...it has to be THE MOST polarizing console I've ever seen, in all my generations of gaming.
Either people absolutely love it, or they absolutely hate it. And those that "love" the system and what it offers hit one extreme where they ingore everything else good or better about other systems... while those that don't, well... they believe it to be the bane of all gaming.
Never have I seen a system where there really are very few points in between. Not even between the SNES and the Genesis, the first "console war" that really hit closer to a "mainstream" status with all the advertisement and such.
Here is my (somewhat neutral) opinion. None of the CORE gameplay mechanics in Dead Rising are unique. I mean, the actual moving, fighting, camera, etc. is stuff basic brawlers have done for years (albeit that is sort of a dead genre lately.) And the shooting mechanics are not only tired, but sort of next to worthless in that game.
What is unique, however, is the implementation. The world is essentially a massive infestation of zombies, you can't APPROACH the game like you would a typical brawler. I joke about this with my cousin, saying it almost has more similarities to a football game... have to make quick decisions on paths, split the defense, find the holes. But you know, a football game where if you do get stuck you can start killing your opponents. Or just do that from the start, if you like.
I guess I'm trying to say it becomes unique by being more than the sum of its parts. So I agree with both of you. And disagree with both of you. Now stop fighting, I'm right and everyone else is also right, but unlike me, also wrong... like always. Or something.
Hmm, but I don't think you need to manage time very well in Dead Rising, unless you want to get a lot of the bonus stuff. To just get through the game doesn't require time management at all, especially if you are avoiding zombies instead of slaughtering as many as possible in as many interesting ways as possible. Ok MAYBE the part where you need to get the medicine, but that is about it.
And I think to say fighting plays a very little role kind of ignores the fact that it is sort of built to be a huge zombie killing playground. They even keep a running count of your kills. It's probably POSSIBLE to get through the game without killing many zombies, just like it is POSSIBLE to play GTA focusing on the missions, but who actually does that? The real appeal comes from the sort of open-ended do whatever you want however you want feel to it. Actually that's why it is kind of tough for me to get excited about the sequel even though I absolutely loved the first, because to me the joy of the first was running around doing whatever. And I can't imagine they could expand upon that much beyond new weapons and such, though who knows.
Besides, there were certain parts later in the game where it actually got pretty tough to get around.
I'd still say the core gameplay mechanic is based around a brawler though. Albeit a more weapons-based brawler.
Well my cousin and I got to the end end and the only part I remember time being a real issue was getting the medicine from the supermarket (where we pretty much boned ourselves and had to restart.) And we goofed around a LOT. But we definitely didn't save everyone... I still consider that optional. Like collecting all of some doo-dad in some RPG that opens up some bonus boss or something. If you're going to save everyone then yes, time management is a huge thing. But saving everyone is optional.