Dead Rising 3: Fallen Angel Review
Microsoft Xbox One
The first of four ‘Untold Stories of Los Perdidos’ was an uninspired but not awful appendix to Capcom Vancouver’s meaty chunk of a main game. While that first episode focused on a squad of lunkheaded military-types scattered across the city, Fallen Angel shifts perspective to that of the persecuted survivors. As Angel, a tattooed, mohawked girl with attitude (already this sounds so original, eh?) there are another handful of missions to complete and more quotas to meet. Whereas Broken Eagle had you clearing out safe zones, Fallen Angel sees you investigating their sudden silence, crossing narrative paths with both the main game and the previous DLC.
A common problem beginning to reveal itself with the bite size approach to these episodes is that there is not enough time to get to know each protagonist. In an attempt to cut narrative corners, Capcom Vancouver look to be painting each very broadly in terms of personality – the military guy (Squad Leader Protagonist) was a one-note macho dude with a smidgen of ethical conflict. Angel drinks a lot, doesn’t listen to orders and flips the bird at everyone. And that’s about it for depth of character.
Of course, the reason why there isn’t enough time to peel back layers of motive and situation is because, once again, this DLC is shockingly short. The handful of missions that comprise Fallen Angel can be completed in a little over an hour, with the remainder of tasks resting firmly in the ‘collect this, destroy that’ category of optional filler. Yes, it adds longevity and refreshes a game that might be becoming stale but these missions don’t change the gameplay or offer anything but more of the same. In fact, what they do seem to be are mandatory advertisements for the new vehicles and weapons added to Dead Rising’s already generous roster of usable items. Missions that see you taking down squads of soldiers will hand you one of these new weapons – be it a spiked mace at the beginning or the new, overpowered Shockblaster that comes far too late in the campaign – to try. You are handed new toys, given a demonstration then left to your own devices. The missions are essentially glorified tutorials.
That’s not to say they are unbearably dull – just that fatigue does set it when conducting yet another escort and protect mission, or ferrying a vehicle from one side of the map to the other. The side missions for Fallen Angel are particularly uninspired. Saving hostages sees you shooting a soldier or two in order to untie a handful of survivors (who then promptly run away) while the other brand of side mission has you destroying yet more cameras, something that was more of a quota fulfilment in the main game. The only difference with these cameras being that close proximity sounds an alarm, alerting nearby zombies to your position. Neither are interesting enough to encourage completion, especially given their similarity to other tasks in Dead Rising 3 and Operation Broken Eagle.
The other question raised by this second episode is what exactly Capcom Vancouver aims to achieve with these ostensibly different but ultimately samey addenda to the Dead Rising 3 experience. Fallen Angel unluckily looks to be the closest DLC release to Left Behind, Naughty Dog’s story add-on for The Last of Us and one that is a revelation, both in reworking the main gameplay and offering a different perspective. Dead Rising’s DLC is all about multiple perspectives and yet they feel throwaway, nothing more than vehicles to deliver new cars and weapons – things which ultimately feel redundant in a game already full to the brim with crazy tools of death. There are two more characters to meet in forthcoming downloadable content. It remains to be seen if they’ll add anything genuinely new to the experience. If a few new weapons are enough to part you with your cash then Fallen Angel is an expensive addition worth a look. If it’s content you seek, look elsewhere – this expansion is so lacking in thought that even Dead Rising’s brain-craving zombies would pass it by.