Dead Rising follows the harrowing tale of Frank West, an overly zealous freelance photojournalist on the hunt for the scoop of a lifetime. In pursuit of a juicy lead, he makes his way to a small suburban town only to find that it has become overrun by zombies. He escapes to the local shopping mall, thinking it will be a bastion of safety yet it turns out to be anything but. It will be a true struggle to survive the endless stream of enemies, but players will have full reign of a realistic shopping centre, utilizing anything they find to fight off the flesh-hungry mob and search for the truth behind the horrendous epidemic.
Dead Rising features an open level of freedom and offers a vast array of gameplay possibilities. As part of a real time system, time is dynamic in Dead Rising, marching on whether Frank is actively engaged or if simply stationary. Time also plays a role as zombies become more powerful when the sun goes down. Though they move slowly during the day, the zombies become stronger and faster at night, making it even more dangerous for players to survive. The unprecedented numbers of enemies come in never-ending waves and consist of a diverse population of former humans that have retained some memory of their previous lives, which is reflected in their behaviour and appearance. The variety of different stores in the mall offers players an endless supply of resources including vehicles, makeshift weapons and more. Players will also encounter other survivors along the way and by helping them can acquire valuable clues as to what has happened.