Dead Rising PC port test: smooth, high-res zombie smashing

I remember Dead Rising as one of the last games I played on a CRT TV—or tried to play, as the early Xbox 360 game was infamous for small text that was illegible on SD TVs. It was a marker that cathode ray tubes were fully obsolete. Ten years later, Dead Rising is finally on PC and it's the sharpest it's ever been—4K even. Maybe the text should be even smaller?

I've only played Dead Rising for about an hour, but the port appears to be in great shape. The framerate can be unlocked (and it supports G-sync), and I never dropped below 100 fps with an original GTX Titan. I should expect no less from an Xbox 360 near-launch game running on a 700-series GeForce, but that hasn't stopped other ports of old games from sucking. The reviews on Steam confirm that it's running well on other configurations, too—the only major complaint I've seen is a few players talking about corrupted saves, which I haven't experienced but is something to be lightly wary of.

The graphics options aren't extensive—the only anti-aliasing options are MSAA, for instance—and Dead Rising still has the look of an early Xbox 360 game. This isn't a graphical overhaul, and I never thought Dead Rising was especially pretty anyway. But the important thing is that it runs smoothly, and with support for 4K resolutions we can finally appreciate Frank West's face in all its glory.

Dead Rising also supports ultrawide displays—I tested it on a 2560x1080 monitor and it worked great. The menus and cutscenes (which are all skippable, by the way) are stuck in 16:9, but the action supports 21:9 perfectly, with the HUD elements exactly where they should be.

There are a couple annoying menus that require pressing Enter to confirm—when saving, for instance—meaning I have to take my right hand off the mouse, but otherwise I've had zero problems playing with mouse and keyboard. Running around with WASD feels just as natural as it would in an action game built for the keyboard. Mouse sensitivity is adjustable and keys can be rebound. And if you prefer a controller, Dead Rising immediately switches the prompts from keys to Xbox buttons as soon as you pick one up and press anything—something I've seen in several games lately, which I love.

If you've never played Dead Rising, there's also the question of whether or not it's any good. This isn't a review of the game—just the port—but I'll say that it was divisive among my friends when it first released. Time ticks away as you play, meaning you can't do everything in one run, and you can only save at specific places, so lost progress is going to happen. There are nasty boss fights. There's stress to it. But to balance that stress, you also get to run around a mall in silly costumes, slugging the brains out of zombies with benches and TVs and guitars and whatever else you can find. While testing the port, I ignored the cutscenes so I could wade into the horde with a potted plant as soon as possible—can confirm it was fun.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.