OK, so back in February I swore that I was going to make a serious go at Dead Rising, for real this time, after I cheated a bit and leveled the main character up to level 20 by exploiting a… let’s say, “oversight”… in the game’s storyline.
Put simply, the mall isn’t overrun by zombies, and therefore nobody dies, until you’ve walked through a particular doorway. If you never walk through that doorway, and instead simply leave your character in a certain spot for six hours – with a wired controller, of course, since if you do this with a wireless controller it will pause the game – you “finish” the game, get the “B” ending, get a bunch of XP and your character eventually levels up.
So I did that, and it worked out pretty well, and I got Frank up to level 20, and then I didn’t have the energy to actually get around to starting a serious play-through.
9 months later… Well, I only had 2 games for the Xbox 360 that I hadn’t beaten yet, and the other one is Eternal Sonata and that’s an RPG that might take a while to play. End result: I actually had motivation to get down to Dead Rising and even finish it.
By the way, even WITH a level 20 character, I still managed to get myself killed at the start of case 2-1, which is about 10% of the way through the game.
The secret to finishing Dead Rising actually ties back to my last post, where I was ranting about Super Mario Brothers 3. It’s all about community, that is, it’s all about knowing that you shouldn’t even try to finish the game without grinding levels, and – probably even more important – without knowing where a couple of very specific items are.
Put more straightforwardly, once you know where you can get katanas and where you can get an unlimited supply of high-quality healing items – both of which are in “Paradise Plaza”, the section of the mall you have access to from the beginning – the game becomes a lot easier. Not trivial by any means, but it gets easy enough that it’s actually completable.
What do I think now that I’ve finished it? Well, it’s actually a pretty neat game. Once you open up the mall a bit, and get your hands on some heavy firepower, it’s genuinely FUN to play. It just takes a lot of trust – trust that the game is worth the trouble – before you get to that point.