With barely a week to go before the August 8th release of what is looking to be the most anticipated horror game of the year, Capcom's Dead Rising on the XBox 360, it’s time to do a little news round-up on the title.
The first piece of news is that a demo of Dead Rising is coming to the Xbox Live Marketplace "soon". Whether that means we’ll see it before the game is in stores or not, that’s great news for those people looking to give the game some play time before deciding on whether or not to pick it up.
For anyone that has already decided they’re going to get the game,and hasn’t already done so, EB Games and Gamestop stores are giving a free T-shirt away to those who pre-order the game (available for pick-up once the game is in stores and "while supplies last" so if you do pre-order, get there early on launch day). Those that prefer ordering online qualify for the same free T-shirt (a blue T-shirt with a black print bearing a shopping cart full of weapons and the slogan "chop till you drop") and can do so here.
Meanwhile, tons of new screen-shots, videos, and information on the game are available. There are a few new videos on the Xbox Marketplace in high definition showcasing some of the gameplay and cutscenes as well as more indepth previews from some of the larger online gaming news sites.
For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention, Dead Rising could well be called Dawn of the Dead: The Game and was my pick from this year's E3 as "game of the show". Massively open-ended gameplay, a shopping mall where just about anything you can imagine using as a weapon can be used as a weapon, and tens of thousands of zombies should be all you really need to know, but for those looking to know more, here it comes. We’ve known that there are vehicles and that food is your source of health.
We’ve known that Frank, the intrepid photojournalist, can take pictures to gain experience to upgrade his skills, but over the last few weeks we’ve been seeing the way that books influence the game and the various categories of photography. Books give you access to further skills than just upgrading Frank’s abilities allow. So, a book on skateboard tricks lets you pull off tricks on the skateboard, a book on wrestling gives you wrestling moves, and a book on Japanese lets you communicate with some Japanese tourists holding up in the mall, just to name a few.
Reading a book gives you these skills for a short time (presumably as long as Frank can remember them), but you can keep a book in your inventory as long as you like. Initially with a smaller inventory you won’t be able to carry too many books around without running out of space for food and weapons, but as you gain Prestige Points, or PPs, you can increase the size of your inventory.
PPs are really the game's experience points. Completing missions and killing zombies will net you PPs as you’d expect; however, another way of earning PPs is through taking pictures. Pictures are context sensitive and are rated in a number of different ways with different categories of bonus. Again, not going into everything, but a zombie tripping over and falling will net you some comedy points. A zombie lunging to attack you instead of just milling around will net you horror points. A shot of a half-naked zombie or up a zombie's skirt will net you erotica points… which is as twisted as it is funny.
Other factors affect the pictures, mainly how many of each category does your picture have. A picture of a dozen zombies chewing on someone is going to be more than a picture of one zombie chewing on someone.
Some light has also been shed onto the achievements the game hands out, and they make for an amusing list. Get eight women to follow Frank around for the "Ho Train" achievement. Kill as many zombies as the population of Monroeville (53,594) for the "Zombie Genocide" achievement. Walk 33 feet using zombies without touching the floor for the "Zombie Road" achievement. It’s a crazy list and one that’s going to take a long time to complete should that be your kind of thing.
Finally, IGN has a few nice screens and videos from its review build of the game, which you can see here. For a look at the game's intro, revisit Creepy's news story here, which also provides the link to pre-order the game via Evilshop. Keep 'em peeled for more information. Dead Rising looks like a horror fan's wet dream.