-->
Games

Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition

You say schlock like it's a bad thing.


Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition

Publisher: Capcom
Format: PC
Price: $49.99
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Mature
Developer: Capcom Game Studio Vancouver
Release Date: 2014-09-05
URL

Dead Rising 3 is schlock. It aspires to be nothing more. It is not art, nor does it want to be.

This is a game with blood, carnage, sex, cheap laughs, and waves and waves and waves and waves and waves of zombies to burn, eviscerate, and bludgeon. This is the Robotron of 2014. A game about killing thousands, millions, and zillions of sprites on a screen using mostly one button, maybe two. There's something in the plot about humans who are infected with the zombie virus refusing to register themselves with the government that is supposed to parallel the potential perils of the modern surveillance state or something like that. However, any sociopolitical message that this might impart is completely lost in the grisly fun of welding a machete to a sledgehammer and busting some zombie skulls. Anything that goes on in the cutscenes is less about messaging and more simply about justifying the reason for the game's protagonist, Nick, to scavenge the detritus of the former city of Los Perdidos and to find inventive new ways to turn teddy bears, motor oil, and light machine guns into kickass munition systems.

Yes, Dead Rising 3 is schlock, and it is incredibly good at being schlock. It does schlock better than few other video games, movies, or comic books. It knows what it is, fails to apologize for it, and simply tries to execute on its premise as perfectly as possible.

None of this is really new information. I could comfortably say most of what I have said about both Dead Rising and Dead Rising 2. This is a series that revels in its ability to serve up copious amounts of gore within the context of an absurd universe that is at once macabre and at once as silly as hell. Dead Rising 3 continues in this tradition, upping the ante by getting more undead flesh onscreen at once and providing new absurdly stupid mechanisms to cut that flesh down in the simplest ways possible.

If anything has changed in the series, it is simplicity. While Dead Rising and Dead Rising 2 are similarly unapologetically schlocky fun, they aren't the easiest games in the world. Attempting to survive and maybe stem the zombie threat on the clock is the hallmark of the series. Likewise, attempting to do your best to try to save as many survivors as you can and maybe rid the world of a few psychos on the side interferes with the central goal, making using your time effectively and efficiently the biggest obstacle in the game, not the zombie threat.

Dead Rising 3 is nowhere near as difficult in terms of balancing how you spend your time and whether or not you can achieve your goals. The game is rife with new features that make the game more accessible and more easily conquerable for more casual players. You can craft weapons on the fly, the map marks important locations and collectibles that will help you build better weapons and level up faster, and your fellow survivors are much more adept at survival. Indeed, you can now reasonably create a posse of fellow survivors to bring along with you to fight the zombie hordes by your side, and they are durable enough to survive. Thus, a whole lot of the pressures of the previous games are relieved.

Personally, I find this ease of play to be the new title's only notable weakness. Removing the tension and uniqueness of this playstyle, where time, not enemies become your greatest threat in a combat-oriented game, is kind of a bummer. I appreciate a game, especially a horror-themed game, that makes me feel some discomfort and anxiety about completing it.

All that being said, the newest iteration in the series remains pure schlocky bliss if you are willing to accept the fact that it aspires to nothing more than that. Dead Rising 3 is fun in the way that Evil Dead 2 is fun or Army of Darkness is fun. It knows what is and what it isn't. And it loves being what it isn't/ The game trades high minded themes for pure visceral amusement park thrill, evoking the pleasure of crunching bones and wearing silly outfits while doing so. Dead Rising 3 is all trailer trash style with no substance in sight. I wouldn't have it any other way.

8
Music

The Best Indie Rock of 2017

Photo courtesy of Matador Records

The indie rock genre is wide and unwieldy, but the musicians selected here share an awareness of one's place on the cultural-historical timeline.

Indie rock may be one of the most fluid and intangible terms currently imposed upon musicians. It holds no real indication of what the music will sound like and many of the artists aren't even independent. But more than a sonic indicator, indie rock represents a spirit. It's a spirit found where folk songsters and punk rockers come together to dialogue about what they're fed up with in mainstream culture. In so doing they uplift each other and celebrate each other's unique qualities.

With that in mind, our list of 2017's best indie rock albums ranges from melancholy to upbeat, defiant to uplifting, serious to seriously goofy. As always, it's hard to pick the best ten albums that represent the year, especially in such a broad category. Artists like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had a heck of a year, putting out four albums. Although they might fit nicer in progressive rock than here. Artists like Father John Misty don't quite fit the indie rock mold in our estimation. Foxygen, Mackenzie Keefe, Broken Social Scene, Sorority Noise, Sheer Mag... this list of excellent bands that had worthy cuts this year goes on. But ultimately, here are the ten we deemed most worthy of recognition in 2017.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less
Music

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

It's ironic that by injecting a shot of cynicism into this glorified soap opera, Johnson provides the most satisfying explanation yet for the significance of The Force.

Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

Keep reading... Show less
7

Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a few US shows to support the expanded reissue of their debut Fever to Tell.

Although they played a gig last year for an after-party for a Mick Rock doc, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hadn't played a proper NYC show in four years before their Kings Theatre gig on November 7th, 2017. It was the last of only a handful of gigs, and the only one on the East coast.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image