Capcom’s Dead Rising was just about the most perfect concept ever devised for a game: Use crap from the local mall to kill zombies by the hundreds. Genius. A big hit on the 360 (despite those pesky mutterings about it being responsible for countless bricked consoles), the game is being reborn on the Wii as Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop. It’s a great idea – the only thing more fun than bashing a zombie in the head is using motion controls to simulate it – but in practice, it’s really just not that much fun.
Just to help folks who are unfamiliar with the game catch up, you play as a photojournalist named Frank who hopes to get the scoop on a zombie-infested town, but swiftly find yourself holed up in the mall fighting off the undead and rescuing survivors. What set Dead Rising apart from the rest of the zombie-slaying pack was its cheekiness and humor. Just about anything you find in the mall – frying pans, soccer balls, baseball bats, patio umbrellas – can be picked up and used as a weapon. You’ll find a handful of more conventional weapons like guns and knives, too, but finding bizarre objects to use in combat is a huge part of the game’s fun.
That aspect of the game is still very much part of Chop Til You Drop, but sadly Capcom didn’t take full advantage of the Wii’s motion-sensing capabilities. Hitting the A button to swing a sledgehammer or throw an orange simply isn’t as much fun as swinging the remote would’ve been. You do have to shake the remote to rid yourself of zombies that have decided to glom onto you, but it doesn’t really add anything substantial to the fun.
You use the Remote to aim your reticle when shooting a gun, and while that certainly makes it easier to be precise, more often than not, Frank’s enormous melon head gets in the way of your shot as you try to get a bead on a fast-moving zombie. It comes in very handy during boss fights, but in the time I was playing, it never felt seamless.
It’s possible that I’m remembering the original Dead Rising more generously than I should, but Chop felt very sluggish by comparison. Frank took forever to turn around (though there is a 180-degree fast move turn available, which I could never seem to remember to use), and ran as though he smoked three packs of unfiltered Camels a day. The bosses were still as demented as ever. Remember that clown with the chainsaw fetish? He’s back.
A demo is not an entire game, of course, but I walked away from the booth wanting more. The controls never felt natural, and that got in the way of my zombie-killing glee. One good thing I can say about Chop Til You Drop: it won’t brick your Wii. Probably.