TGS 2013: Dead Rising 3 Preview - Undead Co-Op Craziness
Written Thursday, October 03, 2013 By John Robertson
Capcom Vancouver and Microsoft seem to have a very structured plan as to how to go about showing Dead Rising 3 - its demonstrations to press at the year's three major game shows each tackling different and specific elements. E3 was the reveal, a very brief look at literally how it looks, i.e. look how pretty it is on Xbox One. Gamescom was the reassurance that the crazy, over-the-top gameplay the series is known for is still present and correct. The Tokyo Game Show was all about co-op and what crazy means when multiplied by two.
It's time to meet Dick.
Dick is the guy the second player will be controlling in co-op, while the host takes the reins of single-player protagonist Nick. Dick is a truck driver that has broken down in the city and is very happy to team-up with someone if it hastens his escape.
This TGS demo picks up where the Gamescom outing left off, with an emphasis on freedom and zany shenanigans. In order to free up co-op sessions to let players 'express' themselves, Capcom Vancouver has taken away the game clock present in the previous two games. The idea is that this third instalment contains so much silly content, and provides it within such a wide open construct, that limiting players with a constant countdown would be counter-productive to the ultimate goal of letting them goof around.
For purists, the game clock will tick away if you're playing on 'Nightmare' difficulty but that comes with a whole bunch of other caveats that we'll get to later.
The removal of the game clock is, according to the game's producer Mike Jones, essential in allowing players to experiment with all of the combo weapons and vehicles that have been on show since the Gamescom demo. With two players building combo vehicles/weapons, the opportunities to use them in tandem creates situations in which more zombies than ever can be wiped out in a single attack. Our demo had Nick drop in flares from the sky (via SmartGlass), the light of which attracted all the zombies in the area. Dick then threw in the 'Massive Bomb' combo weapon at them, a ridiculously sized smorgasbord of volatility constructed by combining one of every explosive in the game. 430 zombies splattered across sidewalk and skyscraper.
Vehicles are similarly impactful in co-op, with every one of the game's bikes, trucks, cars and other monstrosities supporting two players. In the demo this was universally limited to someone hoping onto a weapon of some sort (flamethrower, machine gun) and gunning zombies down while cruising. Hopefully, there'll be some more inventive offerings than simple machine guns, though.
There's no form of tethering to all of this madness, meaning the two nut-jobs out zombie hunting can be as far from one another as they want to be. However, Jones warned that the difficulty scales up in multiplayer to take into account both the players' experience and how far through the story you are. So while it's nice to not be connected by an invisible rope, it's possible to find yourself in a situation a solo adventurer simply shouldn't be caught up in.
In a bid to reduce backtracking, players that finds themselves on the other side of the map when a mission is triggered will be automatically teleported to the side of their buddy. Either player is now able to activate missions, so there's no need to rely on the host to be in the right place if Dick stumbles across an interesting quest.
There's also no need to worry about loot sharing, as both players will receive any key items or weapons picked up during an online session. These can be taken back to your single-player games and used as often or as little as you like. Both players also share the same story progress, no matter what you've done in single-player.
What this means in reality is that a fresh face beginner can join with someone midway through the game and start completing story missions without having gone through the ones preceding them. Then, upon reaching those missions by themselves, the option is there to skip them. Alternatively, you can replay them by yourself with the ability to choose a different path if any key narrative decisions were forced upon that you didn't like. In multiplayer, it's the host that has full control over any plot interactions.
Of course, playing the game in this fashion - jumping between missions in multiplayer - will make for an extremely disjointed experience as far as the plot is concerned. However, with all of the tools at your disposal to get out into the world and wreak havoc, it's probable that many players will see the story as little more than a means to acquire new weapons and tools to facilitate their zombie extermination experimentation (there's a rap lyric in there somewhere).
The ability to pass over missions in single-player is removed for anyone playing in Nightmare mode. Presumably that's being done because it would make a mockery of the game clock idea if you started skipping missions and only taking seconds off of the clock. The advice then becomes: start up two games if you're someone that wants to test yourself with the more taxing side of Dead Rising 3, but also wants to enjoy the simple pleasure of blowing up zombies without a care in the world.
Just like the Gamescom demo, the TGS build of Dead Rising 3 is proof positive that the series isn't moving away from its roots and attempting to be the serious game the E3 demo hinted that it might be. What it showed most of all, however, is that this particularly zombie 'em up is fast looking to be the must-have title for Xbox One launch day adopters.
Dead Rising 3 will be coming to Xbox One on launch day. That's November 22nd.