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#1 LittleJoe

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 12:05 AM

Ok final draft up now sorry! The paragraphing is a bit wierd as I had to make it look like a proper game review in a magazine format, so its copied and pasted from Photoshop. I've tried to fix it as much as i know how, but its still spazzy in a few places. Sorry.


Dead Rising, Capcom’s long awaited first venture into the next gen market on the xbox 360, is finally with us, having received much publicity and hype since its first showing at the now defunct E3 exhibition back in 2005.

The 360 also received much praise and anticipation when it was first revealed, since then enthusiasm has waned for the Microsoft’s vision of the next gen. A summer drought of quality titles only serves to amplify voices questioning the 360’s robustness, especially with the release of the Wii and the PS3 now not far off. Microsoft will be hoping that their patience with developers will reap a 2nd wave of quality titles to end the summer drought and drown out voices of dissent.


No pressure on Capcom to deliver then.


But unsurprisingly for a company of the stature and reputation of Capcom, they have delivered. Dead rising is an interesting fusion of other Capcom classics such as Devil May Cry and Resident Evil 4. The only striking differences are the surprisingly normal ‘hero’ of the game Frank West, an overly zealous photojournalist and swapping the eerie gothic castles and run down mansions for the relatively friendly, inviting setting of a shopping mall. One of the first not so subtle nods towards George A Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.

Unlike Dawn of the Dead however, the goal isn’t simply to survive the zombie outbreak. Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to investigate, strange goings on around the sleepy rural town of Willamette. It soon becomes clear that the town is ground zero of the beginnings of a zombie uprising, as you swoop over the town in a commandeered helicopter, flown by an equally overzealous pilot.

The next 10-15 hours that you should spend completing this title are well spent, slaying zombies in a seemingly unlimited number of ways, saving the many stranded survivors of the Willamette incident and killing the frenzied psychopaths that are peppered around the mall. Or alternatively you could progress through the main story thread. If you like that kind of thing.

Although, the sandbox design does mirror GTA at times, Capcom ventures into this increasingly popular genre in its own trademark style. This is Dead Rising, not Grand theft auto: Willamette, you have 72 game hours (6 real world hours) in the mall until your ride out of Willamette arrives, and takes you and any rescued survivors to safety.

This large amount of freedom the game affords you, mixed with the limited time before the game ‘ends’, is pulled off well keeping you focused and working towards whatever goal you’ve set yourself to achieve. It also gives what is essentially a short game, huge amounts of replayability, extending its life massively.

As the game retains any level you’ve reached on previous attempts, restarting the game due to time constraints is not a problem. Infact at least one restart will be most probably be required if you intend to beat the main story arc on your first go, even if you are cold hearted enough to ignore all those helpless survivors.

The system of being able to restart without necessarily losing progress, along with the GTA style mission tree’s also ensures the game remains fresh and enjoyable even after many hours and restarts.

The controls as you would expect in a Capcom title are slick and smooth, only slightly let down by the clumsy inventory system, which often causes you to gulp down that last precious carton of orange juice when you intended to whip out that mini chainsaw, to carve a path through the undead.


The other nightmare for developers creating a game in 3rd person, the camera, is tamed well and is generally co-operative and smooth, occurrences in which your death can blamed entirely upon a unhelpful camera are rare. Which is a relief considering the number of enemies you encounter on your journeys around the mall.

On the same note, fears arisen over the games difficultly due to the extreme number of zombies and limited amount of weapons to slay them with are unfounded. Zombies are generally passive and unaggressive during daylight hours, however when the sun sets your enemies become more ferocious and agile (although not to the level of the zombies in Zack Snyder’s remake) and quick wits are often required to get out of danger. Especially early in the game when you are weaker. Images released showing a seemingly impregnable wall of zombies to navigate through are thankfully not the case in the game. Whilst the number of zombies milling around can seem slightly overwhelming if you are under armed, or with survivors, it is never impossible or difficult to the point of frustration, and in many cases it is more than possible for Frank to simply sprint, climb or shove his way through the undead hordes, and if one of the undead do grab you in their cold grip it is relatively easy to escape with only a scratch.

However whilst on the point of navigating through the undead, the survivor AI can often be just stupid, willingly charging into groups of zombies,(although perhaps this is a another homage to the general intelligence of humans in survival horror movies?) or getting stuck in ridiculous places. combined with the games unforgiving save system, can often leave you unwilling to backtrack to save an idiot who was clearly too stupid to deserve to live. The ability to arm them with weapons and restore their health with foodstuffs makes this less of a sore point, but it remains a major flaw.

The idea of basing the game in one enclosed area was a risky one, but the vibrancy and variety of the locales inside and around the Mall make it seem as ‘limited’ or enclosed an area to explore as other ‘free roaming’ titles, such as the Grand
Theft Auto and Elder Scrolls series. You could argue that it creates a better illusion of freedom with its map than GTA or Oblivion does, your travelling isn’t ever halted by an invisible wall or a bridge that is conviently out of use. Rather brick walls
and blockaded entrances, decorated with several dozen stumbling zombies, reminds you that you are probably safer in the mall. Only a few times as I was wondering around on the roof of the Mall did I look longingly to the ‘outside’ world and wonder if they could have expanded the game world. The limited time you spend in the mall soon stops any daydreaming though, and reminds you to get back to the story at hand.

However short, but illusion shattering load times, on travelling to different 'areas’ of the mall are quite annoying. You often wonder how hard it would have been for Capcom to implement a GTA (yes im comparing it to that game again) or Halo style long load time at the beginning of the game, followed by short brief load times, which would have helped keep the player immersed in the story, a feature available and used in the last gen, and one that should be expected to be used this gen, especially by a developer as experienced as Capcom.

The story is surprisingly deep, extremely deep for a video game, especially one based on a B movie zombie horror. The game would be thoroughly entertaining with little or no plot, but Capcom, ever generous to the customer, have placed an interesting story, which has stolen its central themes directly from Dawn of the Dead, like the movie criticising American
consumerism, materialism and the powers that be.

It is executed well in its own right though to not feel like too lazy a rip off or an afterthought as is in the case in most games, the story also posses a interesting twist, and is well paced, draws in your interest and keeps it there, encouraging you to continue playing.

By the conclusion of the game you genuinely feel as if you have been taken on a journey, a feeling you often don’t get with videogames. Whose worlds whilst carefully crafted often feel depressingly constant despite all your achievements.

In conclusion, Dead Rising is a brilliant title, the gameplay is fun, killing zombies by ripping their fetid guts from their rotting stomachs as well as literally mowing them down with a lawnmower is laugh out loud funny. The impressive story line threads you along through the game, with it rarely feeling like a chore. The game world and its cast, Imparticular the wide cross section of society the survivors (and psychopaths) represent. Survivors all of whom react differently to the situation the uprising has placed them in, making you feel a little bit of empathy for them, even when they go and kill themselves stupidly. All this is displayed ‘impressively’ although by no means breathtaking graphics, (You’ll have to wait for Gears to blow you away graphically im afraid) serves to make you feel fully immersed in the game, it only rarely suffers from blips that remind you ‘its only a game’

A game however full of little quirks and hidden treasures demanding to be found. Such as the twang the electric guitars make from the music store as you crash them over the head of a unsuspecting zombie amongst many other things. This game oozes quality, whilst it adds nothing new to the action/adventure genre Capcom dominates, rather than juxtapose it in a new interesting setting. The ‘lack’ of originality isn’t a bad thing, when Capcom does it as well as it does with Dead Rising.

This and the occasionally flaky controls and NPC AI, combined with the unforgiving save system, limit it somewhat, but Dead Rising is still a great game, that every 360 owner owe’s it to themselves to play if only until Gears of War and company turn up.

8/10
Joseph Richards
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#2 Preacher

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 05:10 AM

I found it very difficult to read. The punctuation's pretty bad and it makes it very, very difficult to follow properly.
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#3 Sir DangerM

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 12:19 PM

I found it very difficult to read. The punctuation's pretty bad and it makes it very, very difficult to follow properly.


What he said, your commas and full stops. Are all in the wrong places.
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#4 LittleJoe

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 02:44 PM

What he said, your commas and full stops. Are all in the wrong places.


Funny. :lol:


Just realised this is my first draft so explains the shitness, editing first post...
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#5 Sir DangerM

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 07:08 PM

The punctuation is still broken.
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#6 Mmm Tartlet

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 04:44 AM

If that's your AS English coursework, you're fucked.
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#7 LittleJoe

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 01:55 PM

Cheers. :ph34r:
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#8 MalevolentPanda

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 02:18 PM

Yeah, but really, it reads terribly. That's almost entirely down to the sentencing and poor editing. You need to go through it all again and work out where to put full stops and where to put commas.

Also, is this the sort of thing you have to do in English Language A-Level then? I mean, I'm guessing it's not English Lit, but I thought English Language was essentially studying linguistics?
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#9 LittleJoe

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 04:35 PM

This is the coursework section we read and analyse poetry and literature for the exam work.

I must just be dumb/blind to my own faults but I don't find it hard to read, probably because I know how it should read in my head.
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#10 oli

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 09:14 AM

I wouldn't say 'next gen' in an English assignment? Surely generation would go down better?
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#11 LittleJoe

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 05:12 PM

The brief was to create an article that would be found in a publication of our choice, this was for a specialist games magazine so all the 'specialist' language is explained and justified in my commentary.
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#12 MalevolentPanda

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 06:55 PM

And they say they haven't dumbed down A-Levels! :wub:
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#13 Talvalin

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 02:20 PM

This is the coursework section we read and analyse poetry and literature for the exam work.

I must just be dumb/blind to my own faults but I don't find it hard to read, probably because I know how it should read in my head.


How it reads in your head and how it reads on paper are completely different things. If you really can't see what is wrong with this, then you need to get someone else to read through it for you. Hopefully when they point out the first few examples you'll have a better idea of what to do with the rest of the article.
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#14 sir stiff_one

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 05:19 PM

replayability
Infact
unaggressive
im
shove his way through the undead hordes, and if one of the undead do grab you in their cold grip it is relatively easy to escape with only a scratch.

However whilst on the point of navigating through the undead
conviently
last gen
next gen
this gen
The story is surprisingly deep, extremely deep for a video game
gameplay
Imparticular
making you feel a little bit of empathy for them, even when they go and kill themselves stupidly
im
its
owe's


The whole thing is really terrible. Sorry kid, it's really really bad.
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#15 verbs

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Posted 02 June 2007 - 03:20 PM

Ouch.

As an aside, I based my A2 Media Studies coursework around the Project Zero games, and I got an A! Woo-to-tha-hoo!
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#16 3.142

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 12:13 PM

Whenever I read the name Frank West, it sounds in my head Wank Fest.
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#17 gossi the dog

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Posted 15 June 2007 - 11:03 PM

It's pretty awful.
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#18 Rev

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 06:35 PM

Aside from the actual words, I think you need to seriously look at the word count too. There simply isn't a specialist gaming magazine that publishes 1600 word reviews, it just isn't realistic. Hack half of it out and you might be getting there, although still a little on the long side. Hell, even the first 2 page Eurogamer review I came across only had 1300 words, including captions.

If I was marking your work and was familiar with game reviews I'd mark it down significantly before even starting to read it.

Look at this sample sentence:

The story is surprisingly deep, extremely deep for a video game, especially one based on a B movie zombie horror.


Most of that is just wasted words. Try:

For a zombie horror videogame, the story is surprisingly deep.


Exactly half the length, exactly the same information. If you do that in every single sentence not only will you get a more realistic word count, you'll also remove a significant amount of the waffle and almost certainly a lot of the problems too.

To carry on with that little bit of the review, you need to use the words to actually tell people something. You tell the reader that the story is a lot like Dawn of the Dead and its themes, and is well executed but nothing else at all. What about the charecterisation? The script? How do the bosses and suchlike fit into the story? Did you find the story believable?

You can't write 160 words about the story and mention none of those things.
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#19 LittleJoe

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 07:49 PM

Thanks for the constructive criticism. I probably wrote with meeting the word count in mind more than writing a short succinct text.
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#20 bijtis

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 02:45 AM

Half of the UK population is horrifically inarticulate. Perhaps more that half. It's ludicrous. It is imperative that schools start teaching ENGLISH LANGUAGE instead of ENGLISH FUCKING LITERATURE. It's completely fucking illogical. This pisses me off so much.
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#21 LittleJoe

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 11:19 AM

But most of the people doing a English AS course can read and write so it wouldn't make sense to do English language.
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#22 Talvalin

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 12:43 PM

But most of the people doing a English AS course can read and write so it wouldn't make sense to do English language.


Based on the grammatical errors and typos in your review above, you're not exactly a shining example of someone who can read and write.

Anyway, that's probably not the point bijtis was trying to make. The emphasis on English language should come before AS level (eg: from 11 to 16), perhaps even earlier.

How much do you read? Books, magazines, newspapers, whatever.
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#23 MalevolentPanda

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 01:05 PM

Half of the UK population is horrifically inarticulate. Perhaps more that half. It's ludicrous. It is imperative that schools start teaching ENGLISH LANGUAGE instead of ENGLISH FUCKING LITERATURE. It's completely fucking illogical. This pisses me off so much.

They do teach English Language. The two aren't split in terms of teaching until post 16, and obviously they usually go hand in hand. Lack of literacy is a real problem, but it wouldn't be solved by getting rid of English Lit at A-Level.

What concerns me is the opposite. What the fuck is this sort of thing doing on an English Lit course? It's English Language at best and should probably be left for Media Studies types. A complete joke compared to what my Lit A-Level consisted of, not that long ago.
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#24 LittleJoe

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 01:12 PM

Ouch....The knives are well and truly out...

I read plenty thanks.
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#25 Talvalin

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 03:51 PM

I read plenty thanks.


That's good to hear.

Start paying attention to the placement of full stops and commas in what you read, and hopefully you'll learn something for your own writing. As an example, find another review of Dead Rising and compare it to yours. Not the words, but the grammar and structure of each sentence.

I'm not trying to have a go, but spelling and grammatical errors were pointed out to you by five of us and your responses ranged from "This is a first draft :) " to "It reads fine in my head".

It's your coursework in the end, but if you're going to post something on the forum for criticism and then ignore most of the points made, you're wasting your time and the time of anyone who bothers to read it.
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#26 LittleJoe

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 04:30 PM

That's good to hear.


I'm not trying to have a go, but spelling and grammatical errors were pointed out to you by five of us and your responses ranged from "This is a first draft :) " to "It reads fine in my head".

It's your coursework in the end, but if you're going to post something on the forum for criticism and then ignore most of the points made, you're wasting your time and the time of anyone who bothers to read it.


I don't know where you got the impression I was ignoring criticism. I did upload a first draft initially and in the same sentence you took "It reads fine in my head" I admitted I was blind to my own faults most of the time.

There's a difference to constructive criticism and people piling in telling me how awful it is.
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#27 Rev

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 09:13 PM

As an example, find another review of Dead Rising and compare it to yours. Not the words, but the grammar and structure of each sentence.


While I wouldn't point myself as a highpoint of anything, let alone grammar, I still feel I should probably link to the Dead Rising review I did for GameStyle. It's here:

http://www.gamestyle...ews.php?id=1067

(Or alternatively you can go to Metacritic and keep scrolling until you reach the bottom of the reviews. I scored it lower than every other Metacritic-affiliated publication...)

I don't know where you got the impression I was ignoring criticism. I did upload a first draft initially and in the same sentence you took "It reads fine in my head" I admitted I was blind to my own faults most of the time.


I'm not sure I want to know the answer, but...You've already handed it in, haven't you?
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#28 LittleJoe

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 09:35 PM

Yes <_<

I shall look anyway, thanks.
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#29 Rev

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 09:44 PM

Yes <_<


Ah well, good luck with it. Sure the people marking it won't know what a zombie is, let alone a videogame.
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#30 LittleJoe

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 09:51 PM

The teacher didn't have that much of a problem with it when he looked through it countless times, So we'll see. I'll post the results in here when I get them. If its shit it won't be much of a suprise in the context of the thread, if it's good you can all go on about how much tougher education was in the olden days.
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