Dead Rising 3 hands-on: improvised zombie massacre is still fun at 30FPS

Today I spent about half an hour playing the PC version of Dead Rising 3, the release of which on PC this summer came as a real surprise given how high-profile it was on the Xbox One's launch roster last year. The big news is that the framerate is locked at 30fps like on Xbox, though Capcom said during my demo that they support any community attempt to unlock it—there just won't be support for it in this released version.

Microsoft supports the release of the game on PC, despite publishing it on Xbox One, which is actually a bit of a surprise given it's only been seven months since the console's launch. The good part is, even without the framerate that players deserve, it's easy to make it look better than the Xbox One version with the deluge of advanced options available.

I do think Dead Rising 3 is a real get for PC players, too—of all the dour 'next gen' games that kicked off the current console war's three-legged turtle race to 'TBA 2015', this is the most enjoyable. Hundreds of zombies swarm the streets, noticeably more than previous Dead Risings, and to combat that you can apply Dead Rising's traditional weapon mixing to vehicles. You can build vans that spit bombs out of a chute on top, or attached chainguns to an automobile and have a drive around a moderately-sized open world, mowing down the undead.

Almost every interior location can be entered, too, and in my playthrough I remind myself of this by throwing a bottle of wine at a zombie's head from inside an off-licence then trying on a dress before jump-kicking another in the face. Dead Rising 3 is full of silly bits of self-expression, and is structured in a way that lets you build confidence in the way weapon and vehicle combos are created. The greying filter of the art direction is very Walking Dead, but that's just a pretty touch. This is a colourful world of an unusually high amount of detail.

During my demo of an early mission, I just wandered off and started breaking windows to steal things from storefronts. Dead Rising 3 is about ignoring your objective and seeing what the designers have left you to play with. It's about finding a sword placed in a suburban back garden and then throwing it at a zombie's head, or eating a giant pretzel to restore health while covered in undead entrails. It's oddball, but not forced like I felt Dead Rising 2 was at times. Tonally, it's where Dead Rising should be.

This is the most refined of the Dead Rising games, and with mouse and keyboard that makes the usually-tricky combat a little easier, this has all the hallmarks of a great port. Just not the framerate. If you're willing to forgive the locked 30fps—and I'm definitely not saying you should, if it's a dealbreaker for you—this otherwise feels like a strong port of a game that is worthy of a much bigger audience than that currently found on Xbox One.

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Samuel Roberts
Former PC Gamer EIC Samuel has been writing about games since he was 18. He's a generalist, because life is surely about playing as many games as possible before you're put in the cold ground.