The ultimate zombie slayer returns home for the holidays!
Dead Rising 4
Home For The Holidays
by Jeff Cork
Take Frank West back to where the series' outbreak all started - and kill a few thousand zombies along the way
In spite of a few visual hiccups (and underneath all the gore), it's a nice-looking game
Frank's new voice actor nails his performance, but the standout work is from whoever created the demented new holiday songs
Combat is simple and satisfying, and the streamlined systems continue to benefit the player
This is the Dead Rising game that fans of freeform exploration and mayhem wanted from the original. Clock-watchers need not apply
If misery factories like The Walking Dead have taught us anything, it's that people are crappy and that they're the real threats in a zombie-infested world. That may be, but some of us would rather experience the end of days like The Last Man on Earth, using the apocalypse as an excuse to ride a tricycle around while wearing a tuxedo jacket and snow pants. Dead Rising has straddled the line between horror and humor since its inception, and that hasn't changed with the fourth entry - but it's not shambling in the footsteps of what's come before. Even though we're back in Willamette with Frank West, Capcom Vancouver has infused the series with fresh ideas and some of the best action that it's had in a decade.
Frank can't seem to stay out of the game, in more ways than one. Capcom has introduced new heroes in the Dead Rising series with each numbered entry, but they don't have the same staying power as the war photographer. Like a lot of people, I get a kick out of the lovable doofus. Sure, his jokes are enough to make dads nod appreciatively, but there's something compelling about a hero that's always just on the edge of failure at any given moment. His return to the scene of the first game is fitting, though he can explore far beyond the mall's confines this time around.
I've personally been less interested in Dead Rising's storylines than in its settings and characters, and Dead Rising 4 hasn't changed my opinion. Yet another conspiracy needs investigating, with double crosses and intrigue. Why have the zombies returned, even though the infection was supposed to have been stopped with the Zombrex drug? Is the military involved? Why on earth would you live in Willamette, anyway? Frank gets pulled into the mystery by one of his photography students, and before long his instincts kick back in. Players who have been around for the long haul may recognize a few names here and there, but you can easily start the series here and not feel completely lost.
Even if the campaign's conspiracy feels a little rote, Willamette is the best playground that's been offered yet. It has everything you'd expect to find in a small town, from quirky shops to hardware store and homes - and the all-new Willamette Memorial Megaplex mall. Best of all, it's easy to navigate. Unlike Dead Rising 3's network of blocked-off freeways, the roads are clear - zombie hordes notwithstanding - and you can circle the map without leaving your car. You want to get out to explore the various shops and interior spaces, though. Dozens of weapon blueprints and other collect