Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dead Rising

Game: Dead Rising
Platform: Xbox 360
Publisher: Capcom
American Release: August 8th, 2006
Reviewer: Neil

People keep dying, and I'd even be okay with that if I could make it back upstairs. Is everything I need to complete my goals even here? should I just ride out the night trying to avoid conflict? And, why, oh god, why is everyone talking like they haven't heard a word the other person has said.

There's an otherworldly feel to Dead Rising. Like the visual static isn't just a filter, but is actually hanging in the air like plasma from intergalactic travel. Built from the ground up in English by Japanese people, the game is abjectly bizarre. NPC affectations are as unpredictable as the murderous inclinations of boss characters.Finding paths around a mall feels like running through trenches on the Western Front.

Romero knew the real monsters weren't the guys gnawing on your neck. They were the infrastructure, madness and insecurity that led us into like sheep into slow-moving slaughter. Now the disconnect is outlined, made part of the grander cartoon, by people who twitch, squint, sob and moan in the goo -- a mocking approximation of human activity.

There's this book by John Saul I took from a lost-and-found at a camp ground a few years ago. Utterly ridiculous characters would flail and huff through the story like they were in a much-better Stephen King novel, but couldn't claw their way out of the bad acid trip they were trapped in.

Here, Kenji Inafune has strapped a billion grams of Coricidin Cold and Cough to the back of Dynasty Warriors: Code Veronica. The result is the kind of beautiful that slithers through the worst H.P. Lovecraft tale. "Here's your monster, are you happy now?" it prods.

Trapped between a save point and duty to the civilians, I can honestly say that I am not.

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