So, you’ve mastered Gears of War on “Insane” mode, you’ve invested 75-plus hours questing your  butt off in the The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and now you’re staring at your high-priced hardware wondering what to play next.  The months following the holidays are notoriously slow, as game publishers and developers take a quick breath after clobbering you with all their big titles over the holiday season. 

But before you dig up that dusty copy of Tetris or, God forbid, head outdoors for some fresh air, check out our review of one of last year’s best titles: Dead Rising.  If you missed this awesome, Romero-esque zombies-invade-the-mall romp, then now is the perfect time to check it out.

DEAD RISING, Capcom (Xbox 360)
5 stars (out of 5)


Renowned video game developer Capcom practically invented the zombie game with its long-running, enormously popular Resident Evil series.  From the mansion-dwelling flesh eaters of the original PlayStation classic to the pitchfork-wielding hillbillies of the series’ high point, Resident Evil 4, they’ve provided us with years of limb-choppin’, intestine-spillin’ fun. 

So where does the granddaddy of gaming gore go from here?  To the mall, that’s where.  Specifically, Willamette Parkview Mall, the fictional Colorado shopping Mecca that plays host to hundreds of undead shoppers in Capcom’s latest living dead blood bath, Dead Rising.

In Rising, you play freelance photographer Frank West, the right guy in the wrong place, who uses anything and everything at his disposal to deal death to the mall’s macabre minions.  From guns to gumballs, swords to showerheads, if Frank can grab it, he can use it to kill, maim, or humiliate his shuffling, brain-dead foes.  The diverse selection of crazy weaponry makes Dead Rising a bloody blast.  Sure, you can pick up the old standbys—guns, knives, chainsaws, bats—but why not get a bit more creative?  Hit the fitness center and pick up a dumbbell, or head over to the toy store and equip a Nerf-like projectile launcher. 

Prefer the food court?  No problem: the western-themed eating plaza’s got you covered with sharp cutlery, stacks of heavy plates, and skull-crushing bar stools.  But it’s not just the sweet selection of ass-whoopin’ weapons that makes Rising such a hoot; it’s the spot-on audio and video cues that accompany each item’s use.  Blindside a brain-eating baddie with a guitar, and you’ll watch Frank swing the six-string wildly, while a satisfying “twang” rings with each guitar-on-flesh contact.  Want to dispose of 12 bloodthirsty zombies for the price of one?  Just grab a shopping cart, and Frank will mow down the walking dead as though they were brainless bowling pins.

You’re sure to sport an ear-to-ear grin as you experience all that Dead Rising has to offer.  In addition to the satisfying slaying, you’ll love the attention to detail given to the mall’s stores.  Although no real-world properties are represented, Rising’s realistic retail rip-offs will have you craving a latte and wanting to take in a movie at the cineplex. 

The game also spins a twisty yarn of government conspiracies and scientific experiments gone wrong that’ll keep you intrigued until you’ve wasted your last flesh-eating mall walker.  If you’re looking for some straightforward, balls-to-the-wall fun, then you won’t do better than this monster-mashing masterpiece. 

Too bad going to the mall isn’t actually this much fun.