Dead Rising has always been an oddball series, mixing in semi-serious takes on consumerism with absurdist humour and some downright disturbing moments. It may not have be the most polished or popular series, but it's always had a distinctive identity despite its moments of clunkiness and frustration. Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package, however, ditches many of the series’ stalwart mechanics, and while it’s arguably a more enjoyable game for it, fans of the franchise will feel left behind.
The headline change, of course, is that the property’s infamous timer has been removed, allowing you as much time as you want to explore the re-zombified town of Willamette, Colorado - giant shopping centre and all. While it’s detrimental to Dead Rising 4’s character, we can’t help but admit that the lack of a time constraint allows for a far more fun experience without the threat of failing and going back to square one constantly breathing down your neck. It certainly allows you plenty more time to scour the world for blueprints and secrets, allowing you to try and test the game’s vast array of weird and wonderful weapons as you please, but again, it’s a move that some series fans won’t appreciate.
Said weapons fall in line with the series’ usual fare - which is no bad thing. The Blast from the Past, a sledgehammer with grenades attached, packs a real explosive punch, while the Fish Launcher shoots out swordfish, allowing for some gruesome kills. Capcom takes full advantage of Dead Rising 4’s seasonal setting in terms of armaments too: the Nut Blaster (nice) takes the form of a wearable nutcracker helmet that shoots bullets, and the Electric Wreath can be placed on zombies’ heads in order to shock an entire crowd of the buggers at once. While lacking in character in many respects, the festive backdrop helps the game recoup a sense of identity and is a nice touch.
Of course, chief among the new weapons is the new Exo Suit, found in various places around Willamette, and boy does it pack a punch. The suit feels weighty, and each punch sends zombies flying for miles. As well as being able to grab giant swords and chainguns, Frank can also use objects to modify the suit: grab onto a slushy machine, for example, and you'll be able to shoot ice blasts to freeze enemies before smashing them to pieces.
Gunplay is much tighter this time around: aiming feels a lot more responsive, meaning that the huge lineup of base and combo guns are a viable option for taking down the undead. In fact, combat in general is the series’ best yet thanks to the sheer amount of zombies on screen. It’s insane how so many things can be displayed at once yet the game almost never drops a frame, and while Dead Rising 4 isn’t the best looking title out there, the bright, punchy effects of weapons such as the firework-shooting Blambow coupled with an abundance of zombie guts can lead to some excellent looking moments. Using each weapon’s special move - activated after getting a certain amount of kills in succession - can clear out entire crowds of the undead, and often looks as good as it feels.
The game's campaign provides plenty of opportunities to do this, and some of the set-pieces are seriously impressive - the ending boss battle in particular makes great use of the exo suit, and there are loads of moments were zombies swarm the screen, allowing you to get huge combos. There are showdown with Obscuris mercenaries, hostile survivors, and new types of undead, with each type being switched around enough to keep things interesting. A big portion of the campaign is spent gathering clues with Frank’s camera, however, and while it is nice that the game slows down every now and then, the combat is so fun that you'll be raring to get back to it.
The story is more bog-standard fare, however, with Frank being forced to go back to Willamette after another outbreak happens on Black Friday 2021. While the characters that Frank interacts with aren't too interesting, Frank himself is consistently funny throughout - something that may grind the gears of series fans, as new voice actor Ty Olsson is noticeably different to previous incarnations of the journalist. Still, Frank’s new personality goes in hand with the game's new, sillier tone, and while it's a marked departure from previous games, we can't deny that it sure is entertaining.
The only really disappointing thing about Dead Rising 4, then, is that its boss fights are much more generic. Previous games in the series have focused on the broken humans that the apocalypse has affected as much as the apocalypse itself, but the Maniacs in this incarnation aren't particularly interesting. In previous games we had a psychopathic clown dual-wielding chainsaws, a Vietnam vet suffering from PTSD, and an overprotective store owner. In Dead Rising 4 there's a guy dressed up as Santa who wants to kill Frank, a guy dressed up as a pirate who wants to kill Frank, and a guy dressed up as a scarecrow who wants to kill Frank. There's a lack of character to any of them, and they just seem like lazy add-ons.
But apart from that, Dead Rising 4 is a game that'll not only keep you entertained, but keep you entertained for a long time. The amount of content in Frank’s Big Package makes for excellent value. Aside from the main game and the multiplayer (which sadly is only made up of timed co-op missions and not free-roaming) there's Super Ultra Dead Rising 4 Mini Golf, a fun multiplayer golf mode with some twists on standard mini-golf, and the Frank Rising story DLC, which adds a new gameplay style and concludes Frank’s character arc - though it is relatively short. Last, and definitely best, is the Capcom Heroes DLC, a revamped campaign that eschews weapons in favour of 16 Capcom character-themed costumes - Ryu, Mega Man, and the rest - that each have their own abilities. It's a really fun way to journey through Willamette again, although it would've been nice to have the option to use these costumes in the base campaign, too.
Though Dead Rising 4: Frank's Big Package has noticeably distanced itself from its predecessors - a move likely to alienate series fans - Capcom's latest is still a damn fun game that doesn't take itself too seriously. Its Christmas setting benefits the game's character as a whole, and the wacky weapons and great gunplay, coupled with the new exo suit, ensure that combat is as punchy and enjoyable as ever, and while there is a feeling that it lacks identity, it certainly doesn't lack comedy. Frank West has risen again, and while he isn't as recognisable as his former self, he's been revamped in style.
Definitely one of my surprise hits for 2017. If anyone has any questions, ask away!
Finally, they ditched this stupid timer. I loved DR1 to some degree on, but the time pressure always put me off. Never came back to the series only because of that.
@Anchorsam_9 Good review by the way
Yeah, I hated the bloody timer. I always wasnted to explore and comb at my own pace and constantly being rushed made me feel like I was missing stuff. Thank God they've done away with it, as I may even give this one a go...
hated the timer ruined the games for me
yes great game word up son
The timer sucked so this sounds more fun. Have a feeling I would need to wait for a price drop though for me to get into it.
I bloody love the name they've gone with.
As for the timer, seems good. Although, you'd think there could just be a way to enable and disable it to please everybody, no?
Is this the best version of the game? All DLC included?
I still feel burned by Rise of the Tomb Raider, we were supposed to get the best version of the game. Then they added HDR to the Xbox version and double-crossed us.
Dead Rising always has a special place in my heart.
Except for the second game.
@SMKpaladin Thanks! Yeah, as much as it might disappoint fans, I definitely think that the removal of the timer makes it much more enjoyable.
@kyleforrester87 The title definitely reflects the new tone of the game. As for the timer, I think it'd be hard to rework into the game because, in previous games, there was a reason for the timer - in DR1, Frank would get rescued in 3 days, and in both DR2 and 3 the military would bomb the city after a certain amount of time - and the game was designed around a timer: certain missions would appear at certain times. A more basic version could probably be added, but it wouldn't be like the previous games.
@GamerDad66 Yep, all DLC (including the smaller bits) is included.
I downloaded it this morning only to find out that dr4 doesnt have co-op story. Instead theyve gone with a multiplayer mode with 4 episodes containing different objectives.
I saw some videos and this game seems like a serious downgrade from DR2.
The only think I hate about DR2 is the timer uuuurgh
I wholeheartedly disagree with this review. This game is a massive step back from every Deadrising game released in every conceivable way.
And yeah, I did like the timers in the first three games. It made the games a lot more tense and frantic, and without them this game is just incredibly boring.
will probably get it on the inevitable christmas sale.
@JoeBlogs It absolutely is a step back in graphics from the 3rd game, and in some respect the other games as well. It's easy to see that this game was put together in a year, and there is quite a bit of proof to support this. The game probably changed a lot since then, but it wouldn't have changed enough.
I did mean every conceivable way. Instead of assuming I'm wrong; try and prove me wrong.
apart from driving and sport games timing realy spoils some titles i mean a games should be fun to play but after 10 or more failed attempts and swearing at the screen got to many games to play so in the end the ones with timings that are insane never get finished
@JoeBlogs In regards to the first two games and Off the Record, maybe a little. But compared to Deadrising 3 it is pretty massive I'd say.
I mean the thing is I did exaggerate a little, but as far as me saying it was a massive step back in every regard I think I have enough evidence and experience with the franchise to justify my stance, and the flaws and inferiorities with this game compared to every other game make these issues all the more glaring.
That's my opinion though, but as I've said I have evidence to support it.
@Constable_What whoever is arguing against you needs to watch that comparison video! Holy cow
@Gmork___ Deadrising 4 was a massive disappointment for me. I was a huge fan of the series ever since the first Deadrising I loved those games to bits and end enjoyed every little morsel I was able to get out of it! I proverbially sucked the marrow out of the first game!
Deadrising has always been a series that you'd play, but whether or not you've beaten (get the true ending) the game was completely up to how much you were willing to work at it. It was released at a time when you would get a game and you weren't sure whether or not you could beat it.
I'm a firm believer that a purchase of a game does not and should not entitle you to beating the game or getting the true ending of said game. Maybe I'm just old school like that, but I always found satisfaction in coming back to a game that I don't know if I can complete compared to a game that I know I can. The games where I'm expected to complete them often times I lose interest in them, because I already have it in my head as "Yeah this game is easily beaten if I put in the time" to "I need to pay attention or may not be able to beat the game this time or I'll lose a lot of progress if I forget to save."
All in all in an age where the game deserves the blame more than the player (Battlefront 2, Destiny, ect) I find it refreshing when I get the opportunity to blame myself for a mistake that I made. I feel like I don't get to do that as much, and the complacency I feel makes me sad...
And yeah that comparison video is just incredible. There are a lot of ones like that on YouTube, but that one is one of the better ones. There is a whole controversy about the game, but the fans are the people who were the most slighted, so it flew under the radar.
I have it on Xbox One, but I haven’t beaten it yet. It kinda hard for me to get back on the Box since I play the PS4 so much. I just might get this on PS4.
Could you please elaborate on the co op missions? Are those for online or splitscreen? How many there are? Do they have replay value?
It looks fun, but Capcom took their time to release the game on PS4, so no problem for them to wait for the money as well.
I for one hated the timer in the previous games. Best thing they could’ve done was remove it so you can explore with freedom. I’m having an absolute blast with this game. Loads of fun for all us zombie slayers!! 👍
@sinalefa The 6 multiplayer missions are 4-player online co-op (although you can play them by yourself, but I wouldn't recommend it) but they're not nearly as fun as the single-player. You can also play Super Ultra Dead Rising 4 Mini Golf online or split screen, and to be honest it's more fun than the co-op missions.
Looks really fun I just hope it runs at a stable frame-rate with hardely any glitches.
Thank you. Maybe if the missions were splitscreen I would get it.
I've been playing this all day since my copy arrived in the mail this morning and I'm absolutely loving it. I know some people are unhappy about the changes like removing the timer and I can understand that, but personally I don't miss it.
I'm honestly surprised by the score, thought it'd be lower.
Will pick this up during BF 2018 sale when it's $25 New or cheaper.
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