'Stiq Tips: Dead Rising 3 Guide

Dead Rising 3 ups the zombie count considerably. Like, two to three times the amount of its predecessors. I'm talking tons of shambling, terrifying corpses walking the streets. If you are wise, you should be afraid – and you should be prepared. They don't call the city Los Perdidos ("the lost ones") for nothing. Here are a few pointers that should keep you from being lost to the undead.

If you're not accustomed to the Dead Rising series, start the game in Normal Mode, which eliminates the timer and saving limitations of previous games. If you're a hardcore fan, start Nightmare Mode right away. Should you want to make Nightmare Mode slightly less difficult, your character from your first playthrough will carry over with its stats intact, New Game+ style. If you're after the secret Mega Man X digs, you'll have to beat Normal Mode to earn the suit, and Nightmare to nab the X-Buster.

With that out of the way, you can start gathering some really good gear at the start of the game. Specifically, right near the gas station during the first mission is a sword store. Head in there and grab your first blueprint for one of the best weapons in the game – the modified scythe. Dead Rising 3 doesn't tell you this outright, but every weapon you acquire will be waiting for you in future weapon lockers – so touch every formidable piece of gear in the store at least once.

After you unlock your first skill point, put it in the "Smarts" category to immediately expand your radar – it'll come in handy the rest of the game. Then upgrade life once for a quick and easy health block, then melee. Once you've boosted those skills, consider upgrading your inventory to earn more slots for hoarding food. One of the most useful food items is actually a weapon blueprint: the beer hat. Combining a keg with a construction hat provides a multi-use healing item that you can take with you on-the-go. It's also good for head-butting your way through a thicket of zombies.

It's important to keep one eye on your radar when you're roaming around the city. Make an effort to complete the side distractions like eliminating the speaker systems, viewing "tragic endings" events – essentially folks who took their own lives or tried to hold out as long as they could before succumbing to the infected – or grabbing Frank statues (denoted with orange icons), which earn you valuable Prestige Points (experience points). Most tragic endings will be found on an elevated surface, so head for rooftops or the second floor of a building first.

Cars are a huge part of Dead Rising 3, but they can get you in trouble if you're not careful. It's fun to run over zombies by the hundreds, but that actually hurts your car, believe it or not. Try to weave in and out of zombies instead of just ramming into them all the time. But if you just can't help yourself, this is where the Mechanic section of Nick's skill tree comes in handy. By adding points here, you can up the durability of vehicles. As an aside, since your car is bound to take some damage driving around, if you see another car while you're on a trip, stop and grab that one for a fresh new ride. Think of it as insurance against getting stranded in the middle of a highway when your old car blows up.

To spot a new car, look for flashing headlights or tail lights – that denotes a vehicle Nick can actually use. When in any section of the city, it's best to go to a roof and scout out car locations, then use the rooftops to slowly make your way there. Never underestimate the power of getting a bird's eye view, especially given the increased zombie count. You can also park cars near landings on buildings, and use them to climb up to tons of hidden areas; the taller the ride, the better. Vehicles also sometimes have hidden abilities, which are typically used by pressing the X or Y buttons. Test everything you drive.

If you need to personally get in the thick of the zombie horde, stick to X for single target moves and Y for area-of-effect multi-target moves. You can also "jump cancel" almost anything, from attacks, to picking up items, to contextual actions. If you find yourself doing something you're not supposed to, just jump to cancel out. Remember that when guns run out of ammo, they "break" – meaning you'll have to go through a small animation before you can regain your composure. To avoid this, drop firearms on the ground before you exhaust the last bullet. Finally, you'll want to unlock the Knee Drop maneuver whenever you can. This move negates all fall damage when executed, allowing you to leap off of rooftops with impunity.

There are a few encounters that are particularly tough, so here's some help. When fighting the biker gang towards the beginning, look for gun icons on the ground to make short work of them. In fact, before you go into any major area (especially those with red skull icons that denote Psycho boss fights), have at least one gun just in case.

Albert, the psychopathic doctor representing greed, is one of the harder Psycho fights in the game at first glance, but you can use a few tricks to best him. Throughout the fight, the doctor will spawn "clones" of himself. You can throw a cooler at one of these to see if it's the real doctor, which will avoid the counter-attack from engaging him head-on. Grabbing coolers when in the same room as Albert will also trigger an angry reaction – he doesn't like anyone touching his organs! – and he'll reveal himself. Repeat this strategy to make short work of him.

For any boss fight, click the right analog stick to zoom in and focus on a foe – if their icon is blinking, it means they're vulnerable. You may also see a phrase near a microphone in the top right corner. If you physically shout that phrase at Kinect, Nick will "taunt" the boss, who will then do a scripted action, often creating an opening.

Survival is also key, and keeping at least two food items – or one beer hat – in your bag is crucial. If you want to avoid booze, orange juice is a solid item to pack, as are pain pills or any other type of medicine. Also remember that pressing down on the D-pad drops your current item immediately. That can save you from having to find safety before futzing with your inventory, and it's also a good way to avoid fumbling around as you pick up and drop gear in the middle of a boss fight.

Lockers are another crucial survival tool. If you see a red house icon on the map, go there and eliminate all of the zombies in the area to create a permanent safe zone. You can only retrieve a limited amount of gear from these lockers at any given moment, so choose wisely – the modified scythe from the beginning is always a solid choice, as is the electric staff, which is made up of a traffic light and battery. Don't forget to equip your AI partners with an item, too. They'll be much more useful if they can clear out a few errant zombies. AI buddies are also extremely helpful distractions in boss fights, and continuing to drop Attribute Points in the "Smarts" area will make them even stronger allies throughout your vacation in Los Perdidos.

If you're having trouble with a specific part of Dead Rising 3, always remember to stop by a locker and load up your inventory with at least one firearm, one sturdy melee weapon, and two food items first. Clearing out safehouses in each zone is important, so if you see one, don't pass it up! Unless there are just too many zombies to handle, in which case running like hell is always a solid strategy.

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