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boxartFrank West is back!

Photographer Frank West is back in action in Dead Rising 4 for Xbox One. Return the town where it all started—Willamette, Colorado—and try to survive a treacherous new breed of zombie that has taken over the mall and streets.

There are hundreds of deadly, and often time hilarious weapons you can craft to take down the zombie threats, including a firework launcher, candy can crossbow, and Frank’s signature barbed-wire baseball bat. For extra power, jump into the all-new Exo Suit and pummel zombies to a pulp with your mechanized fists, or mow down entire swaths by punching cars. Let the slay ride begin!

Game Details

Platform: Xbox One
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Publisher: Capcom, Microsoft Studios
Genre: Action-adventure
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)

Frank returns to Willamette, where it all started

Dead Rising 4’s story is great in that you really do not need to have played any or all of the previous games to understand what is going on and enjoy the game. It’s every bit as quirky and funny as previous games and it begins with our favourite photographer Frank West facing the many ghosts of his past in a freakish nightmare. As Frank makes his way frantically through the zombie-filled mall, fans of the series will instantly recognize some of the funniest moments from each of the three games. If you’ve never played a Dead Rising game then you will still be laughing your pants off with Frank’s comedic dialogue.

It’s been a year since the last zombie outbreak, our illustrious protagonist and former photojournalist, Frank West, is now a college teacher and trying to put his worries of the past behind him. However, it’s not long before one of his students, Vicky Chu, pulls Frank back into his former lifestyle. She wants Frank’s help investigating a military compound on the outskirts of Willamette, Colorado—where the first zombie outbreak began—based upon a tip she has received.

As you might have guessed, Frank and Vicky discover that the government run facility is filled with zombies. However, these zombies are far more aggressive than previous zombies were. As they are trying to leave, they are discovered and this causes Frank to be become a fugitive after he is falsely accused of terrorism by the government. Just a few short months later a new zombie outbreak has started in Willamette on Black Friday, and Frank sets out to clear his name with his exclusive story as he investigates the latest outbreak.

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Classic Dead Rising gameplay

Much like previous Dead Rising games, you will be slaying zombies, taking photos as evidence, and using some of the most bizarre weapons ever. Yet, Dead Rising 4’s scope is far larger than any previous game in the series. The action is more frantic; saving fellow survivors involves clearing zombie hordes from the area so that they can run off on their own, and checkpoints replace save points.

Within my first few hours of playing Dead Rising 4, I had already raced around in a go-kart while mowing down zombies and used a T-shirt gun to take out my enemies. Oh, and that was while I wearing a full suit of armour with a mask of Blanka from the Street Fighter series on my head. Dead Rising 4 is full of zombies crawling, walking, and clawing their way to get at you.

This time around, recovery items are not as plentiful, but are easily found. The new Exo Suits are awesome; there are some weapons that can only be used while wearing the Exo Suit, which can deal out some major damage. Though the Exo Suit only lasts for 2 minutes, you will have unlimited stamina and can run without slowing down through packs of zombies.

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Freedom to explore as you want and improved mechanics

One of the biggest changes to Dead Rising 4’s gameplay is the absence of a time limit. In previous Dead Rising games, you had a few hours to complete the campaign before your time ran out. To be honest, the time limit was my biggest pet peeve with the Dead Rising series. Sure, I love all the Dead Rising games, but not being able to explore everything I wanted to without the worry of a timer was not something I liked. Now that the timer is gone, you can go and explore pretty much anywhere you want without having to worry about a clock counting down. I found Dead Rising 4 to be the most fun I’ve ever had with the series.

Another of Dead Rising 4’s gameplay mechanics that have been modified is the use of Frank’s camera and the photos you take. In the past, Frank’s camera functioned more as a kind of minigame in which you had to take photographs that didn’t relate to the game’s plot. However, in Dead Rising 4, Frank’s camera is used mainly in research segments where you have to find clues and information that relate directly to what happens.

Capcom has included some new types of zombies to add to the variety of enemies in Dead Rising 4. Along with the traditional brain-eating zombies and human psychopaths who seek to harm you, you also encounter Freshies, newly infected zombies that move at a better speed; And Evos, zombies that in addition to having more agility and strength are a little more intelligent, and have the ability to call more zombies.

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Improved graphics engine

Dead Rising 4’s graphical engine has been enhanced over Dead Rising 3 and is far superior in virtually every way. Dead Rising 4 runs at 900p and the frame rate ranges from 27 to 30 frames-per-second—a vast improvement over Dead Rising 3’s 720p resolution and lower frame rate. In addition, Dead Rising 4’s world is larger and there are a lot more zombies on the screen at any given time.

Despite Dead Rising 4’s graphical enhancements, there is an issue with the game’s camera. At times, the angle in which the camera is facing makes it difficult to see what is happening on the screen. More often than I liked, I would find myself being attacked from an enemy that I could not see or know that was there. Ultimately, this does not detract from the gameplay too much; it is noticeable and sometimes is frustrating.

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Four-player co-op goodness

Although I was shocked that Dead Rising 4 did not contain a cooperative campaign option, I found the four-player co-op mode to be fun and entertaining. Separate from the single-player campaign mode, co-op missions are episodic standalone stages that take place over the time of two in-game days. You have a list of missions and objectives to complete in the two-day period, which you are scored upon while doing.

Objectives include recovering a collection of go-karts, defeating a boss, and then making it back to the safe house. The scoring system rates your performance and allows you to unlock skills, which are separate from the single-player campaign mode. Overall, I found Dead Rising 4’s four-player co-mode to be both frantic and fun. It certainly adds a lot of replay value to the game.

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Final Thoughts

Dead Rising 4 is clearly different from previous games in the series, which makes it a lot of fun to play. The removal gives you a newfound freedom, which allows you to move through the game at your own pace. The world in which you play in is huge, and the crazy weapons that you use will make you laugh.

Dead Rising 4 breathes life into Capcom’s beloved franchise, and allows those new to the series to jump right in. If you are looking for an entertaining game this holiday season, look no further—Dead Rising 4 will have you laughing all the way.

+ Big world to play in
+ Frank’s sarcasm and humour will have you laughing
+ Easy to pick up and play with little learning curve
+ Freedom without a time limit

– Camera can be frustrating at times

OVERALL

Gameplay: 4/5
Graphics: 4/5
Sound: 4/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5

Overall Rating 4/5 (80%)

Get Dead Rising 4 for Xbox One

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Jon Scarr
Based in Toronto, Jon is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Twitter @4Scarrs_Gaming.

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