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Dead Rising 4

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: Dec. 5, 2017

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PS4 Review - 'Dead Rising 4: Frank's Big Package'

by Cody Medellin on May 9, 2018 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Dead Rising is an action and adventure series that challenges players to find the truth behind zombie outbreaks while battling hordes of the undead in new and exciting ways.

Buy Dead Rising 4: Frank's Big Package

For about a year, Dead Rising 4 enjoyed exclusivity status on the Xbox One and PC. Coming from a third-party publisher as big as Capcom, that exclusivity seems weird when the bigger install base on consoles is the PS4. Then again, the series has enjoyed a sporadic existence on the Sony consoles, while it was something of a marquee series on the Xbox family. Much like Rise of the Tomb Raider did in 2016, the game finally arrived on the PS4 at a steal since it has all of the previously released content plus a wild new extra thrown in for good measure.

Dead Rising 4: Frank's Big Package starts with Frank West as a professor of journalism, discredited by most publications for trying and failing to tie the zombie outbreak to government involvement. After a bad dream related to his first zombie experience, he gets a call from one of his students, who dupes him into going to a relatively small and mundane military base. It turns out that the government is continuing to experiment on zombies and trying to make them more advanced. The investigation goes wrong, leaving Frank to take the rap for a domestic terrorist attack while his student gets away unscathed. Now living as a night school teacher under a new alias, he gets a visit from the ZDC. It turns out that the zombie outbreak is once again happening in Willamette, and there is reason to believe that government involvement can be proven. Frank is roped into the investigation.


We reviewed the Xbox One version of the game a year ago, and the PS4 version is practically the same as far as the base game goes. The story may be more serious than before, but Frank's ability to crack wise adds to the levity and makes the photojournalist more likeable. The gameplay eschews a time limit in favor of a more open world, with tons of collectibles to find and the ability to gain experience to power up Frank in a multitude of ways. The weapons get wackier thanks to the Christmas theme in play, while the robotic suits can feel overpowered even though they only last for a short time. Multiplayer is present, though not exactly a big draw, and the presentation is fine on the base console, with the camera sometimes getting in the way when you're in tight spaces or surrounded by a horde and can't see who you're hitting. Overall, it's still a ton of fun if you aren't looking for something grounded in reality. The base game received a few small changes, which include a few more distress calls to answer and the maniacs dropping interesting weapons when defeated.

Aside from the costume packs, the game includes both of the DLC packs. The first is Super Ultra Dead Rising 4 Mini-Golf, which seems rather odd until you remember that Frank mentioned how much he loves mini-golf in the main campaign. Here, you play as one of the characters from the multiplayer mode and go through four rounds of mini-golf on floating polygon platforms. Standard golf rules apply, but there are a few extras. The presence of coins in the field let you earn more money once you let the ball pass over them, and they also give you an idea of the line you want to follow. The second are zombies, which don't affect the ball but yield bonus coins when your ball smacks into them. The final extra is the power-up that gives out a random effect on a random player, making shots more difficult to pull off given the offbeat course layout.

The mode is decent, but there are a number of courses available, so it'll take some time before you cycle through them all. The game has an online component, but since there doesn't seem to be anyone interested in checking this out, you can have some fun locally by yourself or with up to three other people. The coins can be used to buy better club sets, which feel like substantial upgrades. The coins can also be used to buy a decent amount of cosmetic goods, but that feels more disappointing since it's limited to masks, which clash heavily with the exo suits that everyone wears.


The second piece of DLC is Frank Rising, which continues where the main campaign ended. Obvious spoiler aside, the game has you playing as Frank as he runs around town trying to save a few more survivors before the town gets carpet-bombed into oblivion. You'll be doing this with some newfound abilities, and the act of finding new weapons is replaced with challenges that are meant to strengthen those new abilities. You'll also forfeit having to find food to heal yourself, as you have a different means of replenishing energy. You're also doing this in a way that feels like the original game, since you now have 90 minutes to accomplish everything before the game is over.

That time limit is actually quite brutal if you're trying to accomplish everything, since the world map isn't truncated. Combine that with the hordes of zombies and humans trying to take you down, and you'll have to be efficient to make it to the end with even a sliver of time to spare, let alone get the good ending. It also doesn't help that the timer is constantly ticking during challenges. Death also doesn't reset the timer, which can be brutal toward the end when the game throws some heavily armed soldiers at you. Overall, the mode is fun since you can go back and replay it with your previously gained powers in tow.

The final new addition is a more recent one that's also available for the other platforms: Capcom Heroes. Here, you start the campaign from scratch, with none of your abilities carried over. You still have to get food to heal yourself, and you still have the ability to use your photography skills to gain XP and level up. However, you won't give yourself new abilities by leveling up, and you won't need to get blueprints to craft weapons and vehicle combinations. In fact, weapon collection is out of the question since you can bust out combos with weapons that magically appear in your hands. It feels like cheating since you don't need to stock up on stuff or scramble when something breaks. It replaces all of that with something more inspired.


Scattered throughout the world are treasure chests to help you unlock some extra art and trivia, and there are posters of Capcom games you can photograph to accomplish the same thing. The most important collectible are special stars. Gather enough of them and go to an arcade machine to wear a costume for a number of heroes in Capcom's entire library. You get the expected ones like Ryu and Cammy from Street Fighter and Jill from Resident Evil 3, but you also get a few unexpected ones, like Arthur from Ghosts 'n' Goblins, Sissel from Ghost Trick and Amaterasu from Okami. It's certainly a nice treat for the company faithful.

The costumes aren't just cosmetic, as your move set changes when you wear them. For example, you can wear Dante's costume and throw down a projectile, bust out a super-powered move, and use guns, but the dual pistols make shooting faster while throwing down the sword just hits more people. All of those costumes can have their abilities amplified via special challenges, and you can even unlock a dark variant that makes parts of the costume glow white.

The one complaint is the same one found with the main game's exo suits. The timer for each costume limits how much fun you can have with these abilities. It feels a little arbitrary, since there are plenty of arcade machines in the world where you can swap outfits. Forcing the player to go to an arcade machine countless times just because they want to experience a large section as Bass, for example, can grow tiresome. Since this mode is meant for those who have already played through the main game, doing away with those time limits and simply letting the player go nuts would've been the better option.

Dead Rising 4: Frank's Big Package is made for people who love the idea of killing large zombie hordes in an outrageous fashion. The main game may not be as challenging as previous entries, but it remains engaging, and it would've been a fine purchase for PS4 owners. The presence of both old and new DLC makes the game absolutely packed, and while mini-golf isn't as strong as either Frank Rising or Capcom Heroes, its inclusion is still welcome.

Score: 8.0/10



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