Dead Rising 3: The Last Agent Review
Reviewed on Microsoft Xbox One
The Dead Rising 3 downloadable content has been a case study in arbitrary add-ons that feel underwhelming. When Operation Broken Eagle turned out to be little more than fetch quests and a smattering of new weapons amidst a sea of pointless box-ticking exercises there were at least three more Untold Stories of Los Perdidos to come, potentially making up for one duff episode. But no, Broken Eagle did in fact set a template for the remaining episodes and the final release – The Last Agent – is even more egregious, given that it lacks any payoff for those lumbered with the season pass.
You play as recent resident of the Generic Name Hotel Brad Park, an agent with the ZDC and therefore a member of the antagonist faction within Dead Rising. This admittedly clichéd spin on things – playing as the enemy – would be an interesting wrinkle were it not that you’ve already played as every possible enemy already, minus a shambling zombie. Turns out that mindlessly wandering as a corpse would be more interesting, as Brad decides that the ZDC is up to no good and immediately sets about investigating in the most uninvolving way possible. By investigating the game means numerous fetch quests, pointless checkpoint steeplechases and very little in the way of meaningful character development.
The Last Agent could have included plot twist after plot twist but barely registers on the raised-eyebrow front. In fact, you’ll be frowning most of the way through, given the propensity for Brad needing to revisit locations already fundamental (and well explored) in the main campaign and even previous DLC chapters. This could have been a benefit – allowing the story to finally interweave with the other disparate tales but, alas, to no avail. There are a handful of crossed paths but nothing to the extent of megaton, jaw-dropping revelations. Without any payoff, revisiting locations feels lazy and unimaginative, making a sizeable open world feel small and a chore to explore. The best downloadable content radically changes the feel of a game, by altering the environment or the gameplay itself. It’s telling that these untold stories have changed the landscape but only by blocking the already zombie-infested roads, making travel even more of a pain. One mission sees you attempting to enter a dance studio - unaware that the entrance requires some rooftop acrobatics to access - when ground level doors mock you with their painted textures. It’s a terrible example of poor player guidance and another by-product of lazy design.
The few new weapons added in each campaign are the most entertaining part of the package. Rather than commit the sin of adding them too late to be of any worth, The Last Agent at least places them in your hands from the off. The new railgun is a step back towards the silliness on which Dead Rising has built its reputation and other weapons continue the escalation in firepower that you’ll need to cut through swathes of the undead.
The Last Agent has a short mini-campaign, some would say mercifully. That doesn’t hide the fact that, aside from the handful of main missions, the rest of the things to see and do are all reskinned objectives to fetch, destroy and visit. The sheer number of them mean they’re a sidequest to be actively sought out, not something doable on the way to a main objective. Whether you’ll have the determination to do this all over again after three previous near-identical tasks is easy to guess. Needless to say the map was left looking indecipherable, the deluge of markers layered upon each other.
Perhaps the most galling part of The Last Agent comes from the total lack of payoff. The first episode set up links to the main campaign and, although Nick Ramos does make a brief appearance, The Last Agent almost entirely ignores two of the previous Untold Stories. Even worse, where it does link to other plotlines it manages to cheapen them, as if the big reveal were a cardboard sign with ‘The End’ hastily drawn in marker pen.
It’s another lacklustre, characterless cash-in and one that solidifies Dead Rising’s downloadable output as dismal, only appealing to those who haven’t bought another game since or die-hard fans of pointless tasks. It’s better than Chaos Rising but by capping off a promising mini-campaign with such disappointment, The Last Agent retrospectively tarnishes the whole wretched endeavour. It even paints the main game in a worse light – quests cut from the same cloth hint that even the most enjoyable of main game endeavours might have been flukes. There’s nothing more to say on Dead Rising 3 with this last piece of downloadable content; only to appreciate the main game for what it is and forget everything since.