Going shopping can be a nightmare, and many of us dread the upcoming Holiday hysteria. Running around malls trying to find those perfect gifts among others just as lost is thankfully something we only live through once a year. Poor old Frank West has been stuck in a mall since Dead Rising first got released for the Xbox 360 back in 2006. And in that particular mall the shoppers were zombified, and tried their damnedest to eat his brains. In that regard we are far better off, as all we might get is an elbow in the chest fighting for the best Christmas deals.
Dead Rising Mobile is basically the Xbox 360 game squeezed into a smaller package. You play as Frank West, a photojournalist stuck in a mall. The game is a free roaming 3d survival affair. It caters to the fantasies of anyone who has ever seen a zombie movie. Which items would I use as weapons? Where would I hide? How would I survive?
As Frank West you roam the mall, and you can select available missions either using the map or at safe rooms. Killing special mad zombies is the main goal of the game besides surviving. Missions range from killing a set number of zombies in an area to finding, and delivering, objects. An onscreen arrow helps you find your way around the mall. Locked doors, and blocked paths at times make it frustrating to reach the destinations. On the other hand this adds some realism to the premise of an abandoned mall filled with the undead.
A special online feature included by Capcom is the Rescue Call. If you die you can send out a rescue call using Twitter or Facebook to other players. They have a limited time to save you otherwise your downed version of Frank West will become a zombie in their mall using your name. This also means that you can save others who send rescue calls to you. I have not been able to try it out due to the fact that in this pre-release there hasn’t been anyone searching for my assistance.
The original Xbox 360 version of Dead Rising had some issues with saving the game, and thankfully the iPhone version has been tweaked for mobile use. There are many save points, and you can manually save. The game also auto saves when you perish, and you can then continue, but at a cost of lost experience and inventory items.
The controls in Dead Rising Mobile work fairly well with a virtual stick, and a couple of buttons for attack and handling of the inventory. Combat is limited to button mashing using melee weapons, and aiming roughly in the right direction using ranged weapons. Taking down zombies isn’t as satisfying as it should be. There isn’t any skill required in timing, and the collision detection is quite off. It is easy to take down zombies that are clearly out of range. On the other hand, zombies can grab you when you should be able to simply run past.
What makes the game fun is the sense of abandonment, and yet being able to cope. Finding the right stores for some cool weapons is essential, and making special weapon runs to deck out Franks inventory is fun. Some weapons are wicked such as the lawnmower, and battle-axe. Others are weird such as the toy laser swords.
The graphics in the game looks similar to those found in Resident Evil Degeneration released almost two years ago. The mall is full of blocky zombies that are quite poorly animated. Frank is a stiff protagonist with a limited range of movement. The environment is quite barren besides the zombies, you and the weapons lying about. There is some good use of lighting to help set the spooky mood. Sadly there is a lot of popup in the scenery when moving about in open areas, and outside. Furthermore the game limits the amount of zombies on the screen to about five, which makes it feel far less intense than the console edition. Killed zombies lay about on the floor until they magically disappear, and at times I can return to a previous battlefield just to see zombies fading away. This is really odd, as the game could have removed them when I was somewhere else in the game. Graphical glitches litter the game with broken walls, transparent bodies of walking zombies and the mentioned distance detection problem. This is definitely not the kind of game you show off to friends for the great graphics.
The music and sound effects are renditions taken from the original. The effects are meaty, and suitable to the game. At times the music feels repetitive, but you can play your own if you have it on when starting the game.
There are quite a few missions to complete, and depending on your take on the game you can drag it out for quite a few hours. If you rather stay in the sports store killing zombies for experience you are free to do so. There isn’t the same need to be quick in the mobile version compared to the console. This also limits the claustrophobic sense of danger I felt on the Xbox 360. Local achievements are available in the game.
Dead Rising Mobile is both a technical marvel, as it lets you roam a mall freely on your iOS device. But at the same time it suffers from a crude combat system, graphical shortcomings and glitches and a general unpolished feel. Running around killing zombies is fun though, and both fans of the original as well as newcomers will be able to have some serious fun. My final rating has to take in account both the technical issues, and the fact that the game is both enjoyable and approachable. Dead Rising Mobile is good, but with the pedigree of the original and resources of Capcom, good is slightly disappointing.
Dead Rising Mobile $
Seller: Capcom Co Ltd.