Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop - WII - Review
By the time Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop arrived, it had been over a year since I played the Xbox 360 original. The memory of that game was so vivid: dark, creepy and heavily inspired by Night of the Living Dead, this zombie-packed horror game was addictive, frustrating and wholly engrossing.
After experiencing Chop Till You Drop, the Wii port and upgrade/downgrade concoction, it was time to re-examine the first version. Could my memory have been wrong? Could my vision have been distorted? The game before me wasn't the classic I remembered. But after going back to Xbox, it became clear that the memory was in fact correct – and that these two versions are two very different games.
Here’s The Scoop
Chop Till You Drop replaces the 72-hour mode of the first game with a narrower mission-based quest. The original cases play out as usual but with the addition of several required scoops (civilians in need of rescue). Thus, you can’t merely kill time to advance to the next phase, you must slowly move forward by completing whatever mission is introduced.
This setup is much easier than it would have been in the first game (where most scoops were optional), thanks to the use of three difficulty settings and more than 10 save slots. For those of you who haven’t played the 360 version, that game was limited to just one save slot. No continue options were provided at death, leaving two lousy choices: start over or load the game from the last save point.
Using a Resident Evil 4-style shooting scheme (hold the B button to draw your weapon and aim with the Wii remote), Chop Till You Drop’s controls are slightly improved over the analog stick aiming of the original.
But with less realistic graphics and fewer zombies to overwhelm the player, Chop Till You Drop isn’t scary. It isn’t intense. It doesn’t create any of the survival/horror feelings produced by the original Dead Rising – or the Resident Evil series, whose Wii graphics are vastly superior to Chop Till You Drop.
The lack of scares isn’t too noticeable at first, likely due to the initial wonder of having more ammo than you’ll ever use. Forget the 360 experience of running for your life; this version is more about hunting the flesh-eating creatures that threaten to destroy the world.
And if you do want to run, well…go right ahead. There aren’t enough zombies to stop a player with nimble thumbs, which are all you’ll need to outmaneuver and outrun most of the zombies. Some will need to be slaughtered to ensure your scoops survive. You will also want to kill several of them just for fun. But many can be left alone and you’ll never know the difference.
Once you realize that this is strictly an arcade-style hack-n-slash without any scary moments, Chop Till You Drop must rely solely on the action – and maybe a little unintentional humor – to keep players from walking away. If all you want to do is cut up a few thousand zombies and don’t mind playing through missions that require lots of unnecessary backtracking, Chop Till You Drop isn’t a horrible choice for gamers who don’t have an Xbox 360. It’s certainly better than not playing Dead Rising at all. The terrible, can’t-believe-what-I’m-seeing death animations will surely make players laugh, especially those who have witnessed the more realistic effects of the Resident Evil series (even the PSone original!).
But if you want a game that does more than say, “Go here, save this person, watch a cinematic, and hack up a bunch of zombies while you’re at it,” Chop Till You Drop leaves a lot to be desired. Most significantly, the chopping action is far from seamless. The standard third-person view is tolerable, but when aiming in the first person, don’t be surprised if rabid poodles or crawling zombies are hard to see. Despite the aim improvements, the view change feature (the Wii remote only controls your weapon’s cursor; the camera is controlled with the thumbstick) is still way too slow.
Frank, the main character and photojournalist from the Dead Rising series, can no longer jump or take pictures. The former is tolerable, though certainly raises a few eyebrows since it prevents you from crossing medians. Not being able to take pictures, however, is very strange, especially when the developers didn’t bother to remove the camera from Frank’s hands. When he’s not holding a weapon, you can see his giant camera. Given the history photography has with Nintendo systems (Pokemon Snap is just one example), and considering how cool it’d be to snap pictures with the Wii remote, this omission has to be one of the strangest I’ve ever seen.
Though you will find more food, ammo and a revised inventory system that’s similar to Resident Evil, Chop Till You Drop lacks the “anything is a weapon” thrill of the Xbox original. If an item is there, you can still pick it up, swing it around or throw it toward the enemy. But there aren’t nearly as many to find. The weaker animations take away from the horrific sensation of bashing several zombies with something heavy, only to have to turn around and run because you are severely outnumbered. Not that being outnumbered is something to worry about on Wii. But it’s yet another feeling you won’t experience in this version.
Inevitably, that leads us to a place much darker than Chop Till You Drop’s goofy story (the same as before but even less believable now that the graphics stink). This is not a hugely gripping game. It could have been and certainly was on Xbox 360. But too many sacrifices were made, and too many elements were altered, to let the dead rise gracefully on Wii.
Review Scoring Details for Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop
A rough and unpolished, hack-n-slash-heavy version of a popular survival/horror game released in 2006.
It's not easy to port an Xbox 360 game to Wii, especially when Wii's hardware is no better than GameCube. However, you would think that Chop Till You Drop – released four years after Resident Evil 4 hit GameCube – would be at least as good-looking as the hardware allows. Not true.
No excuses can be made for the lack of high-quality sound. We've all heard the amazing (and scary) sounds of RE4 on Wii and countless titles on GameCube, PSone and PS2. No one would expect this game to sound as good as the 360 version. But why couldn't it sound almost as good? The music is several times less intense, the sound effects are cheesy, and the atmospheric tunes are devoid of horror.
But mostly easy. Whereas the original was tough and often frustrating, this Wii port is fairly easy, thanks in part to the reduced zombie population (a consequence of Wii's inferior hardware).
The new save system and default difficulty settings are welcome additions. But they're hardly game changers. If you consider the basics that most games offer, including Capcom's other series (RE, Devil May Cry, Onimusha, Dino Crisis and others), these features should have been a part of Dead Rising three years ago.
Very hard to recommend. It's certainly better than not playing Dead Rising at all but should not be considered for purchase. A rental at best, Chop Till You Drop isn't a game you'll play till you drop.