“Tis The Season”: Dead Rising 4 Review

Posted in Kulturecade by - January 16, 2017

(Editors Note:  This is the first review using our new scoring criteria.  In a future article, we will be explaining in greater detail our new review process as well as a revisit to our review policy in a later article.)

Dead Rising 4 is the latest entry in the hack and slash zombie series, and it packs quite a punch. The game brings back many exciting aspects as prior outings, but also takes many away. Capcom stated and went on many promotional tours to prove Dead Rising 4 was made for the fans, and I was not disappointed in the accuracy of that statement.

The game brings back quite a bit of nostalgia from the original Dead Rising, and it is an unusual sight as a die-hard Dead Rising fan myself. With this game being a direct sequel to the first, it is highly recommended that you play the first game (Not required, but you really should). Not to worry, though, both the original and the second game have been remastered for PS4 and Xbox One. I have played both, and they are quite remarkable, so pick those up if you have the chance. 

Visually, graphics look great, but at this point in the technical advances of gaming, the game looks similar to any newer game you will play besides the higher quality games on the market such as Final Fantasy XV and Battlefield 1. Nonetheless, the blood of zombies and maniac enemies has never looked so good.

The soundtrack is what might throw gamers off. This game was meant as a holiday game, so of course to be played around the Christmas season, there is Christmas music, and a large abundance of it. Oh, did I mention the game is set in a small town with “the world’s largest mall” DURING the holiday season? Well, it is, and the whole game is decked out to be a Christmas game. Decorations, costumes, and music everywhere. With this being said, if you are not one for the holiday spirit, I would recommend watching gameplay and see if the Christmas overload is too much or something you could work with. To be perfectly candid, I loved the setting. It sets the mood for the chaos that went on this town. It’s also fun to blow hundreds of zombies sky-high while listening to “Silent Night”. (Admit it, it sounds fun).

Alright now that we got that out of the way let’s discuss the story, which is very intriguing. You play as Frank West, the photojournalist who cracked the case from the Willamette Zombie Outbreak that took place in the first game of the series.  West is certainly a beloved character for fans in the series, leading to many of those fans were disappointed when Frank West was given a whole new look and new voice actor. The switch didn’t bother me, and I grew quite fond of the revamped West. Although I found the classic Frank West “dad jokes” and twisted sense of humor was stronger than ever, and as a fan of the franchise, I was highly satisfied.

The story follows closely to the first game, and the number of tie-ins and references to the first was refreshing since we haven’t had a stand-alone Frank West game since Dead Rising 2: Off the Record.  You once again play as Frank West, who, years after the events of the first game now works as a professor of photography and journalism. West is tricked by one of his students to return to Willamette where it just so happens ANOTHER zombie outbreak has occurred despite the cure being released years before the events of this title. West is once again sent on a zombie-hacking adventure to figure out what or who started the outbreak and put a stop to it.

Each mission had me wanting to keep rushing through the story despite my gamer OCD of having to do everything, and in the end, playing through the story at a fair pace was worth it due to the highly interesting plot and some twists here and there. If you’re looking for a combination of a good narrative and running over zombies with a go-kart, Dead Rising 4 may just be for you. 

I ended Dead Rising 4 at over 100 hours, and honestly, I don’t think the game was intended for you to have that much time put into it, but that’s just how fun it is. I lost myself for hours playing this game, and for the first time in a while, my girlfriend was highly interested in watching me play. If you knew her, you would know that’s a done deal for the game right there. (Only kidding). In conclusion to the story aspect, the story was one that caught my interest the whole time, and I won’t delve further due to spoilers, but the ending to this story had me emotional since I am a huge fan, but it also left me quite irritated as the ‘”real” ending will primarily be sold off separately in paid DLC, and I will leave it off there.

The gameplay follows closely in style to Dead Rising 3. I personally wasn’t much of a fan of the third entry in the series, but it’s similar enough I’d recommend skipping the third and playing the fourth. The game obviously focuses around zombie killing but absent are bosses labeled ‘psychopaths’. In Dead Rising 4 developer, Capcom removed the harder boss fights and catered to easier gameplay mechanics, which was a disappointment as I was a huge fan of the crazy boss fights given to you in the original games. They basically replaced psychopaths with these much easier to kill and less interesting “bosses” and threw in what they call ‘maniacs’. These maniacs are still fresh and exciting, but in the end I didn’t feel the spark of excitement that I got when I would compete against the psycho bosses.

Returning to the core gameplay, the game isn’t much of a button-masher, but it still does require quick time combat against massive hordes of zombies, so you will feel yourself mashing the attack button quite a bit. Dead Rising 4 is also very gory, as well. So, if you feel like you would enjoy taking a chainsaw or whatever weapon of your choosing and slicing zombies in half when your hit combo charges up, then you will surely enjoy this game.

The weapons are also a huge entertainment factor in this game, as well. Almost anything you find in the game can be used as a weapon including toy swords which highly resemble lightsabers and other amusing things you wouldn’t expect to use in a zombie apocalypse, but you use them anyway, because why not? You can also use officially licensed Capcom toys, which is mentioned in the game as a Capcom reference, and use those to your advantage to fighting your way through the zombie infested mall and town of Willamette.

Unfortunately, there are many negatives to this game, however. The bugs and glitches in this game are crippling at times. It seems like Capcom wanted to push this game to a holiday release date and it shows completely. There were times when I would try to open a door, and West would just stand there, despite the hordes of zombies closing in on me, and I couldn’t do anything. After about 10 seconds, the door would open, and West would finally walk in. It was quite annoying, and it left me not wanting to try to open doors or climb over walls as it happened quite frequently.

In this game, there are safe houses around the map which can be leveled up to buy better things from vendors.  I had all the safe houses leveled up to their max level.  I started playing one day….and they were all gone. All my safe house progression that I spent hours upon hours working on just poof gone. They all reset back to zero and at this point, I was already about to complete the game, so I didn’t worry about leveling them up again, but it was still aggravating. There was also a point where I went to check my gameplay time, and apparently, I had over 900 hours put into it. I hadn’t even owned the game for 900 hours. 

In previous Dead Rising games, you were given a time limit before, let’s say, the government was to drop bombs on the town. You had to figure out what happened in a matter of 72 hours game time or so. This aspect was happily taken out to cater to fans who didn’t want it in the game, but I think the challenge was the best part of the original.

Despite this game containing bugs galore at times and taking out one of my favorite franchise features, it was a surprising hit. I knew people who had never played a Deadrising game that say they loved the fourth. As I said before, it’s not necessarily required you play the first, but highly recommended. In the end, Dead Rising 4 blew me away with its heart-pounding and exciting story, excellent gameplay, and weapons combinations. If you’re looking to hack and slash thousands upon thousands on zombies with almost anything and everything being a weapon, pick up Dead Rising 4. It’s not a bad game to get newcomers started to the series, but be warned, the fourth game is highly different from any of the others, save Dead Rising 3. Until next time, happy zombie hunting.        

Final Review: 4/5

This post was written by

Tucker Boyd is a gaming staff writer for Kulture Shocked. Growing up, all he wanted was to play video games. Jokes on you, he never grew up. His life consists of video games every day, reading comic books and watching movies. These things have molded him into a giant pop culture fanatic and he’s not a bit ashamed of it. He loves sitting down and having discussions about games, movies, and comics and dreams that one day he will be able to make a living off these things.

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