Dead Rising 4 was largely overlooked last year and that’s a shame. It’s a perfectly serviceable sequel that does a lot of things right. But between The Last Guardian and Resident Evil 7, it was an easy title to overlook. That’s too bad, because other than committing the unforgiveable sin of abandoning online campaign coop, it’s a pretty fun game. The gameplay premise – that you can combine objects like a baseball bat and a sword into superweapons for smashing enormous hordes of zombies – still holds up only now the materials for building weapons are super easy to find. The mall and surrounding city are nicely realized and easily traveled by the games numerous vehicles (mix and antique car and snowmobile for a zombie freezing joyride, or just take a pickup). For the casual gamer who likes a game that keeps the plot moving, provides gameplay you can customize to your style, and delivers hordes of zombies, Dead Rising 4 is a great game to pick up.
The Dead Rising series started with photojournalist Frank West trapped in a zombie-filled shopping mall. The sequels introduced other protagonists, but Dead Rising 4 returns the series to fan favorite Frank West. Frank is fun to return to even though he’s very changed here. First, he’s older now and returning to Willamette to explore a new zombie outbreak as a jaded veteran journalist. Second, the voice actor is new, but that didn’t really register with me (Frank now seems to be having a lot more fun despite his jaded worldview; he reminds me of Futurama’s Bender). Finally, Frank doesn’t really engage in the WWE techniques he demonstrated in previous games; here he just seems to punch and kick and relies more on the weapons you pick up. Fortunately, though weapons and vehicles are everywhere. You’ll never be in any real danger as you explore the mall and gradually move into the wider city. I played through in eight hours and only died once (there’s a scripted part where you have to sprint; remember where the sprint button is)
Dead Rising 4 really isn’t a game to beat; it’s just fun to play. The serviceable plot will lead you through the shopping mall and then out and around the surrounding city, but while the map is big it never feels overwhelming. There are mostly optional battles against “maniacs,” groups of survivors who have gone crazy, and you should really seek these battles out as they’re both hilarious and not terribly challenging. Again, the ease of the game is, to me, a plus. You’re given the best weapon in the game right away so you’ll always have one in your arsenal as you experiment with others and explore the Bully-size map. If you upgrade your storage ability, you’ll always have plenty of food on hand. Sure, the zombies do introduce more difficult types later in the game, but they aren’t nearly as dangerous as those freaky zombies in the original game. Just keep your flaming sledgehammer handy and swing away.
THE BEST PART
The game skates at the edge of being too easy excellently. You’ll be engaged but never afraid of exploring. And the plot isn’t too bad for a casual adventure game.
THE WORST PART
No cooperative campaign really kills the game for me. If we could team up on this one, it probably would have been our coop game of the year for 2017. As it is, it’s a fun open world adventure that impresses but never amazes.
OVERALL: PLAY IT
This is the kind of game that Gamefly is built for. Heck, if the price drops a bit, it’s not a bad purchase either. The plot won’t amaze you, but you’ll be having too much fun to care.