By Sam Coles:
The Dead Rising series is something I like, but not necessarily love as I like the idea of decking zombies with any object that isn’t nailed to the ground, but the games I have played are plagued with flawed and clunky controls. To my surprise Dead Rising 4 is a fun experience and it controls very well, but its shelf life is hampered by a Christmas theme, now I know what you’re thinking “Batman Arkham Origins is Christmas themed”. Yes that is true but it’s not really the focus, Dead Rising 4 takes the theme and pushes it in your face like your annoying little brother who won’t shut up about the festive season.
Dead Rising 4 puts you back into the journalistic shoes of Frank West where he is tricked by his student into revisiting the source of the first infection, which happened over a decade ago, yes it has been that long since the release of the first game. They have found out that a PMC have created a new strain of the virus that can get around the vaccine that has combat the current zombie virus, one thing leads to another and chaos ensues. The story is a strange one because it’s well performed, but it doesn’t stick to one tone where it is rather serious in one scene, where it then turns goofy and Frank starts acting like an infuriating idiot.
The gameplay is different, well when I say different it’s because I haven’t played a Dead Rising game since 2010 because A. I didn’t have an Xbox One with the advent of the third game and B. It looked too grey and brown for a Dead Rising game. The gameplay in general left me smiling and frowning at the same time, let’s call it “smilowning”. Anyway let’s talk about the gameplay, like other entries you can still roam around an open area and deck any zombie in the nearby vicinity with any weapon of your choosing, whether it be a typical blade or if you’re an idiot you hit them in the head with a stuffed bear. You have an open season in terms of what you want to use on the undead, not only that with the pre-mentioned useless items they can be combined to create weapons of mass destruction.
Here is the part that the game left me, as I coined it “smilowning” the crafting! Now I’m not saying the system itself is bad, not at all as I love strapping fireworks to a crossbow and shooting it into a crowd of zombies and watching it explode. What I don’t like is that you can craft combo weapons on the fly which in my opinion sucks all tension and exploration out of the game because you no longer have to seek salvage in the form of a work bench.
Another aspect that they have brought back from the original game is camera mechanic, how this works is that you can take photos which will gain you extra XP rewards, depending on how horrific or brutal your photos are. Like any other game with a camera mechanic these days, the devs seem to think everyone wants to take a selfie, which looks rather sad with Frank West who a middle aged man by this point taking a selfie like someone in his teens or early twenties.
Visually the game is decent, character models look great with decent details and fantastic lip syncing that is spot on. The environments are rather bland, considering the festive setting it is rather subdue, with grey outdoor areas. The game runs rather well, yes only at 30 frames per second (for the most part), but honestly that does not bother me as I understand considering the amount of explosions and zombies there are on the screen.
Overall Dead Rising 4 is an okay game, nothing mind blowing, but it will kill some time from cradle to grave, so if you’re looking for some mindless action I would say give this a go. If you’re a PS4 owner it is now available on that system in the form of the not so subtle phallic joke, Frank’s Big Package.