Dead Rising 4 Review – Trimming the Fat
The release of Dead Rising 4 marks a decade of commitment to the rowdy open-world franchise which has always tiptoed in the horror genre and mainly provided arrays to vent fury against the living dead.
With each new installment in the past, Dead Rising expanded its offerings and convinced us of its growth. The settings of zombie outbreaks were changed, new protagonists brought in, the armory fattened, vehicles parked for use, mission types changed, and more.
However, the core gameplay and attraction of the Dead Rising brand has always revolved around two aspects: finding/crafting ridiculous weapons and taking out as many zombies in little time as possible.
Dead Rising 4 sticks to the same principles that have proved to be an invaluable source of entertainment over the years, while taking several steps back to ensure a friendly welcome for new would-be zombie hunters.
Dead Rising 4 revisits the fictional town of Willamette, Colorado from the first game, taking place a year after the events of Dead Rising 3. Photojournalist and part-time Walking Dead fan Frank West also returns to fill the shoes of the game’s protagonist.
Willamette is tragically once again overwhelmed by the undead, only now it appears that the local populace is no longer immune to the disease. Hence, begins another adventure for West as he attempts to mow down infected hordes and uncover answers to what happened to the town.
Despite the focus on zombie massacres, the storytelling of Dead Rising 4 is surprisingly on point. Previous installments have too tried their best in constructing believable characters and giving meaning to their existence in the game. Dead Rising 4 does this remarkably better.
The carefree and humorous demeanor of West, his stubborn and naive pupil Vick, as well as various other characters you’ll cross paths with, ensure that the story of Dead Rising 4 is at least mildly entertaining.
The tone switches back and forth between humor and seriousness, but seldom reeks of a desperate attempt to keep the player’s attention. West doesn’t let go of any opportunity to pass witty remarks or crack jokes at someone’s expense. His multitasking trait to sing songs while slaying is something to behold.
You’ll not always like him but his presence makes for a core gear in the overall design. Together with the game’s silliness, meaningful action, and jaunty music, Dead Rising 4 promises a memorable world.
A significant change for Dead Rising 4 comes in the form of simplicity. Capcom Vancouver decided to strip the game off several elements to ensure that newcomers didn’t find the gameplay overly complicated. The decision has led to a divide in Dead Rising followers, with the more veteran class left disappointed.
In short, Dead Rising 4 offers little challenge or depth throughout its entire progression. The unavailability of a higher difficulty level makes it apparent what the developer was thinking when working on the game.
You’ll rarely find yourself sweating in front of a zombie horde, and seldom will there be situations where West is low on health, weapons, or escape routes. Separate inventories disregard any worries for resource management and you’ll often be hoarding items that rarely come into play.
Continuing with the level of ease, even the new boss battles can be breezed through. The new zombies, dubbed Evo, do require a bit of work to deal with, but encountering them is not that common.
It all comes down to perspective and what you’re expecting from Dead Rising 4. If it’s the sense of urgency from the previous games, you’re likely to be disappointed. If it’s a fun time you seek, Dead Rising 4 is all willing.
That being said, little extra mechanical depth could have resulted in a more rewarding and satisfying experience.
As strange as it may be, Capcom Vancouver removed timers from the game in its bit to reduce intense scenarios only to bring them back through paid downloadable content. The clock was a major part of every Dead Rising mission in the past. On the plus side, the removal of timers does encourage players to freely explore the game’s world.
Dead Rising 4 is also the shortest game in the series, without any multiple endings. The story campaign can be finished within seven hours, leaving you to keep finding new ways of racking up kills.
The undead slaughter-fest was a great concept with the debut of the first game. After a decade, the same formula regarding the routine combat has begun to stale. The only excitement to be found is discovering new weapon-combinations and perhaps, secrets in the open-world. Even then, you should expect monotony to settle in.
If you’re interested in an open-world chaotic title with zombie elements, look no further from Dying Light. However, if you’re into shooting snow cones at zombies or wearing an Exo suit to send the living dead into oblivion, Dead Rising 4 will not disappoint.