Boredom Rising

Been playing Dead Rising on the 360. Zombie game, set in a mall. Bowling balls, lawnmowers, skateboards, big foam lightsabers – all can be used as weapons. Should be right up my street.

There’s a type of film which starts off slow. It’s boring for the first 30 mins or so. But you persevere, cos you paid good money for the film, or you trust the director / actor’s pedigree, or for whatever reason. Anyway, after a certain period of time, it kicks in and you realise the film has been building up to something fucking awesome, and now you’re chuffed you got past the shit to get to the greatness at the end.

Dead Rising is like that kind of film. To start with, you are woefully underpowered. Every weapon is too slow, or inaccurate, and your health is stupidly tiny. To level up your character, you have to complete the tasks the game gives you, as well as take photos of all the shit you see. While you’re getting battered by zombies. Hunnars of them (apologies to Consolevania).

If you’re watching a film and the first half hour is a bit shit, then it’s only 30 mins. You’ve probably paid to watch the film. You have nothing better to do. You’re more inclined to watch the 30 mins of shit to see if it actually does get better. If it does, then you’re more inclined to forgive the start.

Dead Rising is a videogame. Traditionally, they take much much longer than an hour and a half to get through. It asks you to spend hours plotting a course through the mall, frantically racing from one save point to the other. You’re always on the run from them fucking zombies. If you fight them, you’ll die. If you’re lucky, you’ll find an uncooked pizza in the back of that hardware store you’ve been shepherded into by the undead hordes, so you’ll get a few more blocks of health back. But it’s never fucking enough. I’m at a point where going from one save point to the next takes at least 30 mins. Each fucking attempt, each frenzied run through the same bunch of blood-drooling twats, will take up to 30 mins. And I can’t do it. I give up.

Dead Rising could end up being the best zombie game ever made, or that will ever be made. Right now, I couldn’t give a fuck. The start of the game is shit, and I don’t ever want to see it again. And it’s a damn shame. The game has a sense of mischevious fun running through it. If you run into all the shops and try everything, you’ll see the sense of humour that runs through the entire thing. It’s very charming and endearing. It makes you really want to like it. It demands you play with it, demands you run round picking up everything and seeing how each item can be used. It delights in subverting the horror of the situation by giving you the tools to make it fucking stupid, like giving you horse head helmets to stick on all the zombie heads. The game beckons you in with the silliness, and you fall for it. But then you realise what it’s really asking of you, and you realise you’ll have to suffer the horrible progression curve again before having another place of relative safety from which to mess around for a bit. Again.

I genuinely want to like the game, to stick it out and see what happens. But in my eyes the game is broken, and I don’t want to have to play it for hours on end to get to a fun bit again. So I’m probably not going to. My loss.

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