Infendo Hands-On – Dead Rising: Cream of the Flop

I’m a big fan of zombie mayhem, and with the Xbox 360 hovering just above my price range, I’ve been eagerly awaiting Dead Rising: Chop ”˜till you Drop. Screenshots of the Wii version have been heavily criticized for having bad graphics, and not being able to simulate zombie hordes of the same size as its 360 predecessor. I’m sorry to say that despite some valiant efforts, the “Trial Version” on demo at Nintendo’s Fall Media summit lived up to the negative hype.

Hit the jump to find out why.

Gosh, I just don\'t know how i\'m going to get through this massive horde of Zombies
It may only be because it’s a remake of a 360 game, but expectations for Dead Rising have been high. The most common gripe is that screenshots from the Wii version don’t seem to have enough zombies. The Xbox 360 version of the game could display hundreds of zombies on screen at one time, but the Wii version only seems to be able to display dozens. During my time with the demo, I counted only between 15-25 zombies on screen at any given time, and usually it was on the low end of this range. Possibly worse, the few zombies I did see were so spread out that walking around them was almost no challenge. If the enemy isn’t a threat, why would I bother to engage them? The rebuttal to this complaint is obvious: The Wii is not the Xbox 360, and can’t hope to compete with it in terms of high-end graphical processing power. It’s a valid counterargument, but it’s too true. The demo was an aliasing nightmare, besides, Dead Rising’s selling point is the abundance of mindless zombies, a big empty mall doesn’t make much of a thriller.

The modified Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition engine the game runs on feels solid in terms of gameplay, and actually works pretty well with the new melee weapons. The player can pick up and throw benches, cash registers, merchandise, pretty much everything you could in the old game. Certain items like the baseball bat can be charged up by waggling the Wii Remote, and the game utilizes the remote speaker for weapons sound effects. Another important thing to mention is that the text is large and easy to read, addressing a common complaint with the 360 release. The only real problem with the control setup and the RE4 engine is that you can’t jump, which means climbing flower beds and other obstacles to escape the zombie horde is out of the question.

I sought out Tim Ng, Capcom’s representative at the Press Summit, in hopes that he could address my complaints. Hopefully, I thought, there was a better build of the game out there somewhere. “This is the likely build,” he told me, ””¦it’s actually a very early build.” I asked him if this was the only demo the company had out, and he told me what was showing in Japan may be different. Although it’s been reported that vehicles are making a comeback in the Wii edition, Ng told me that vehicles and the zombie filled parking structure from the 360 version were still “to be determined.”

Dead Rising: Chop ”˜till you Drop is slated for release in Winter 09, which means Capcom still has until March to polish this title up. If they can manage to add a jump button, clean up the aliasing problem, and get closer to their previous goal of 100 zombies on screen, Dead Rising for Wii will be a great Mature title for Nintendo fans. Until then, we’ll be keeping track of Capcom’s progress. Hopefully, the final build will be much different than the “likely” build.