- Developer: Capcom Vancouver
- Publishers: Capcom, Microsoft Studios
- Genre: Survival Horror, Action-Adventure
- Release Date: 6th December 2016
- Platforms: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
- Game Supplied by: Xbox
Zombies, selfies, ridiculous costumes and crazy weapons, Dead Rising is back!
Single Player (R0ckM0nster)
I was a big fan of Dead Rising 3, the crazy weapons, combining vehicles in truly outrageous styles, and I spent hours discovering all the blueprints, making all the weapons and generally causing as much havoc as I could! At the time I was blown away by how many zombies they could have roaming around on the screen at any one time, even with a bit of back-end magic they made it looks as though thousands of undead were roaming the streets before you.
Time passed since then and I got caught up in so many other games that I almost forgot those happy times. Then I heard they’re making a Dead Rising 4 the itch to make the biggest, baddest zombie-slaying bomb quickly came back! I was looking forward to finding what monstrous devices I’d be able to create this time around!
So I fired up the game and blasted through the first few levels. I will admit, I was not a fan of the first two Dead Rising games, so I was not particularly familiar with Frank but soon discovered he’s a bit of a dick. But not to worry, I simply dressed him up like Justin Bieber watched him get eaten alive a few times! So as you might know there’s a cure for zombies, well, a preventative drug, and another drug called Zombrex which will suppress zombification from happening. As it’s ultimately just a virus, one strain has been contained but in DR4 it’s a new strain. One which people aren’t immune to, and as we soon realise, is far worse than the original. There is a nice storyline going on which helps drive the game, secret government experiments, wacky nobodies with psychotic dreams of grandeur and a horrible zombie creature which is making everyone’s life a misery!
Moving on though, I soon discovered the weapons of mass destruction, or the totally hysterical gun-toting bear in a shopping trolley were nowhere to be found. I was a bit disappointed at the lack of major weaponry, and the fact that it’s simply a combination of 2 items and that’s it. In DR3 you could create several iterations of a type of bomb until it was utterly ludicrous but it feels as though they toned down the craziness and kept it, well, plausible? Yet you can combine a wheelchair and a tractor into a mortar firing jet-engined charged murder machine. Perhaps there’s more to come in future updates, but it’s a shame the big crazy stuff is missing.
The area of play is vast though, and easy to traverse which makes life much easier. I guess the map is almost G shaped, with outside areas circling a big mall in the middle. There’s loads of shops to explore, and blueprints take a combination of finding keys for panic rooms and digging up the ground using the exo-suit to discover them all. You have to move through the entire story to be able to unlock all areas, and it will tell you before confronting the final boss that there is a point of no return, however you are able to start the game afresh but keep your current character stats and unlocked blueprints. I really like these New Game + modes as I don’t think there’s any way you can completely upgrade Frank and collect all the goodies in a single playthrough unless you decide to dawdle impossibly slow!
An advertised game feature is Frank’s camera, being able to take happy snaps and selfies of your bestest dead buddy is fun for a short while, but I often forgot all about it until it was necessary to find clues and move on with the story. It’s a feature I wouldn’t miss if it got dropped. However a new feature I did enjoy is the exo-suit! Perhaps the devs have been looking at a number of other games which have used something similar these past couple of years, but I don’t care, it’s awesome!! They’re scattered around the world, and once equipped your current gear is unusable, so you have to find suit-specific gear. These can include parking meters, giant broadswords, christmas trees and vending machines to name a few. The suit is slightly over-powered, but as it runs on batteries it doesn’t last too long, just enough to obliterate a herd of undead before it pops into pieces around you.
Graphically I wouldn’t say it’s any better than DR3, perhaps it’s a little smoother and there’s more depth to the movement of the characters, but compared to most other games we’ve seen recently there’s nothing special happening here. Unfortunately the same can be said about the sound effects and music, there’s nothing outstanding or anything which makes the hair on your neck stand up.
The game itself isn’t without issues either – a few times it crashed on me in a shower of kaleidoscopic colours, and quite often Frank just seemed totally incapable of jumping up and over a wall. If Ezio was watching, he’d die of embarrassment. Changing clothes seems to be a small issue too, once you’ve selected an item and swapped the gear round it’s awkward to swap it back. You need to highlight another item, then go back again, sometimes more than once. Perhaps you’re thinking “Why are you swapping it back?”, the reason is simple, I collect everything. But I might not want to wear it, so clicking the same bit of gear you just put on will swap you back to your original without the need to find a mirror.
Now here’s my biggest issue with the game – no campaign co-op! This bit I was really disappointed with as DR3 enabled you to have so much fun in the open world with another character annihilating zombies around you at the same time! Or racing two different vehicles through the streets of undead spouting flames and fireworks! It’s possible the campaign may not work too well if Frank had a side-kick in every cutscene, but for those who are happy to forego the minor implementation niggles it would drastically improve the replayability of the campaign! Definitely lost a point for that!
Grab 3 of your best zombie killing mates and play online in objective based episodes in order to get the highest score (both individual and team-based). There are 4 episodes to pick from, but you have to complete a number of episodes before each new one unlocks so in theory you’ll be playing each one multiple times, but that’s fine as the objectives seem to be selected at random when you boot the session up.
Objectives are things such as ‘clear out X shop’ or ‘kill 100 zombies’, but there are some more interesting ones like ‘drive the go-karts to the highlighted area’ which is great fun as there’s a go-kart for each player, so you all run to the go-karts, then have a sort of mini race to the objective… that is if everyone is actually following the objective! There are a number of side objectives too, but it seems like as long as you clear the main objective, then you can just run around finding whatever weapons you can and smashing the heads of the undead until you’re asked to go to the safe house.
The episodes don’t seem overly different though, as it’s all based in the mall technically you could just run around to whichever area you choose, but the objectives for each episode will be based around that particular area, so stray too far and you might run out of time and not make to the safe house! Basically each episode has two days, so once you’ve cleared day one you need to go to the safe house (only one person has to make it but you get more points for every person who makes it). The safe house doesn’t act as a checkpoint though, if you fail at all during the episode whether it’s on day one or two, you’ll be taken back to the menu screen.
Multiplayer has it’s own skill points, so anything you’ve applied in single player won’t carry across (same as your level, the first time you start multiplayer you’ll be level 1 regardless of how much single player you’ve played). Your scrap (currency) does carry across though which is quite cool, so once you’ve played one game mode a fair bit, when you start the other you’ll have some scrap so you can buy some cool weapons.
Overall multiplayer is great fun, it’s satisfying when you’re all working together to complete the objectives, but it’s also just as fun if you’re roaming around the mall trying to find weapons and hordes of zombies to kill. It would have been nice to see the multiplayer expanded to include areas outside of the mall, but then I could imagine everyone getting a bit lost and losing sight of objectives. I guess it wouldn’t have hurt to include some areas outside, and maybe just close access off to areas which aren’t needed for the mission. Multiplayer can be a bit buggy, you’ll see halves of zombies floating in the area, and at one point I was managing to freeze everything I came into contact with without attacking which sent my killstreak flying up! None of the bugs I encountered were game-breaking though, if anything they were just amusing and harmless.
Dead Rising 4 is ultimately great fun, sure it’s a little buggy and some might say certain aspects of it are limited, but the gameplay is classic Dead Rising and smashing through hordes of zombies with a vehicle spitting out fire will always make me happy. It is a real shame the campaign can’t be played in co-op, especially after the feature was there in Dead Rising 3, but there is the multiplayer mode which pretty much serves the same purpose, although once you’re done with all 4 episodes I’m not too sure how often you’ll go back to it.