tour half the city just to approach it from the other side, the spell breaks and weariness starts to set in.

Fortunately there are enough optional objectives, such as rescuing other survivors, battling human ‘psycho’ bosses, or collecting a healthy smattering of blueprints for new weapon types, that the trek is reliably filled with ad-hoc diversions, but the ‘oh wow, it’s GTA with an enormous zombie horde!’ shine doesn’t return.

Let’s not forget that this is a game about hooting and cackling as you carve your way through an army of undead with a selection of batshit weapons and vehicles, and on purely that front it’s impossible not to call Dead Rising 3 a success.

I do think it suffers from significant tonal misjudgements, but it does a very good job of keeping me busy, keeping me pushing pennies into the slot, and keeping me fed with micro-anecdotes that, though they might dissipate immediately, are instantly replaced by new ones.

A couple of quick codas on practical matters:

– The ‘Apocalypse Edition’ refers this PC version including all the DLC that the Xbone version saw right off the bat. Otherwise it’s the same game, albeit with more graphical options.

– By default the game is locked to 30FPS. You can unlock it by creating a text file called user.ini containing just the line “gmpcr_unlock_frame_rate = True” with no quotes, and putting that file in the same directory as the game’s executable. However, in my experience the frame rate has been wildly inconsistent once unlocked.

Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition comes out on Steam at various points today, depending on your timezone. At time of writing, it costs $45/£36.


  1. OscarWilde1854 says:

    This game is fantastic fun with friends.. and it is absolutely impossible to play all the way through with a couple friends and not have some hilarious anecdotes to recall fondly! Number one highlight in these games for me is the discovery.

    Like Alec said: it is definitely more focused this time and the discovery can be a little bit overlooked but there are always those hilarious moments with friends where someone finds a new outfit and comes out wielding a Pylon strapped to a Battery (which miraculously sends giant shockwaves through hordes of zombies)!

    Nothing will beat the moment we discovered the “Massive Bomb” and dropped it in an enormous crowd; 300 zombie combo in 1 second and then 45 minutes of laughter-tears from the fact that the explosion had blown all of our clothes off and we’d all failed to notice because we were so amazed with the explosion!

  2. Metalhead9806 says:

    Many people seem to be complaining about the game having slowdown and stuttering issues but honestly I was running everything great at max settings until i ran on a street with like a thousand zombies. So i dropped the AA and AF down a step and after that its been glorious. Also i have a CPU almost 4 years old so i knew i would need to knock the settings to High custom.

    If anyone is interested in this and you have some issues just lower the settings, the game still looks good and its really fun.

    • Baines says:

      If you don’t change the internal renderer setting (inside the advanced options), you are effectively running the game at 720p resolution regardless of what you set your resolution to. And the game apparently defaults that setting to 720p, even on “High”.

      TotalBiscuit did a port review, and found that setting to be the main factor in your FPS regardless of other settings. He also found the frame rate varied wildly, able to nearly cut it in half by turning and moving down the street, and that a single Titan couldn’t get the game to 60fps with the internal renderer at 1080p (with the game dipping to 30fps).

    • socrate says:

      The problem is optimization you see some people that don’t even meet the requirement and have 0 problem while the people that do meet it encounter major slowdown and sadly the option don’t seem to do much other then going 720p and getting maybe 12 fps more but you will still have major slowdown which is just horrible optimisation there is MUCH better looking game that run 10000x better then this…thats why people are pissed off really,also they tend to delete post about it which just make it seem like they are hiding it to make more sale and not deal with it.

  3. mr.black says:

    Inconsistent is still better than 30-FPS-locked. Good grief, what is this, year 2000?!

  4. WoundedBum says:

    Bit of advice – the weapons found in the lockers in the safehouses are DLC weapons and hugely overpowered, at least for the start of the game. I really recommend not using them, at least right away.

  5. Tei says:

    This game seems a 1:1 reflection of my experience tryiing to use twitter:
    link to twitter.com

    Seriusly. How Twitter is supposed to work? A lot of people shouting to each another. Its anyone paying attention any of this?

  6. MuscleHorse says:

    Slight derail but has anyone had any issues running DR2 with an Xbox One controller? I really want to play through that first but the bastard game won’t recognise it and they’re really not the sort of games that feel right with a keyboard/mouse.

    • rhubarb-crisp says:

      Dead rising 2 doesn’t work with any controller I have in my house on either mine or my wife’s computers and getting the game to even run took effort.
      I tried installing third party drivers but that didn’t work for either of us.
      I don’t think I’ll buy dr3 until I get a refund for both of our not working copies of dr2. Maybe I can finally use this as an excuse to put steam to rest and not buy anything else from them.

    • Gargenville says:

      DR2 pretty famously didn’t even work right with 360 controllers for a lot of people. There was a user-made patch floating around at some point but it seems to have been drowned out by people’s horrible joy2key/x360CE workarounds.

  7. fish99 says:

    I hear about a loading screen crash issue, but I don’t have the game or know how widespread it is. My brother currently can’t get it working though.

    I read something about missing files on the steam forums.

    • fish99 says:

      Confirmed by Capcom: people who purchased the game through a non-valve reseller (my brother used simply cd-keys) have a different version with 1.4 GB of files missing and there’s a patch rolling out now to fix this.

  8. Tei says:

    TB have a long video about this game.
    It seems is not very optimized for PC, and the framerate is very jumpy. It seemed playable in his monster machine.

    The one thing I did not liked it was that after dyiing, he had to load a savepoint. Has if we where barbarians

    Zombie games seems like a libertarians wet dream. Go around rampaging. Paying no taxes. Destroying everything. With guns. Killing everyone you see you don’t like his face.

  9. Neurotic says:

    Speaking as one who has never played a Dead Rising, but is well-versed in the way of the Saint’s Row and GTA series, Dead Island and the L4Ds, is the first one still worth a go?

    • Mungrul says:

      The first Dead Rising is unfortunately only available on Xbox 360.
      Dead Rising 2 however is available on PC.

      • Gargenville says:

        The first one is the best game in the series by far because it’s an actual Capcom in-house game with a ton of interesting mechanics and great attention to detail. The second one got farmed out to the US but still does a sort of alright job of emulating the original. Dead Rising 3 is just like ‘well fuck if Dead Island can turn a profit why even try anymore’ and it’s kind of devolved into just being sandboxy zombie game #489b. Like it’s fun but it’s not exciting or unique anymore in the slightest.

        edit: oh it actually got farmed out to Canada

  10. Ex Lion Tamer says:

    “(It also boasts a great Romero/Carpenter-style dark, sparse synth soundtrack at times).”

    Great. Thanks, Alec – now I have to play this stupid game.

  11. Bradamantium says:

    Barring uncapping the FPS, it runs well? TotalBiscuit did a video that seemed to lead to it being decried as a shameful port that wouldn’t work even on his apparent supercomputer. I wanted to pick this up, but I’m a bit leery after hearing all of that.

    • Baines says:

      To be fair, TB also called a frame rate that dipped to 30fps “unplayable”.

      Also, it does seem that people are finding the game “playable” with weaker machines. It could be that something besides videocard strength is affecting performance. Wasn’t that an issue with the most recent “X” game, that it was poorly optimized for high end machines?

      • rpsKman says:

        I don’t consider 30 fps in 720p rendering playable at all, and my PC is far from being worth 5K. If I wanted that performance, I’d buy a console.

        • Da5e says:

          ‘I don’t consider 30 fps in 720p rendering playable at all’

          That’s nice, dear.

          • Bull0 says:

            And if Napoleon didn’t drink it, it isn’t brandy, you can shove your Courvoisier peasant

        • RARARA says:

          Yer gonna eat your 720p and yer gonna like it!

        • GameCat says:

          You must have hard time watching movies. Only 24 fps…

          • Tei says:

            48 Hz. movies shot the same frame two times.

          • aepervius says:

            Movie and 3d games are not comparable. You are shooting much more than 1 frame, you also shoot part of the movement, and there is a variety of compensation done in post processing. In addition you do not need to “react” in movies, and reacting can with low frame rate prove difficult. Which is why 24 fps on movie is actually more than the 30 fps of 3d games.

          • TechnicalBen says:

            I do if the movie is not shot on film or does not have added motion blur. Thats at 24fps. However, most TVs were CRT and again had interlacing.

            A game has no motion blur, and most filters are arbitrary and not natural looking.

            24fps is playable. 60fps removes most tearing in 60hz panels.

            It’s all about what we are use to.

          • Bull0 says:

            Loads of games have motion blur.

      • Shadowcat says:

        Yeah, I’m always utterly mystified by the “unplayable 30fps” comments. Who are these people? In the early years of 3D gaming, 30fps was like a freaking holy grail of smoothness. Now, I’m not claiming that more isn’t better; but “unplayable” is an utterly laughable criticism to direct at a game which apparently maintains a constant 30fps.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          Is he talking about sudden DIPS to 30 from something higher, which could make aiming tough and laggy, or is he talking about a constant 30fps? If its the latter then I would tend to agree with you. That said its certainly my experience that games feel more “positive” and perhaps even easier the more you get towards 60FPS. Firing up an old first person shooter like Half Life 1, where it almost seems to be running too quickly, my ability to aim and shoot seems to be a lot better (I FEEEEL LIKE A GOD *manic face*). Competitive gamers are often going on about how they need 120Hz too.

          Not unplayable, but perhaps if you are used / mildly addicted to / have taken for granted that added positivity, then a drop to 30fps could be more than a little grumble inducing.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Even when the game doesn’t bind input or game-speed to the fps, meaning that frame-dips don’t effect the controls in any way, sudden dips from 60 down to 30 fps are still very janky (they give me a headache, to add an anecdote, much like sub-70 fov) and definitely at least slightly distracting. A constant 30 fps is absolutely tolerable, however, and as an fps-lover, while 60 fps feels like “Wow, this is gorgeous and smooth as butter” 30 doesn’t directly detract from the experience in any way.

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          Low or wildly variable framerate (even input lag or low FoV on occasion) makes a game unplayable for me. I easily get motion sickness and puking like a fountain is not considered “playable” imo. :(

        • rcguitarist says:

          I am too. I have seen people post that 45fps was just absolutely horrible before. People just like to drum up attention to themselves with that kind of rubbish.

          I also like the people “trying” to explain movie production in here. Alot of people talking about something they know nothing about. I produce and shoot documentaries and tourism videos professionally and none of what they are saying is even close.

  12. DarkLiberator says:

    I’m enjoying the shit out of it, though the random crashing to desktop every 20 minutes is killing the mood. I hope they fix it.

    • Mechorpheus says:

      Lucky for you that you can actually play it at all. On my PC it crashes immediately on the ‘Loading’ screen just after the Capcom logos. Judging from the steam forums I’m not even close to be alone on this front….

  13. Hideous says:

    Great fun game. Running it at medium settings (high would stutter whenever I turned around) at a full 1080p, smooth sailing at the default 30 fps limit. I’ll take stable 30 FPS over variable 30-60 any day.

  14. Assaf says:

    If we play it in a PC, can me and my friend play it with 2 controllers? (as in, on the same PC.)

  15. RegisteredUser says:

    One must not underestimate the change of “craft instantly”. It has turned what was a fairly large tedium of workbench wishing-hunting into an actual semi-modern inventory+ingredients = crafting system.
    The maps also sport fairly unsubtle combinations of items that are made for comboing, such as putting spiked nails and a baseball bat near to each other, or MMA gloves and a car exhaust next to the blueprint for the combination of those two. So it isn’t a “got one thing, now I just have to spend half an hour for another” for a good chunk of the basic combos.

    Durability of weapons, another major quibble if you enjoy playing rather than managing more, is also a good deal better AND now is upgradeable as a skill in several steps.
    Time limits also seem better this time.

    Its a major shame that the port itself is a bit wibblywobbly, but as a muck around game, it has moved up a notch or two. It is really quite fun to mash through blobs of zombies and throwing in piledrivers in matrix slow-mo, although like sweet candy, too much too long and it will get a bit old.

    I’d still say its a good candidate for gaming fun and recommendation, IF they prove they are willing to actually make a couple of visible patches for it this time around.

  16. Kefren says:

    What DRM does this and Dead Rising 2 use on PC? Steam seems to suggest DR3 just uses Steam, but DR2 (both versions) use GFWL as well, so is it still possible to play DR2? And is it correct that DR3 only requires Steam? I sometimes don’t notice the requirements for 3rd party DRM in Steam because I have seen them in more than one place, and it’s easy to miss them. I prefer DRM-free (GOG) and can put up with Steam, but object to Steam + other DRM, so avoid games with those restrictions.

    • Gargenville says:

      Yeah the normal version of DR3 on PC just uses Steamworks. Though there’s some phrasing in the developer FAQ that suggests the retail/3rd party CD Key version has something else going on sooo don’t buy from Nuuvem if you’re worried about that sort of thing.

  17. blastaz says:

    Tuppence pieces Mr Meer really?

    It’s tuppeny bits, as any fool knows….

    Also I read Mad Maxian as Mad Mexican vehicles, which made sense given the aforementioned mariachi trousers.

  18. Bobtree says:

    I greatly enjoyed DR2, but DR3’s look of full teal+orange palette and “depression filter” is just unbearably awful. I doubt even a new monitor and post-processing can overcome this. No sale.

    • Baines says:

      When Capcom was first advertising Dead Rising 3, they seemed to have been pushing for the Call of Duty crowd instead of the “run around in a Servbot outfit while hitting zombies with a chainsaw that you duct-taped to an oar” crowd that bought the previous games. The overall look may come from that original push.

  19. fish99 says:

    Minimum GPU is a 570? That’s pretty steep. My brother is running this on a 560 1GB and says it ‘runs like crap with dips to 5 fps’ with the internal render setting at 720p. I dunno if it’s just a bad port or a problem due to limited vram. Interesting that the new consoles having 8GB combined ram is creating issues for the PC with it’s seperate pools of ram and vram, but really games should be able to cope with that by dropping settings.

    • Baines says:

      It is probably a combination of “bad port” and “porting a game that was made for somewhat fundamentally different hardware”.

      Yes, some PC gamers tried to push the current console gen as being the most PC-like, but in some ways it is as far or maybe even further than before from PCs. With clock speeds having become fairly locked in, and with the increase of laptop gaming actually decreasing clock speeds, PCs can’t just throw more power at the console porting problem the way that they did in the past. And PC hardware is so variable, while console hardware is fixed, so working on fancy solutions to improve performance on high end PCs is money and time spent not improving the performance for middle of the road and lower end PCs.

  20. Kitsunin says:

    Can’t figure out how to get rid of big fat bars…supposedly editing the viewport ini to Aspect=”1.6″ makes the 16:10 aspect ratio work fine in game (but kind of breaks menus), but the bars are still there, and I still can’t get the right resolution (though I can break the menus). 30fps I can deal with, though it’s disappointing, but wtf is up with this resolution crap.

    If anyone does know the solution, my resolution is 1680×1050.

    Edit: Okay so Aspect=”1.34″ gets rid of the bars, but all this really does is zoom in, so it’s unplayable and ugly (my health is pushed off-screen, everything is too big on-screen and I have no peripheral vision area). So far as I can find, there isn’t any proper way to make the resolution anything but 16:9. Also, the game doesn’t support 1366×768 (my other monitor’s resolution, I know, completely weird, because all our monitors were obtained at super cheap sales) so there’s no point swapping out…as if I would just for one single game. What a load of ass.

  21. HumpX says:

    I was looking forward to this weekend where I was going to enjoy the game, unfortunately, it was not to be. In typical Capcom fashion, they are utterly incapable of porting a title to PC in which the controls are at least basically serviceable. I got as far as the Biker boss fight and finally uninstalled the thing. I had tried every adjustment on both my mouse and in-game and simply couldnt find a setting that wasn’t a nightmare to use. Simple tasks like picking up a weapon in the heat of a battle required me to repeatedly mash the key like a quick-time event just to get the character to pick up what I wanted.

    After the control debacle with RE4 years back you think Capcom would give a little more attention to making a port compatible with a mouse/keyboard. evidently, they are clueless.

  22. Gap Gen says:

    One day zombies are going to be a real thing and we’re going to look like a bunch of necrotists for making this hateful stuff.

  23. Delaeh says:

    gosh i can’t even get past steam loading your game..poof blackscreen..i need a ctrl + atl+delete to see taskmanager ( Dr3 has stopped working ) am slowly getting frustrated to try and get this game atleast in a load/ menu to work on resolutions graphics fps etc,, even that i am not able,,edit a txt file was one of the tips i found result same blackscreen so much money for a game i actual liked from seeing on youtube and now just sitting in Steam, i hope this all can be solved simple ( ps sorry for the english i am dutch )

  24. jackbk45 says:

    A lot of errors in this game, i finally found a patch online and worked