Like many fans of the original two Dead Rising games, I was simultaneously excited and concerned when I saw the debut of its third installment at E3. It looked impressive, but the silly spirit of its predecessors seemed to be subdued. I felt better once our crew came back from Gamescom and reported that the Capcom series was still goofy as hell, but didn’t feel fully confident until I played it at a recent Xbox One event. Now that I’ve spent some time with the game, it seems that it’ll be a standout of the launch lineup.

Many of the complaints about the original games revolved around frustratingly restrictive systems for saving and other necessary mechanics. The first game’s save system was horrible and the sequel’s combo system constantly required players to seek out work benches. Both issues are remedied in Dead Rising 3, as both saving and combining items can be done on the fly. Saving is a basic pause menu command, and combos are performed with a couple quick button presses in the item menu. With these two additions alone, Dead Rising 3 is instantly more enjoyable and accessible than its restrictive predecessors.

Playing as mechanic Nick Ramos, my objective was to break into a crematorium in an effort to get Zombrex medication. I had been bitten in a cutscene, and the clock was ticking until I presumably turned into one of the undead masses. As I searched for some wheels to get me there quicker, I had a chance to see the new vehicle combo system in action. Combining a motorcycle and a steamroller gave me the RollerHawg, a patriotic contraption that essentially adds a steamroller’s front to a motorcycle’s rear. It was a blast to speed down the street, mowing down hundreds of zombies.

After I hopped off, it didn’t take me long to put together my next insane contraption. Several items laid at my feet: a dragon mask, an umbrella, a katana, and fireworks. Each item comboed into the next to make my get-up even more ridiculous, until I wound up with the Ultimate MechaDragon combination. With umbrella wings, a fire-spewing dragon head, blades coming out of my hands, and explosives shooting out of my body, I resembled the world’s most confused, insane, and dangerous zombie killing machine. It was easy to ignore my objective for a while as I sprinted around and murdered more of the horde.

I eventually began following the objective marker again, and ran into a large fellow named Gary. He said he knew where the Zombrex was in the crematorium, and he’d point it out if I helped him get in. After I climbed in and let him through the front door, he taught me about the returning queen bee mechanic that destroys any zombie in a certain radius. His tip was the end of his usefulness, as his supposed knowledge of the Zombrex proved to be false. Luckily, Nick’s wound began healing itself for mysterious reasons.

With my wound seemingly a non-issue, I was free to go back to reckless slaughter outside the crematorium. I spent my last moments with the demo experimenting with new combos and weapons, and had a lot of fun. I combined a motorcycle engine and a boxing glove to form the Dragon Punch, a motorized accessory that allowed me to perform the classic Street Fighter II move (complete with “Shoryuken!” sound effect). I went to my clothing locker and donned a giant shark suit. I used a real-life cell phone to call in drone strikes via the game’s SmartGlass integration. Basically, I just ran around and enjoyed myself. Previous games in the series have been good for this, but there was always some issue that kept me from really letting loose and having fun the way this third entry allows me to. Thanks to my hands-on time with the game, Dead Rising 3 is now one of my most-anticipated Xbox One titles.