Dead Rising 4 is a fantastically put together game. The game manages to bring new elements to the franchise while keeping a lot of what avid fans of the series love.  Dead Rising 4 manages to do this all while keeping the door open enough and accessible enough so newer players will not feel too shut out. The combat is still as crazy as ever with many combo weapons sporting a very stylized Christmas coating. The story does it’s best to explain a lot of what happened during protagonist Frank West’s first time in Willamette, Colorado while adding what is currently happening in the Dead Rising universe. For those of you that aren’t privy to what happened, Frank West is in the first Dead Rising game trying to cover the outbreak at the Willamette mall and ends up uncovering a huge conspiracy and stopping a zombie epidemic. Now he is investigating a city wide resurgence of the disease that is resistant to the government mandated vaccinations. This new strain has sped up the zombification process, what used to take days now takes mere seconds. For the sake and construction of my thoughts on the game I labeled the following paragraphs and broke them up in to sections for easy reading.

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Weapons:

So how is a former journalist who’s cover wars (oh you didn’t know?) supposed to stop the undead masses again? Well with over the top weaponry of course! While fans are used to weapons like the defiler (sledge hammers and axes taped together) and electric battle axes that would definitely put Thor in the booty mood. Dead Rising 4 manages to show it’s holiday spirit with a ton of new weapons. Shock collar wreathes that spread to surrounding zombies, an Ion cannon, and deck the halls are among some of my favorite newer weapons. Dead Rising 4 took a page out of Call of Duty’s book and added Exo Suits. Now before you go getting all bent out of shape, the suits in Dead Rising 4 are very grounded you can’t go flying around and using the buffoonery that has happened to Call of Duty. The suits simply allow you to pick up big weapons like executioner axes and gattling guns. The suits are even a tad upgrade able, when combined with certain machines it has elemental attacks such as an ice cannon that is really enjoyable to use, I went on over a thousand kill streak with it and cackled like a toddler as the blood and gore flew everywhere.

I feel it is worth noting that the ability to construct weapons on the fly is also still included in Dead Rising 4. So instead of having to carry ingredients around looking for a crafting table once you find what you need make it and go have a party. Fear not about looking for blueprints with no idea as to where they are you can buy all the collectible maps at the various safe houses and they make the game easier by leaps and bounds.

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Leveling Up:

Dead Rising 3 introduced skill trees and skill points to the series and it is nice to see them make another appearance in Dead Rising 4. The tree is pretty extensive and covers everything from health upgrades and stamina down to weapon durability and damage resistance. It even bleeds in the multiplayer mode where an entirely new branch exclusive to the mode opens up. That is kind of a draw back though because your tree from story mode does not carry over to multiplayer so you must start over from scratch in multiplayer. No need to get angry though, it is incredibly easy to level up as nearly every action in the game earns you experience towards leveling up. Discover a new area? Boom XP. Kill a zombie, XP. Take a selfie, XP. I recommend using that to boost yourself. The pictures are rated from E being the worst then F through A is respectively better quality with S being the best rank you can get. At one point I got over 6,000 PP from one selfie where I was surrounded by zombies while standing on an ambulance.

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Multiplayer:

The Dead Rising series has always had a rocky relationship with multiplayer modes. In Dead Rising 2 outside of standard co-op story they also had a mode based off the Pay-Per-View game show from the main campaign called Terror is Reality. In this mode players would compete online in Mario Party  style mini games. Not many players enjoyed playing it and I could never find any one to play it with when I attempted to try it out. In Dead Rising 3 there was a whole DLC for four player chaos dubbed; Dead Rising 3 Super Ultra Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX + a had nods to nearly every Capcom game and featured a four map arcade style campaign. The same problems seemed to plague this release as well, outside of the first month I had to try to run the game solo which is definitely a challenge.

This time around players run through four more missions that are once again set for four player co-op. Since I didn’t have three friends handy I went in solo and after a few failed attempts made it through most of the first episode alone before some random lad joined my game and began helping me. But by then I pretty much had the lay of the land. Much like in the main campaign players need to level up in order to be more powerful and stand a chance of surviving against the undead that attack Willamette.

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Characters:

One of the things that annoyed me about Dead Rising 4’s protagonist, Frank West, in previous game was the fact that he was such a bland and arrogant guy. So much so that he was one of the main reasons I never finished the original game, or his spin off of Dead Rising 2. Much to my pleasure Frank is no longer a typical stick in the mud but is bursting with personality (albeit a tad obnoxious one). Speaking of things that are obnoxious Paula (leader of Undead Radio) constantly chimes in with new side quests while in her ever annoying character she tries to be, often referring to Frank as an apostle. The woman with the manly name Vick whom was Frank’s photography student and plays a hand in the new outbreak in Willamette is also quite agitating. She goes from devout student to almost sociopathic in her attempt to reach the truth in her own way. Just so we’re all on the same page she kidnapped a scientist held her prisoner in an attempt to extort information from her all while her team was outside trying to stop one of the biggest hoards I have ever fought in a game. Thankfully, Frank shows up and tells her to hit the bricks.

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Achievements:

While most people couldn’t care less about achievements there are still many of us out there that enjoy getting them and thankfully Dead Rising 4 has a pretty solid mix of challenge when it comes to achievements. They range from the typical story driven ones and the collectible based all the way to the obscure kill counter ones. The most notable of the latter being Left 100,004 Dead 2 requiring players to kill that many zombies. Luckily there are several spots in Dead Rising 4 where the zombies are abundant so after some time you can grind them out. The easiest among the achievements is to kill a zombie with a hunk of meat, which you can just pick up a severed zombie arm and go to town. It is an easy five gamerscore.

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General Grievances:

The camera for investigations is a little finicky. During several instances Frank is required to use his cameras to find clues in certain ares and figure out what happened. More than a few times during the campaign the camera would register that what I needed to take a picture of was directly in front of me when it was actually somewhere else entirely. For example at one point I was standing at the foot of a medical examination table and the orange indicator came on that I was close to it and the edge of the bed had the orange hue to it like a clue would. Every time I took the picture Frank would say a snide comment and the camera would say I was too far away. Had I not accidentally moved and the wall on the other side of the room lit up I would have been there for who knows how long. In the grand scheme of the game it is a minute problem, but one that is still worth noting.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing but I felt like Dead Rising 4 is entirely too easy. The game is highly enjoyable and still as addicting as the previous installments, however I did take note of how dulled down it was. While I was having a blast and before I had noticed my first three hours with the game had elapsed, I had already hit over level twenty and had a ton of money to spend. Not only that but I was taking out boss level enemies with regular guns as if they were nothing. In the medieval section of the mall i used one assault rifle clip and a mace and took down the big bad leader in under a minute. Later on in the game the enemies do get tougher but with the abundance of RPG’s, Exo-Suits, and regular guns that are available they really aren’t that much of a problem.

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At the end of it all the complaints most people have about Dead Rising 4 straying from what previous games brought to the table are valid. Be that as it may, I don’t feel the tacked on: weakest in the series is true. That crown still sits firmly on the heads of Dead Rising: Chop till You Drop and the original game. Dead Rising 4 is a wonderfully constructed game that should be on every fans Christmas list. Even if you have never played a Dead Rising game this is the one to start on. The game will more than explain a lot of previous events and it won’t beat you over the head with having to learn complicated controls or put up with a ton of unneeded exposition. If I can gush for a second Dead Rising 4 is my second favorite entry in to the series, second to Dead Rising 2, love me some Chuck Greene.

Dead Rising 4 Review: Frightfully Festive
Combo Weapons
  • Frank West gets a much needed personality change
  • Manages to be fun for veterans of the franchise while holding the door open for new players
  • Builds upon established universe like having the town of the original outbreak come to life
Government Screw Ups
  • Annoying camera controls
  • Mindnumbingly easy
  • It isn't always easy to tell which vehicles are usable
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
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About The Author

Allen S
Editorial/Reviews Team, Manager

I started gaming when I was seven years old. I started my own game studio when I was twelve, went to school for game design. Now I work here and also on my own YouTube channel