Platform: Xbox One (£7.99)
Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Dead Rising 3 deserves some quality downloadable content. Anyone who's hacked, slashed, burned, melted and creatively brutalised their way to the end of overtime mode will know that two returning series characters beg to be fleshed out in greater detail, with backstories and unanswered questions to explore over the course of several hours. Or completely ignore in favour of carving hordes of undead into tiny pieces while wearing lingerie and reindeer antlers.
Never mind all that, though, because Capcom Vancouver are more interested in telling the mediocre stories of four total randomers who you'll struggle to care about even as you forget who they were. Case in point: Special Forces commander Adam Kane, who apparently ran around Los Perdidos for two hours doing some boring fetch quests, scrutinising lamp posts and and racking up the kills in an awesome minigun-equipped APC.
Okay, in fairness, that last bit was pretty cool. Broken Eagle is fantastic fun because Dead Rising 3 is fantastic fun, but at £7.99, fails to deliver anywhere near enough meaningful content... and makes the season pass even more of a mug's game than it already is.
The premise has legs. As General Hemlock's hatchet man, Kane is tasked with fulfilling some truly evil objectives. He's dropped into Los Perdidos to abduct or kill the POTUS, infect safe zones by turning the innocent inhabitants into zombies and cover up the military's involvement, all of which should provide a gleefully twisted new perspective on the story.
Should. In practice, though, Broken Eagle's anaemic two-hour runtime boils down to a handful of boring repetitive quests set in over-familiar locations, slightly bulked out by some truly uninteresting side missions. Infecting safe zones ought to be a truly horrific endeavour, but ends up being nothing more than standing outside a door and pressing B. Great. Likewise, finding dog tags or hacking ZDC cameras is another case of find lamp post, press B, profit. Even if you go out of your way to locate extra collectibles from the base game, you'll get a maximum of three hours of gameplay here, all of which is indistinguishable from Ramos' adventure. Concentrate on the story and the credits roll in sixty minutes. Blink and you'll miss it.
Worse, Kane is a complete non-entity. Not just in terms of his total lack of personality (would it have killed Capcom Vancouver to let us play as someone who enjoys his nefarious job?), but in terms of his skills and abilities. PP and experience can be carried back into the main game, but the double-edged sword cuts deep, as Kane is little more than a reskinned version of Ramos who possesses the same abilities, crafting blueprints and even animations based on your existing save file. Nothing about Broken Eagle feels new or refreshing, because it literally is old rope.
It's a crying shame, because Broken Eagle could have vastly increased its play time and challenge by making Kane an entirely new character with a limited level cap, and without the ability to create combo weapons. Starting afresh would have forced us to level up and face the hordes from scratch, while improvising with anything to hand rather than just crafting the same overpowered gear we're used to wielding as Ramos. We could have still brought PP and blueprints back into the campaign proper, after all.
I hope that the next three DLC packs take this tack and give us a genuinely new play style to explore.
At least there are some cool new toys to mess about with. From a great big minigun, axe/riot shield combo and powerful new vehicle to a ridiculous robotic Sentry Cat (yes, it's as fun as it sounds), you'll locate a small amount of enjoyable kit that becomes available in the main campaign, which might be just enough to justify the expense for die-hard fans. Indeed, Broken Eagle feels like one of those Dead Rising 2 item drops with a token effort to pad out the content enough to warrant £7.99.
Oh, and there's no co-op. At all. This wouldn't be a problem if Broken Eagle's story was worth a damn -- if we were looking at another Case 0 or Case West -- but its exclusion makes the experience feel even more malnourished.
There's also a case to be made that Capcom have once again provided "on-disc DLC" - the disc in this case being the Xbox One's hard drive, since Broken Eagle's content is included in the recent 13GB title update. At least the texture pop-in and frame rate has been noticeably improved (though the latter is still slightly unstable during intense scuffles).
Mind you, I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy my time in Adam Kane's company. Far from it, because Broken Eagle really is great fun. Killing zombies with a tomahawk and riot shield? Fun. Rampaging through the hordes in a beastly minigun tank? Fun. Playing more Dead Rising 3? You'd better believe it's fun. Even though Broken Eagle's objectives may be staid, the core experience is still thrilling and enjoyable; what matters is the time between the objectives spent destroying the hordes and battling through the streets in imaginative, ludicrous ways.
If you desperately need to play more Dead Rising 3, Broken Eagle gives you an excuse to do so. But... what's stopping you from just firing up nightmare mode? Ultimately Broken Eagle isn't really worth your money, and means that the subsequent three expansions will need to be superb to make the £23.99 season pass worth shelling out for.
- Some neat new weapons, new vehicle and PP to take back to the campaign
- Core zombie-murdering experience is still fantastic fun
- The 13GB update does improve performance somewhat (especially pop-in)
- Nowhere near enough content to warrant £7.99 or season pass purchase
- Kane has no personality, is effectively just a skin
- Incredibly short, mission objectives are bland and banal
The Short Version: Blink and you'll miss it. Operation Broken Eagle is a half-decent excuse to spend more time playing Dead Rising 3, but a poor reason to spend £7.99.
Don't even think about buying the season pass until we know whether future expansions actually expand the game in any meaningful way.