Platform: Xbox One (£7.99)
Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
I see what you did there, Capcom. After years of releasing 'super' and 'arcade' editions of games we already own, not to mention bucketloads of deeply questionable DLC, it's time to poke a little fun at yourselves while making amends for Dead Rising 3's calamitous season pass. Half fan service brawler, half 80s retro reference and all slightly-too-forced self parody, this colourful slice of content turns the game into a four-player hack and slasher. A bit like Streets Of Rage or Final Fight, perhaps, only with hundreds of zombies and an M. Bison boss the size of an office block.
It's galling that Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha is still technically "on-disc DLC," mind, since the files are included in the latest mandatory 4GB title update. You've just swapped a physical CD for the hard drive, Capcom; making everyone who owns the game download the content then charging to unlock it. An improvement, except that we've only got 500GB to play with and you should ask our permission before taking up valuable space with stuff we might not want.
Never mind though, because I just dressed Frank West up as Mayor Haggar, teamed up with Nick Ramos in a sexy Felicia outfit and made lots of dead things even deader. Arcade Remix may not be subtle or particularly deep, but it sure is fun when you get some mates involved.
The familiar streets of Los Perdidos have been 'retro-fied' and retrofitted to become the setting for a straightforward arena brawler. You (and preferably 1-3 friends, marking the first inclusion of 4-player multiplayer in the franchise) choose one of four characters and bludgeon your way through four districts, each containing four objective stages and a zany bonus level. Objectives range from 'kill 750 zombies' to returning vehicles scattered around the map, with a tight time limit keeping you honest.
A great premise for an arcade beat 'em up, and that's exactly what Arcade Remix turns Dead Rising 3 into. Our four heroes now only have one weapon, basic attacks and a designated role (Chunk Greene is a straight-up brawler whereas Annie packs a ranged punch with a fistful of firearms), feeling like a classic coin-op. Silly powerups replace combo weapons, from Arthur's golden Super Armour (that gives you an impressive beard) to air strikes and even a debilitating tofu transformation, while a 'super' gauge fuels deliciously OTT special attacks. Nick's Mecha Dragon slam is a sight to behold.
You'll therefore rampage around with a group of friends causing absolute chaos, clattering through the zombie hordes in a desperate attempt to beat the clock, simultaneously doing your best to score the most points and top the leaderboard. It's silly rambunctious fun and exactly what Dead Rising 3 is all about.
And, of course, you'll unlock some crazy costumes that reference the good old days and remind us that they still haven't made Darkstalkers 3 even though they keep recycling the characters in other bloody franchises! 'Zenny' can be spent on the first tier of cosplay outfits, but you'll need to find hidden arcade machines and hit kill thresholds to unlock the more hilarious and interesting gear. Annie can turn into Chun Li, for example, whereas Frank can stick on a servbot hat or the legendary dungarees of Mayor Mike Haggar. Nick's Felicia outfit is a sight to behold.
Brilliantly costumes aren't just cosmetic. Each confers their own moveset and special attack modelled on the character's own abilities, meaning that Flash Kicks, claw swipes, elbow drops and 360 punches are all fair game. This, more than anything, ensures that the game remains fresh for longer than you'd expect.
Unfortunately the objectives always remain the same; there's little in the way of remixing between runs and you can't skip straight to particular stages. Once you've run through the four districts, you'll have seen everything there is to see, at which point it turns into an outfit collection grind. We're talking about roughly three-to-five hours here. At which point you're running through new versions of old levels to unlock costumes... that let you do exactly the same thing.
And you could argue that it's paying good money to make Dead Rising 3 a more simplistic and limited experience. We're already able to kill zombies by the truckload with an incredible number of zany weapons, going wherever we want and bringing the pain however we want. Expansion packs are supposed to expand the game, but Arcade Remix does what it says on the tin by removing all but one weapon per character, combo weapons, exploration and ultimately everything except the combat mechanics themselves. Which, erm, aren't exactly the strongest part of the game on their own merits -- imprecise and quirky as they are.
Arcade Remix the classic lazy and arena DLC gambit that developers fall back on when they can't be bothered to really make new content. BioShock 2's Protector Trials in a game that still deserves its Minerva's Den.
But for £7.99, Capcom gets away with it. The inclusion of four-player funtimes will be an essential update for some, whereas the zany costumes will suit others down to the ground. Crucially it's chaotic and outrageous fun, and that's actually enough.
- Rambunctious 4-player competitive co-op
- Straightforward fan service fun
- Unlockable outfits confer brand new attacks, add replay value
- Limited scope and appeal after a couple of hours
- Removes much of what makes Dead Rising 3 unique
- Dead Rising 3's quirky combat mechanics could use a little more polish
The Short Version: Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha Review turns Dead Rising 3 down into a royal retro rumble. Fantastic fun with three friends, especially when you've unlocked a few costumes, but ultimately arena DLC in a game that's still crying out for a quality story expansion.
For most, though, destroying hordes of zombies as Mayor Haggar will be worth the price of admission.