Traversing the urban sprawl of Los Perdidos in the company of mechanic Nick Ramos was a fun, if mildly directionless jaunt featuring plenty of gore, guts and gaudy costumes. Dead Rising 3 had technical limitations, yes, but they could be overlooked considering the game is the closest thing to a complete experience in terms of Xbox One exclusives. Operation Broken Eagle – the first of four ‘Untold Stories of Los Perdidos’ – arrives either individually or as part of a season pass, offering self-contained chapters from the viewpoint of four new characters. In a world filled with such opportunity – and plenty of imagination from developers Capcom Vancouver as evidenced by the crazy weapon combinations – you’d expect something potentially leftfield and even quirky. Compared to Nick’s wild zombie adventure, Operation Broken Eagle feels routine.
First warning: spoilers ahoy! Although if you’re reading this before finishing Dead Rising 3 you’d do well to question your motives. Anyway, Broken Eagle tasks you as a squad leader under General Hemlock, Dead Rising 3’s Big Bad, a cartoonishly macho villain who didn’t really have a personality. Squad Leader Protagonist retains even less of a personality beyond the usual shouty ‘Oscar Mike!’ soldier stereotype, so much so that I can’t actually remember his name. Anyway, Squad Leader Protagonist is essentially opposition to Nick Ramos, fulfilling orders that lead into main game missions, filling in some of the blanks behind Dead Rising’s (rather thin) plot. On the way to kidnap the President (yep), Squad Leader Protagonist’s helicopter crashes, scattering his team across the map and generally delaying his objective.
So begins what could have been an interesting take on previous events, but instead becomes a serviceable but unfulfilling return to Los Perdidos. The end of Dead Rising 3 had some of the most convoluted padding, leading you by the nose across the city in a bid either to a) show off the city one last time or b) add pointless to-and-froing. Or both. Operation Broken Eagle scatters that team of soldiers across the map as side missions – asking you to simply navigate towards the blue diamonds. Upon arrival you’ll discover your comrades alive or (un)dead, recruit them or steal their dogtags and, bloop, mission complete. There’s none of the weirdness of the main game’s side missions – it’s literally a roll call. And a pointless one at that – who knew a crashing helicopter would scatter a team over such a wide area!
The story missions of Broken Eagle are only marginally less lacklustre, tending to lean towards approaching a fortified position, shooting everything/clearing out zombies and maybe picking up one of the new combination weapons along the way. Of what could be considered ‘main’ missions, discounting those that point you towards the twenty-nine ZDC cameras you can hack or the safe zones you can now clear out, Broken Eagle really has about three missions. They aren’t particularly difficult either, your role as a soldier shooting other soldiers presenting plenty of opportunity to pick up an arsenal of firearms.
If brevity is the soul of wit then Broken Eagle could teach Oscar Wilde a few tricks; the scarcity of missions means the content can easily be completed in a couple of hours. Disappointing is the fact that the occasionally hilarious multiplayer is absent as well, limiting any replayability beyond tracking down those cameras and hunting the extra combo weapons. Good expansions change the feel of a game; aside from removing any last vestiges of personality, Operation Broken Eagle is more of the same. While this isn’t a bad thing – there’s plenty of scope to lark about, albeit within a very familiar area – it does mean that this first part of DLC feels redundant.
Of course, that does mean that all those niggles that frustrated you in the full game make an unwelcome return. Despite the humongous patch that preps the DLC, there were an apparent laundry list of changes to smooth over some of the cracks. No changes are readily apparent, although driving did feel marginally more responsive. Pop in is still tragically frequent – possibly the biggest blight on Dead Rising 3’s claim as a next-gen game.
Operation Broken Eagle serves its purpose but feels light on content, despite new collectibles to find and checklists to tick off. Even these feel prosaic; padding, there to bulk out a distinctly sparse set of objectives. The story is mildly intriguing but you expect more from a second view of events already witnessed. Perhaps the remaining three stories will also interlink, creating something akin to an Arrested Development episode, albeit with more zombies. As it stands, this first part passes the time, promises more but ultimately devolves into a third-person shooter peppered with fetch quests. Like the combination weapons it proudly (and rightly) brandishes, Operation Broken Eagle seems hastily constructed but not half as entertaining. Here’s hoping the next chapter livens things up, as much as a zombie-infested city can be.