Dead Rising

Dead Rising came out in 2006, after much drooling and anticipation from zombie fanboys everywhere. The set-up seemed perfect- nearly limitless zombies, a shopping mall full of things to beat them with and places to be swarmed by them, and...well, those were the big selling points.
Having played, and beat it, when it came out, I can safely say that in those two areas it delivers. Plunging into a throng of zombies and beating them down until they finally grab you never gets old, and neither does the myriad other ways to dispose of them.
Unfortunetly, this game is also maddeningly frustrating. To follow the convoluted, heavily Japanese plot, you're constantly running from point A to point B, with nary a second to catch your breath. Missing even one moment means you run risk of losing the entire plot thread- which, given the fact that you have to go to very specific places to save your game, and the game takes several hours, leads to a lot of reloading and backtracking.
That said, the plot is interesting, and what could have very well been a game about nothing ends up containing enough murky morality and insane encounters that you're always driven on, through the occasional frustration, to see what happens next. 
Because of the open ended nature of the game- you are simply in the mall for seven days, and you choose whether to follow the plot, or rescue the other survivors, or become involved in different side-quests that might pop up without warning at certain time, or simply wander around killing things and exploring.
Frequently you'll find yourself choosing between a few different things and cursing the developers under your breath- though, I think that was a conscious choice to encourage multiple playthroughs.
Probably the single weirdest thing about this game is the protagonist, a swarthy, unlikeable photojournalist named Frank. He looks like a Jersey Shore reject and talks and acts like he's some sort of arrogant Western stereotype concocted by the Japanese as a commentary on the United States. Maybe you won't have a problem with him, but I just couldn't handle his face. He bothered me. It's good, then, that you mostly see his back.
In the end, Dead Rising is a lot of fun, but frequently maddening. I admire it's balls- it does not coddle the player, and you will die often, and you will have to run your ass off to do all the things you want to do- but there is a fine line between challenge and frustration. Dead Rising walks that line pretty well, and whenever it crosses over too far one, there is enough going on to keep you pulled in until it evens out.

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