Platform: Xbox One (£7.99)
Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
You should never, ever, buy season passes until you know whether the content is actually worth a damn.
We've been saying this for months now, but just in case you didn't get the message, Dead Rising 3 seems determined to be the last example of dodgy premium-priced DLC you'll ever need. Retailing at £7.99 individually or as part of a £24.99 season pass, Operation Broken Eagle disgracefully peddled ninety minutes of unimaginative gameplay fronted by a tiresome non-entity, completely failing to push the story or series anywhere remotely interesting.
A fortnight on, and Fallen Angel continues the proud tradition of paying out -- in advance -- for very little of note. Thankfully the core Dead Rising 3 experience is still fun on a electrified flame-gouting mechanical bun, and you'll get some cool new toys to mess about with alongside a much stronger character.
As another prequel story, Fallen Angel tries to shed more light on the initial Los Perdidos outbreak. This episode focuses on the 'Illegals' resistance movement, those plucky souls who live off the grid and set up the (ill-fated) network of safehouses we take for granted as Nick Ramos. Playing as resistance member Angel Quijano, you'll scamper around the same old city to scape resources together, outfox the military and generally perform a few perfunctory fetch quests over the course of two hours.
Beyond seeing a handful of familiar faces crop up from the campaign, it's another case of unimaginative cookie-cutter DLC design, and hits its nadir with by far the longest and most annoying 'drive a fragile unarmed vehicle through streets packed full of explosive barrels' mission we've seen from the game thus far. This wasn't any fun the first time, let alone the fourth. At least Operation Broken Eagle had the decency to put a minigun on the top of our mission-critical ride.
In fairness, though, Fallen Angel is a definite improvement over Adam Kane's totally
bogus boring journey. Optional missions are better fleshed-out and feel more satisfying, such as destroying security cameras while keeping out of their line of sight, rescuing captives from army execution or setting fire to propaganda posters. Be sure to keep a ZAR or Molotov on hand. The handful of new gear is good for laugh, including a supremely satisfying pair of SMGs which is quickly overshadowed by a hilarious shock rifle that pulverises anything it hits. Not worth the price of admission, but still damn good fun.
Angel also happens to be a vaguely interesting person; a stereotypical hard fightin' hard drinkin' hardass from the Jenette Vasquez school of no-nonsense female characters to be sure, but at least she has a strong personality and empathy with her fellow illegals.
So it's doubly aggravating that she isn't technically a character at all.
Much like Broken Eagle, Fallen Angel lazily reskins Nick Ramos right down to his skills, combo weapon blueprints, PP level and even attack animations. Angel is Nick Ramos to all intents and purposes, meaning that the DLC pack can't offer any new gameplay experiences whatsoever. It's exactly the same as the vanilla campaign in every way that counts, whereas making Angel a brand new character with her own skill tree and inability to create combo weapons would have allowed Capcom Vancouver to offer a tense new perspective on the action. Rather than just flogging an extra hour or two of identical gameplay at £7.99 a pop.
What annoys me most of all is that Dead Rising 3 provides a perfect setup for downloadable content. Two recurring series characters are begging for story campaigns of their own, filling in the gaps between Dead Rising 2 and 3 while explaining how they ended up in Los Perdidos. It would be so easy.
And yet, here we are, shepherding four complete randomers around inconsequential, ultimately meaningless little adventures that add almost nothing to the experience as a whole. The final two chapters will have to be superb in order to make the season pass worthwhile, but even then, we'd probably still be better off just playing Nightmare Mode again.
I can't deny that Fallen Angel is fun... because Dead Rising 3 is fun. You'll still kill a bunch of zombies in profoundly imaginative ways and find yourself wandering off the beaten track by those oh-so-tempting optional objectives, but ultimately, Fallen Angel is painfully average.
- Some interesting optional objectives
- A clutch of cool new gear and blueprints
- Fleshes out the 'Illegals,' Angel is vaguely interesting
- Pointless (in a fun sort of way)
- Will make you hate burger vans forever
The Short Version: Another fortnight, another deeply average Dead Rising 3 DLC pack. Though more interesting and worthwhile than the pathetic Operation Broken Eagle, Fallen Angel is still not worth your money unless you really, really need to zap zombies with an awesome electric blaster cannon.
Actually, I must admit, that was rather fun. Dead Rising 3 is as enjoyable as ever, but the last two downloadable content packs need to shift up several gears to be worth the additional cost.