The Dead Rising series has always contained a set of mechanics that we expect from the games. You play as a man who goes from insane, to mentally ill at times with his quirky remarks, and ability to dress up like a game character. There are hundreds of crazy weapons to build using the objects you find around the game, and there are zombies, hundred of zombies. Dead Rising 4 brings all of those featured back, in what feels like a polished-up version of Dead Rising 3. Frank West has taken his place back in Dead Rising 4 after skipping Dead Rising 3. Dead Rising 4’s new setting for its location makes for a great, and lengthily campaign, that does not feel all over the place. Dead Rising 4 is one of the better Dead Rising entries in the series.
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Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Reviewed On: Xbox One
Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Distributor: Prima Interactive
Release Date: 6 December 2016
Dead Rising 4 starts out very differently to its predecessors. Frank West is investigating a tip-off he has got from a journalist named Vick. She is investigating the possibility of strange human experiments taking place by a secret organization called Obscuris. Frank and Vick head into the secret laboratory to investigate the reports. Upon arrival, they discover that although the zombie cure has been found, Obscuris are experimenting on zombies, and creating what seems to be the “super zombie”, a faster, deadlier version.
After being caught and fleeing the area, Frank goes into hiding, and escapes the area leaving him behind. Three months later Frank gets sent to investigate the small town of Willamette. A zombie outbreak has taken place on the night of Black Friday, and now everyone in the town has been turned into a zombie, give or take a few survivors here and there. Frank crash lands into the biggest mall in America, and his bloody adventure begins as he starts the search for the cause of the outbreak, and his frienemy who abandoned him back at the research lab.
In short Dead Rising 4’s story really goes nowhere from there. The intro lays down a few foundations for character development, but it is overshadowed by the game’s comical narrative. You can never truly feel for any of the characters you meet, or Frank, as they become the lesser focus. While we were exploring the town of Willamette, the supporting cast, and survivors we met, were forgettable. This is probably due to the lack of focus on them, as Dead Rising 4’s locations and great combat become our must do while playing the game. Searching areas for new items to combine into something awesome, often got us side-tracked and wondering off into the distance. Dead Rising 4’s iconic weapon and vehicle creation are the best it has ever been, and there is more than enough to chew on here. Weapons are now divided into three tabs, being throwable, melee, and ranged attack. This means that we could hold more weapons than any other Dead Rising before, and switch to them when the time came.
The weapons and gadgets are endless in Dead Rising 4, and once you have found a blueprint, then they are there for you to build whenever you have the right items. In total, there are over 50 weapons and vehicles you can learn to make in Dead Rising 4 that will make walking through the town a blood fest.
Leveling up for skill points is very quick, seeing as there are always zombies around, and always some helpless survivor to save that acts as a side mission, there is enough XP to go around. The locations are also very interesting and diverse, so much so that we spent more time exploring than doing anything else. The mall is beautiful, in a post-apocalyptic sort of way, and the surrounding areas of the town offer enough freedom to keep you busy. There are plenty of collectibles to find, and photos to take that give you XP depending on the shot you take. When not exploring in Dead Rising 4, we were saving survivors and sending them back to our safe house to upgrade the overall level of the structure. The higher the level, the better guns and gear were sold by the survivors we saved. It was nice to buy combo weapons we did not know how to make yet, and the clothes we could put on offered individuality. There was really nothing like Frank walking around in a summer skirt with Sir Camelot’s helmet on, while smashing up zombies.
The new exo-suits in Dead Rising 4 offer great ways to kill zombies too. These robotic wears we could buy, let us walk around for a brief time carrying larger objects like a Christmas tree, and stop sign with concrete stuck to it on the bottom from where we pulled it out the ground. We could then use these as weapons. It was a new take on the combat, and when we felt like messing around, we made sure to use and abuse the suit. Sad thing though, is that it only lasts for a set amount of time, and we just wanted it to be a little longer.
Our biggest issue with the past Dead Rising games, was the time feature that limited each mission to a set amount of time. This meant that we always had to watch the clock or else a mission we undertook would run out of time and we would fail. We are so happy Dead Rising 4 has no time feature at all. This meant we could spend as much time as we wanted doing whatever we wanted without being limited. For a game with so much fun to be had in the combat and exploration, it was about time Capcom got rid of that mechanic.
Then we have the co-op in Dead Rising 4, which is a nice take on the series, but unfortunately, it is a missed opportunity. The co-op in Dead Rising 4 is not campaign based, rather it takes place outside the main game. You and three friends would team up to take on a mission, rack up points, and ultimately kill a ton of zombies and a boss at the end. Although the missions we tried were fun, we would have loved to have our friends join in on our campaign together and play the entire experience together. Let us hope that Capcom hear our prayers for the next game and do so. The gameplay just suits co-op, and it was a missed opportunity in Dead Rising 4. Still, Dead Rising 4 in general, is very enjoyable, and the enemies, dozens of new weapons, and the locations you will visit, will keep you busy for hours on end.
Dead Rising 4 is a Dead Rising game at its core, and everything we love about the series is better than ever. No more time restrictions and the new exo-suit is pretty cool. Besides the co-op being a hit and miss, there is very little we can complain about. The zombies are in their hundreds, and you can kill them with just about anything.