|System: Xbox One, PC|
|Dev: Capcom Vancouver|
|Release: December 6, 2016|
|Players: 1-4 Players (2-4 online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language|
At least other game elements are the epitome of efficiency. Switching weapons is ridiculously easy. Holding down one trigger throws a projectile. Pressing the button to aim brings up Frank’s gun. A tap on the D-pad pulls up a melee weapon. In each case, subsequent taps on the D-pad switch weapons, pull up the weapon wheel, or let you immediately heal. Crafting can be done anywhere at any time, provided you have collected the blueprint and have the necessary ingredients either in your inventory or in Frank’s immediate vicinity. I almost wish it were possible to have all eight slots open for melee, ranged, and projectile weapons at the start, because it’s easy to load up on amazing equipment almost instantly.
However, extra inventory slots and other skills need to be unlocked. A leveling system is in place, giving Frank experience for completing objectives, taking photos, and fighting zombies. The Skill Points earned upon leveling up can be applied to different categories that improve areas like weapon proficiency and survivability. Putting the first few points into the basic skills is a good idea, since Dead Rising 4’s Frank isn’t the most well-rounded or durable dude at the outset, but it’s easy to get him leveled up into a zombie slaughtering machine.
It all encourages replayability. Even though this is an open space, Dead Rising 4 is divided into cases. While there are set objectives for each one, you’re free to explore the area and find all kinds of collectibles. It feels like a game where you go through the chapter once to get it done in about an hour or two, then eventually come back to be a little more thorough. It isn’t about being thoughtful or strategic. It’s about engaging in silly activities as you fight your way through troops of mostly competent zombies, more-capable fresh zombies, and very accurate human characters.
This might not please everyone. Dead Rising 4 doesn’t feel exactly like the original Dead Rising or Dead Rising 2. The humor is there, but there isn’t the same sense of thoughtfulness and careful planning needed to survive. It’s a more frantic affair, filled with collectibles and weapons, that gives you an opportunity to plow through enemies throughout Willamette. It’s different, but that doesn’t mean bad. Clearly, Dead Rising 4 is rebooting the series. It’s an entertaining beat’em up, albeit one where I haven’t had a chance to play online ahead of launch. I still think it’s a great way to spend the holidays, but people who appreciated the earlier games may want to watch some gameplay videos or try a demo first.
Date: December 5, 2016