Frank West is back for the latest installment in Capcom’s popular Dead Rising franchise. The wisecracks, hilarity, and endless supply of zombies are still there, but the question remains if Dead Rising 4 lives up to the franchise’s name or merely drags it through the mud, again. A big deal was made of this game at E3, with Frank West even appearing in person at E3 (!) and our impressions from our short demo of the game were promising. The question remains though, did we find that it lived up to this promise in our Dead Rising 4 review?
Dead Rising 4 Review — Story
Dead Rising 4 is a breath of fresh air in the survival horror genre. The game doesn’t take its self too seriously, as evidenced by the main character Frank West, who is sarcastic, cocky, and constantly making hilarious wisecracks. The story takes place 16 years after the original zombie outbreak at Williamette, bringing the story full circle. Frank is now a renowned journalist for his coverage of the outbreak, but when he attempted to expose those responsible, he was shut down. Everything is about getting the story and Frank has some unresolved issues pertaining to this point. Now a professor, Frank teams up with his protégée Vick to get to the bottom of what is going on in Williamette, Colorado.
The Christmas theme is a nice touch, especially with its December release. The fact that the outbreak took place on Black Friday makes it all the more hilarious. There’s a hidden depth to the story though and a true mystery at hand which balances out the witty banter and ridiculousness of aspects of the story. The humor is a nice change of pace though for a zombie-centric game, contrasting nicely to The Walking Dead which is so grim.
Dead Rising 4 Review — Gameplay
The most satisfying part of Dead Rising 4 is taking on a horde of zombies and mowing them down. There are so many different weapons that you can wield/pick up, with three categories: melee, thrown, and ranged. Each has their own strengths and some of the weapons are ridiculous, in a good way, going along with the general theme of the game. There are also vehicles you can use to plow through zombies. The game is very much a hack-and-slash title, but when fighting against hordes of zombies, that is not a bad thing. To put it simply, the game is a ton of fun.
What I found most enjoyable was finding a spot with a ton of zombies laying in wait, throwing a Molotov cocktail, and then making my way through with a blaze sword and wiping them all out. It’s just cool. There are some minor glitches in the game, like zombies being stuck inside of counters and whatnot, but this is so minimal that to me it doesn’t really hold much significance. What’s also really awesome is that everyone’s experience while playing the game will be different because everyone has different styles of play and strategies. There are so many weapons to choose from.
There is also a basic skill tree where you can upgrade Frank’s abilities, such as his brawling, fortitude, shooting, and survival skills with skill points. It is rather basic, but, it works along with the leveling system. As Frank is an investigative journalist, he has a knack for taking pictures, and this is a lot of fun. There is a detective aspect to this and Frank’s camera is like something out of Batman when investigating a scene. Taking selfies with hordes of zombies in the background with Frank’s cheesy smile is priceless.
The game also has an open-world aspect complete with a map, giving the player more freedom than previous titles.
Dead Rising 4 Review — Atmosphere/Visuals and Multiplayer
One of the places where Dead Rising 4 really shines is in its atmosphere. It takes place during the holidays. The music is festive and eerily vibes well, ironically, with the grotesqueness of bashing in the brains of thousands of zombies. There’s a kind of humor to it, that again, is really the heart of the game. The town of Williamette is lit up with Christmas decorations and is beautiful, minus the zombie infestation. The game looks great and the re-imagined Williamette is everything fans could ask for and more. The fact that a good portion of it takes place in a shopping mall is so fitting, filled with holiday cheer. It is the perfect holiday game, literally.
There is also a multiplayer mode. The game is really a single-player experience, but the multiplayer mode is a nice touch. It allows you to play with three friends in a co-op mode outside of the main story and complete objectives. While it may be a disappointment there is no co-op campaign, the multiplayer doesn’t feel forced and is executed well.
Dead Rising 4 Review — Going Back to the Beginning
Dead Rising 4 really does go back to the series’ roots. It’s not a perfect game, but it’s a really fun game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. As fun is something that Video Game Culture HQ values a great deal, we thoroughly enjoyed this game. The atmosphere and setting of the game is so fitting considering its holiday release, and it contrasts nicely to the ridiculousness of the whole thing. The game is a breath of fresh air in the zombie genre. It brings the series full circle, and as Darth Vader once said, “The circle is now complete.”
This couldn’t be more true in this case.
Thank you to Microsoft Studios for providing Video Game Culture HQ a review copy of Dead Rising 4.