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Dead Rising 3
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How good is Dead Rising 3’s PC port?

Dead Rising 3 is out on PC soon (and possibly “now” in some regions) and judging by Steam’s top sellers list, you lot are pretty excited by this. And why wouldn’t you be? Everyone likes smashing zombies in the face, particularly in a big open-world environment, and particularly with a series of increasingly improbable weapons.

I’ve had review code for a little while now, but alas, our review isn’t ready yet. Partly this is because Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition is a really big game – other than the basic single-player mode, there are four DLC missions, and a Nightmare Mode with which I have to experiment. So no, the full review isn’t ready yet because I still have a fair bit to play. I can, however, talk about how well the PC version runs.

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The close-up detail on things like faces is pretty damn impressive.

Ultimately, my opinion on the PC port is “Hmm.” Which is quite surprising if you’ve played any recent Capcom games, because things like Resident Evil 6 and DmC Devil May Cry actually had really good ports.

First things first: are there options, can you change the things, and does the anti-aliasing stop those bloody aliases? Here’s the Advanced Visual Options screen:

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All of which looks pretty good. There are plenty of fiddle-ables (along with your basic display resolution option, not shown in that screen) and most make sense! There are only two that are perhaps a bit confusing: Game Quality and LoD. I think that Game Quality is the rendering quality as opposed to the display quality; you can have the game display at 1920×1080, even if it’s only rendering the game at 720p.

To the best of my knowledge, LoD tends to mean Level of Detail. Considering that we also have Zombie Quality, Shadow Quality, Texture Quality and all sorts of others, I’m not quite sure what that does. Judging by the two screenshots below (one with LoD on maximum, and one on minimum) the only difference I can tell is that a few distant objects are half-appearing. I can’t say that this is anything approaching a major change, though, and for reasons I’ll go into below that might be completely unrelated to that slider.

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So yes, the options are decent. No field-of-view slider, but that’s relatively uncommon in third-person games, and they’re otherwise pretty good. It looks rather nice graphically, too; the majority of the textures seem decently high-res and sharp.

What’s a bit more concerning is the way it runs, because Dead Rising 3 is capped at 30FPS on PC – not something I think anyone will be happy with, although you can apparently manually uncap it by fiddling with the .ini files. A 30FPS cap definitely makes a difference, though: the game feels somewhat sluggish and unresponsive, and it’s not as wonderfully smooth as PC gamers are likely used to. Again, this is a bit of a surprise considering the loveliness of the Resi 6 and Devil May Cry ports, and it makes me wonder if the game does actually have some interactions hard-coded to that framerate. Capcom have stated that you shouldn’t have any game-breaking issues if you uncap it, but the fact that you have to edit .ini files to uncork this (and the implication that it might well cause some issues of a non-game-breaking nature) still makes me a little hesistant.

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In fairness, it does a damn good job of handling this many enemies on screen at once. You’ll regularly see hundreds of zombies on screen, and Dead Rising 3 doesn’t really seem any slower then than with nothing happening.

It also seems pretty resource hungry. For reference’s sake, here’s the computer I’m using to play it: i7-3820 processor, 16GB RAM, GeForce GTX 670. With this I’m experiencing a fair bit of pop-in and tearing… but I’m getting that even if I lower the details, which again makes me wonder if that’s down to the engine more than it is to the system power. That’s why I mentioned above that the half-appearing objects in the above screenshots might not actually be related to the slider; while I believe they are, it’s entirely possible that a slight tilt to the camera or a little more time given might’ve caused them to appear.

Finally, I suppose we need to talk about bugs. This, at least, is an area I’m actually pretty pleased with. The game crashes when I quit, but I don’t really consider that a problem because I don’t normally quit games unless I actually want them to close down, and that’s the only crashing I’ve experienced. Pretty much everything in-game works about as expected, too – with the minor exception of the riot gear, which has led to some hilarity.

The riot gear equipment gives you a plastic riot shield and a police baton. On picking this up, a riot shield was hot-glued to each one of Nick’s arms, regardless of whether or not the gear was actually equipped. On dropping the riot gear a little later (having become fed up with the visual bug, and wanting to free up inventory space for something else), it… hovered in mid-air, and then gently floated away at eye-level, eventually disappearing into the horizon. Farewell, riot gear. Safe travels.

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So long, riot gear. Safe travels on your floaty journey.

So right now, my overall opinion of the Dead Rising 3 port is a firm “Eh, it’s pretty good, I guess.” As mentioned above, this is a bit sad considering the joys of Capcom’s recent efforts, but it’s still perfectly acceptable. I’ll hopefully be able to chime in a bit more on some of the things I’m uncertain of, when it comes time to review the game itself – I intend to try running it on my laptop to figure out just how resource hungry the game is, and I’ll obviously be trying to remove the 30FPS lock to see if that breaks the game.

Dead Rising 3 does not appear to have the bestest port ever seen, but by the same token, I haven’t seen anything fundamentally awful with it. There are plenty of graphical options and tweaks you can make, there are .ini files to edit, it looks pretty sharp, and it’s relatively bug-free, so it’s perfectly adequate – it just would’ve been nice to have a higher frame-rate cap and perhaps a little more optimisation.

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