It’s the 10th Anniversary of the first installment of Dead Rising, and what better way to celebrate than to have the original game’s protagonist, Frank West, return to where it all started: Willamette, Colorado. I have played and loved every Dead Rising game. Sure they have had their issues but they are bloody good fun. Zombies, government conspiracies, a cast of crazy characters, and TONS of weapons, clothing, and vehicles. All of those and more are back in Dead Rising 4.
Set 16 years after the events of the first Dead Rising, Dead Rising 4 puts you back in the thick of things as Frank West. Everyone’s favorite wise-cracking war journalist. This time he is accompanied by his protege Vick Chu, a young intern who is just as thirsty to get a scoop on a story as Frank is. The major difference between Vick and Frank is that Vick wants to help people, Frank just wants to report. Thanks to some trickery and shenanigans Frank finds himself back in Willamette against his will. The story gets deep and complex and I don’t want to spoil it for you because there are some great things that are happening. Let’s just say that it was mandatory that everyone got the Zombrex vaccine to prevent another zombie outbreak, and somehow another zombie outbreak has happened.
A major standout for me in Dead Rising 4 is the writing and dialogue. I mean the very beginning of the game has Frank literally fighting the ghosts of his past. The characters are your usual brand of crazy and Frank is right there with them. My favorite piece of dialogue happens early in the game after Frank kills a zombie. When asked if he’s okay he responds – “My therapist calls it progress”. I like this line for a number of reasons, but mainly it shows how not well Frank has been doing since the events of Dead Rising.
Dead Rising 4 builds on what made the previous games great while adding some new fresh changes. The biggest being is now the timer is gone. That’s right. No more 3 day timer. I can’t tell you how happy I was with this new change. I no longer had the stress of who to save, who to let die, or what mission to finish in the allotted time given. Frank has his trusty camera so you can take a lot of pictures of the mayhem that is caused (even if some of it was caused by you). His camera also has a few new shooting modes: Night Vision – So you can see in the dark and Spectrum Analyzer – a mode that allows you to see heat sources, drivable vehicles, and more. Both modes are introduced really well and are used quite often in the game. They don’t feel tacked on or forced upon you. Let’s not forget the other new awesomeness included in the camera – SELFIES. That’s right. Selfies. I MAY have been using this feature quite a bit.
Not only do you return to the mall in Willamette, you get to explore the town of Willamette itself. It’s a large town with a lot to explore. You will find yourself getting lost in both the mall and the town searching high and low for items and never realize it. I think I played about 3 hours just exploring before realizing I hadn’t even started a new chapter in the game. That’s not a bad thing. There are references to other Capcom games as well as nods to the previous Dead Rising installments. I found a pair of mechanic’s clothing that looked an AWFUL lot like they belong to Dead Rising 3’s Nick Ramos and I wore them for most of my playthrough.
Graphically the game suffers but not in the way you would expect. I could have hundreds of zombies on screen at once and never see a dip in frame rate. What I did notice was flickering textures, weapons spawning in mid-air, and zombies getting stuck in environmental hazards. Other than that the game looks fine. Cutscenes look great, locations range from bright and colorful to drab and depressing. It’s not the prettiest game on Xbox One, but it is impressive considering how many things are on screen at once.
The game controls great. Vehicles drive smoothly and the new Exo-Suit is a blast to use. Selecting between, thrown – melee – ranged weapons takes a little getting used to at first but shortly after that you’ll be switching out weapons like a pro.
If you a fan of Dead Rising series you don’t want to skip this chapter. Capcom has brought back the feel of the original Dead Rising and kept it fresh and enjoyable. In the craziness that has been 2016, Dead Rising 4 is a great way to spend the holidays… killing zombies and blowing stuff up!