Dead Rising 4 Review (Xbox One)

Dead Rising franchise is well known for its creative freedom over killing zombies and the latest entry in the series is no different. The best part of Dead Rising has always been the fun of killing a horde of zombies in the most creative ways and with the recently released Dead Rising 4, Capcom Vancouver have upped the ante and doubled down on this aspect.

While Dead Rising 4 is an extremely fun game, it attempts to simplify some of the aspects from the past games which were adored by the fans. One of this was the addition of a timer that was used to give the player a sense of urgency as they attempted to tackle down the horde of zombies while moving through the game’s story line. This timer feature was carefully implemented in Dead Rising 1 and 2, while it was unfortunately removed with the release of Dead Rising 3.

Dead Rising 4 attempts to get the attention of fans by bringing back Frank West, the protagonist of Dead Rising 1 and 2, back to the series. Frank West has ‘covered wars’ and uses his trustworthy camera to take screenshots, both of which were a common feature in the first two Dead Rising games. The return of Frank West has brought back these features to Dead Rising 4 where the players will even have the opportunity to take selfies next to the rotting zombies, often resulting in some hilarious photos.

Dead Rising 4 will feature a famililar location, the Willamette Mall, that was prominently featured in the first game. For this sequel, the mall has been improved and expanded considerably and the story takes the focus here during a black friday shopping spree, which results in a zombie outbreak. While Dead Rising 4 offers a story just like the past games, it is easily the weakest aspect considering how lackluster it feels, and how it fails to provide anything substantial in term of stroytelling.

While the story takes the backseat here, the gameplay is what truly shines giving the players an ample amount of time in a fun sandbox environment to experiment around and discover secrets that are scattered throughout the world map. The removal of the series’ iconic timer that used to provide incentives for the player to complete the game and its objective as soon as they can, doesn’t really dampen the overall experience. If you are playing Dead Rising for story, then you are doing it wrong.

The open world featured in Dead Rising 4 combines the best of both worlds, the mall from Dead Rising 1 and the open city from Dead Rising 3. This results in an experience that will satisfy both the new and the returning fans. The removal of the timer and the introduction of checkpoints might be welcomed by those who were frustrated with the manual saving and strict timing conditions of the past games, but it is something that should have been designed for a hardcore difficulty settings, while it is completed removed from the base game here.

Dead Rising franchise is also known for its boss fights, majority of whom are usually done with maniacs with some crazy weapons or personality that makes battle with them more fun, but sadly they appear to be disappointing for this latest entry. The boss fights just lack the charisma and the threat that we saw in the previous Dead Rising games, which is a shame to say the least as the new gameplay mechanics really make the fight a lot more fun.

If you loved the open world aspect of Dead Rising 4 and don’t mind the removal of timer, then you will definitely have a good time with this latest game. There are a lot of secrets to discover as the blueprints required to create some of the crazy weapons are scattered throughout the world map. The player will also have the freedom to create and customize vehicles from blueprints that can be used to increase the zombie kill count.

At one glance, the game might appear more of the same and this is true to some extent, however the developers have tried to introduce something new with the Exo Suits. These offer the player an improved form of travel but are limited by their battery usage. The Exo Suits will give infinite stamina once equipped and provide a huge boost to the player’s power, letting them grab and smash zombies or other objects as they see fit. It is a fun little distraction from combining weapons to create something of our own, but it doesn’t really feel like a feature that stands on its own.

It is clear after playing Dead Rising 4 that the franchise has started to grow stale after the last couple of entries. If Capcom has to keep the series relevant, then they need to start thinking of ways to keep it fresh. Simply rehashing the same ideas won’t work out for long, but as it stands, Dead Rising 4 is a fun entry that plays it too safe, but does offer possibilities for experimentation in further sequels.

Dead Rising 4 is available now for the Xbox One and Windows 10. It was developed by Capcom Vancouver and published by Capcom. This review covers the Xbox One version of the game.

Dead Rising 4 Review (Xbox One)

Summary

Dead Rising 4 is an improvement over its predecessor, unfortunately it also strips down some of the fan favorite features from the past games, making it noticeably worse in execution.

8/10