A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dead Rising is a violent adventure game. It features plenty of shotgun blasts, chainsaw dismemberment, and hand-to-hand combat as the player takes on legions of the undead. Other possible concerns for parents include profanity (the character may utter curse words including "hell," "damn," "s--t," and "bitch"), some nude imagery on paintings and T-shirts, and the ability to carry and consume wine.
What's it about?
DEAD RISING is best described as an interactive version of George A. Romero's 1978 zombie horror flick Dawn of the Dead. You play as the rugged Frank West, an ambitious freelance photojournalist who arrives in the small, fictitious town of Willamette, Colo., and discovers that the Army has mysteriously quarantined the area. The town's residents have turned into the undead. West makes his way to a shopping mall, where he must survive by working with others to ward off this relentless mob and get the story before the rescue helicopter comes back for him in 72 hours. All versions of the game are the same, but only the 2016 remastered game is playable on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC. Capcom Vancouver added high-definition (1080p HD) visuals at a smooth 60 frames-per-second, and some extra content including bonus costumes. Along with a disc, the newer game is available as a digital download for under $20.
Is it any good?
It’s violent, gory and completely ridiculous – yet mature gamers who spend time with this adventure game won’t be able to put it down. By giving you an open-ended action-adventure game, Dead Rising lets you go virtually anywhere and interact with more than 80 survivors. It also lets you use anything found in the game environment, such as a box to climb over a tall barrier, a golf club or frying pan to whack zombies, or an air duct to travel to other areas of the mall. But your greatest asset is your digital camera as you must take photos for the rest of the world to see – if you can make it out alive, of course. Taking good photos – such as an up-close snapshot of a zombie’s face (no easy task) or one that shows a drama on a survivor’s face – earns the player Prestige Points, which can be used to upgrade skills, including attack power, movement speed, and throwing distance. The camera’s battery will eventually run out so players must find replacement batteries in the mall to keep snapping photos. At any time in the game, players can look through their photo album and keep which ones they like best.
Missions are listed as “Cases,” which will lead you to the truth behind the zombie outbreak. Some missions are mandatory while others are optional. As one would expect for such a game, fighting plays a big part in Dead Rising. Players will unlock new attack moves over time to better stave off the blood-thirsty mob (who grow stronger and faster at night, by the way). This is one of those “guilty pleasure” games. The premise is campy and the action is over-the-top, but it's also good-looking, fun, and addictive for mature players -- and it's never looked and played so well as it has with the 2016 remastered version.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Do you think it's acceptable for older gamers to find entertainment in this sort of carnage? Is it a harmless way for adults to unwind after a tough day? Or can games like this desensitize us to real-life violence and gore?
Talk about the campy appeal of old horror movies and zombies. Do you think they are good source material for a video game? If you were to remake a classic monster movie or make a favorite movie into a video game, what would it look like? Who would the heroes be?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Capcom
- Release date: August 9, 2006
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for blood and gore, use of tobacco and/or use of alcohol, partial nudity, language, intense violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.