Dead Rising is a series that I have always cherished. I used to enjoy Zombie games and Dead Rising with its hundreds of zombies in a game presented a technical accomplishment that was nothing short of outstanding during its time. The first game remains one of my most memorable experience with its unique mall setting calling back to the Dawn of the Dead movie. It was focused more on survival horror while giving the players an illusion of choice with the addition of survivors. It featured some great boss battles as well with the psychos in the mall.
Dead Rising 4 sees the series return back to the mall setting with open world added to the mix. The game might originate in the same Willamette Mall but something has changed. The mall doesn’t appear to offer the same experience as before and now Frank’s entire character is developed in a completely different way, focusing more on his photographic skills with a camera and the comedy it offers. The series had the best balance of comedy with series moments in the first Dead Rising and ever since then, I feel like the developers have lost idea about what makes the series so great instead focusing on outrageous gadgets and new ways to slay down the zombies.
Dead Rising 4 faced some criticism on its launch because it felt like a step back from what the series’ tradition. The timer element was completely removed while there were many changes to how the combat and enemy A.I was handled. There are videos out there showing how the original Dead Rising and even its sequel were more responsive and featured more attention to detail than Dead Rising 4, something which seems to have been specifically improved in time for the PS4 release. However, even if the developers have attempted to tackle a few of the technical issues, some of them still make their way to the game.
Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package comes with a set of improvements to the general gameplay and also features all of the post-launch DLC content that has been released for the game. Not only is there tons of content to go through this time around, Capcom has also added a new ‘Capcom Heroes’ mode which is a hilarious take on the game with focus on giving Frank powers of each of the Capcom classic characters. Frank will transform into Dante from Devil May Cry, Mega Man and Amaterasu from Okami to name a few. It is a nice throwback to classic Capcom games and a fun mode to fool around if you are bored of the single player.
The additional DLC content that is a part of the PS4 release also includes Frank Rising, which is really underwhelming DLC with an exciting concept but terrible execution. The story of the DLC is set after the end of the main game and features Frank in a zombie role, which means you will control and play as a Zombie Frank. You will be able to play as him in Capcom Heroes as well, but his gameplay in the DLC, even if unique, feels rather lackluster next to his human character. You have limited mobility and attacks and the enemy A.I doesn’t seem to scale well with the melee, leaving you struggling with a less polished version of the game.
Ignoring the DLC content, the main campaign of Dead Rising 4 can be surprisingly fun. It basically combines the best elements of Dead Rising 3 along with going back to the same setting as the original Dead Rising. It still gives you plenty of cool gadgets to make in order to kill a herd of zombies, which is ultimately where the fun originates for most part of the game. However, if you are looking for a story to enjoy here, you will be highly disappointed because it is easily the weakest game in the series in this aspect. I mean sure, Dead Rising 4 was never about its story, but I always enjoyed the mythology behind the zombie outbreak and found some of the characters well executed. The twists and turns in the story were always great to see, and I find it really lacking here.
Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package is an enjoyable experience, that can prove to be fun if you enjoy crafting the weapons and killing a large amount of zombies. However, it is the least polished game in the series and it shows even with the re-release on the PS4. It might not be as memorable as the past entries, but it is a solid entry in the franchise and I would love to see where the series goes from here.
Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Dead Rising 4 is an open world survival horror beat 'em up video game developed by Capcom Vancouver and published by Microsoft Studios for Xbox One, Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4. It is the fourth installment in the Dead Rising series. A PlayStation 4 version of the game, titled Dead Rising 4: Frank's Big Package, will be released on December 5, 2017.
Dead Rising 4: Frank's Big Package attempts to tackle some of the issues faced by the original release, but by and large, it is ultimately the same experience that is still enjoyable, but doesn't come closer to the height of the series.