Dead Rising 4 Review – A Christmas Gory

With Dead Rising 4, Capcom’s curious zombie series has officially entered Saints Row territory.

05

Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Format: PC, Xbox One (reviewed)
Released: December 6, 2016
Copy provided by publisher

Dead Rising has always been an unusual property. The original game was just plain weird whatever way you slice it. With its strict time limit, off-kilter characters, and devotion to utterly maddening escort missions, Dead Rising is the sort of game that takes effort to love, but even those who hate it would have to admit there’s nothing quite like it.

As the series has continued, it’s sanitized itself to a notable degree, incrementally removing all of its quirks and oddities to provide a more standard open world zombie game. At the same time, it’s upped the ante when it comes to ridiculous in-game content, attempting to provide sillier characters, ridiculous weapons, and more extreme levels of undead violence.

It’s an ironic twist that, as the series willingly pushes the envelope, it’s becoming more “normal” at the same time, and in a world where Saints Row already exists, it can be argued Dead Rising has stripped away its most notable and uniquely identifiable features without providing an adequately special edge in return.

Dead Rising 3 kicked off the shift toward a more universally appealing series with a time limit extended to the point of negligibility, the removal of distinct save points, and a lack of escort missions. In Dead Rising 4, there isn’t a time limit at all, with the returning Frank West having as much time as he likes to explore Willamette and tackle its missions.

03

In keeping with this continued shift, the game has given up any pretense of taking itself seriously and has become a pure comedy game.

Frank has gone from irreverent to goofy, with comically bumbling behavior and endless one-liners. The austentatious combo weapons, already pretty over-the-top by Dead Rising 3, are borderline abstract in some cases, so ridiculous they make the premise of a zombie invasion seem mundane in comparison.

As for the overall story, let’s just say even George Romero – latter day, post-Land of the Dead George Romero – might find it a little too wacky for his tastes.

What I am describing may sound like a nightmare to some veteran Dead Rising lovers. A mechanically stripped zombie game that makes a joke of the series’ world? Truly, this is a travesty and insult to the name Dead Rising.

I sympathize with that mindset, I truly do.

However, I must confess I’ve never particularly cared for the first two Dead Rising games, as much as I admire them from a distance and appreciate the ways in which they tried to be different. The less constrained, more comic approach introduced in Dead Rising 3 appealed to me far more, which is worth keeping in mind when I say how much I enjoyed this new one.

No, it’s not the Dead Rising experience many will want. It’s a damn fine, damn fun, damn funny game though.

02

The zombie virus that plagued America across three prior games is supposed to have been successfully stamped out thanks to vaccination, but a Black Friday catastrophe at an all-new shopping mall in Willamette has seen the return of not just the undead, but their more evolved, more aggressive offshoots.

Framed as a murderer by the government to protect its naughty zombie secrets, an aging and bitter Frank West is pulled out of hiding by the ZDC, who want him to go back to the town that started it all and expose what broke out at the Willamette mall all over again. At Christmas, no less!

I love that Dead Rising 4 is set during Christmas. You really don’t get to see many seasonally relevant games anymore, doubtless due to them wanting to appeal all year round. While this game isn’t so steeped in yuletide antics that it’s overbearing, it’s wonderful to see a snowy town environment with discarded decorations, trees, and appropriately sentimental music.

Though Capcom advertised this release by promising Frank was back, the replacement of Terence Rotolo as the legendary photojournalist makes this a very different West. His new vocal performer does a fantastic job – he’s got a witty delivery and a way of inflecting that makes even the stupidest lines amusing – but he’s somebody else entirely.

DR4 would have a different tone had Rotolo reprised the role, and it’s impossible to know if that tone would have been superior. All I know is that the new Frank West is great, though there’s a constant nagging feeling that he’s not Frank West at all. Performance matters, after all.

Along with the central mall, Dead Rising 4 expands Willamette to include the surrounding town, just as convoluted in its design as Los Perdidos from the previous installment – seriously, have better onscreen directions if you’re going to make streets so littered with blockades. Put a trail on the road or something, because vague onscreen markers don’t account for how specific some routes need to be.

06

As one might expect, it’s filled with zombies to an absolutely stunning degree, often filling the screen. Additionally, an increased number of human antagonists are now on offer.

Obscuris mercenaries and warped bandits are in conflict with both the undead and Frank himself, making for a more dangerous environment.

They’re joined by new strains of mutant. “Fresh” zombies have been newly turned and are faster, more aggressive alternatives to the classically sluggish ghoul. “Evolved” zombies, meanwhile, are even tougher to put down, and notably smarter than their kin.

West has access to the usual assortment of improvised weaponry lying around the world, and can combined various types to create exotic and exaggerated gear. Classic combo weapons, such as the electric axe and “blast from the past” explosive sledgehammer return, joined by an new combos that officially take the piss – in a good way.

Christmas ornaments and accoutrements heavily influence a lot of the new stuff. Electric wreaths that can collar zombies and zap their surrounding brethren, nutcracker soldiers that can be fitted with guns to protect Frank’s back from ambushes, Christmas bell gauntlets that ring in the holidays with every punch, the game’s many thematic combos are a real laugh to use.

Combo vehicles make their welcome comeback, allowing Frank to craft ludicrous death-dealing machines of various sizes. Size is important here, because the smaller the vehicle, the better it is to watch old beefy Frank squatting in it. The first combo vehicle on offer, for example, is a child’s go-kart that can deliver electrical shockwaves – because of course it is.

Some slight alterations have been made to improve combat. Finishing moves earned by chaining hits together are often designed to clear crowds this time, rather than simply take out a single zombie in some spectacular fashion. While the latter result is common for standard weaponry and special cases, most of the combos now feature large area-of-effect attacks that take out surrounding enemies with impressive bombast.

Firearms, often an afterthought in Dead Rising, are both effective and surprisingly fun to use this time around. Combo guns are some of the most devastating and satisfying items in West’s arsenal, with the Blam-bow – a crossbow that shoots fireworks – being my personal favorite (though the swordfish launcher is a very close second).

By far the biggest addition is the introduction of the Exo Suit. Deployed by the shady Obscuris force, these robotic suits grant temporary access to enhanced strength and durability, allowing Frank to become a zombie-punching machine until the armor powers down. In addition, he can use new heavy weapons, such as miniguns and blocks of concrete with parking meter “handles.”

Should Frank find very specific objects, he can absorb them to change the nature of the suit in a manner somewhat similar to Mega Man. Should he absorb a vacuum cleaner, for example, his exo will transform into a piped air-blaster that sends whirlwinds and tosses zombies about like paper.

It’s as ridiculous as it sounds, and the final sign that Capcom’s just gone ahead and embraced how utterly stupid this series can be.

01

Shelters have been changed to allow for leveling up, and now feature merchants who’ll trade food, weapons, clothing, vehicles, and map information for scrap. Scrap is earned by searching containers and slaughtering zombies, and there’s plenty to go around, with golden coins flying all over the place (because scrap is, naturally, made from shiny golden coins).

Leveling a shelter requires rescuing survivors who, as in Dead Rising 3, simply need a helping hand after spawning at certain map locations. Once the zombies around them are cleared, they’ll make their own way to safety. The more survivors saved, the higher a shelter’s level, and the higher a shelter’s level, the more stuff available to spend scrap on.

Since Frank’s ostensibly back, so too is his camera as photography returning to the series. Capturing scenes of particular brutality are the best way to earn those ever-precious Prestige Points required for upgrading Frank’s abilities, with photos graded and sorted into genres according to what’s shot. As an added bonus, West can take selfies and even sneak on zombies to get a shot of himself posing with their rotting mugs.

For the most part, Dead Rising 4 plays like its predecessor, which I personally enjoy, but one major change is a notable disappointment. The “Psychopaths” of previous games – humans who went off the rails and provided challenging boss encounters – have been replaced by “Maniacs” that, while serving similar purposes, are dramatically reduced in terms of impact.

Rather than offering standalone battles, Maniacs come in groups overseen by a named leader. Their appearances are interspersed throughout the campaign, but they have no real relevance or are treated with importance of any kind. There are no introductory cutscenes for them, and fights against the leaders require no special tactics or interesting nuances.

A big part of the entertainment of Dead Rising has always been encounters against the cracked survivors who provided some twisted flavor to the world. As Maniacs, these survivors are little more than just another enemy type, which is a shame because the dialog and costumes they wear demonstrate some serious squandered potential.

Other tweaks are more welcome, such as melee weapons, firearms, thrown items, and food each getting their own separate inventories with associated D-pad assignments. Not only does it improve the fluidity of gameplay, it’s simply more convenient for the player to have specific slots for each type of item.

Controls are still a bit of a fight, however. Trying to get the item you want when it’s surrounded by dozens of others on the floor – all obtained with the same button press – is a hassle, while combat can still be frustratingly sluggish at times, leading to instances of zombies getting their cheap hits in.

Also, somebody really needs to find a better way of pulling off finisher moves than smooshing one’s thumb over two diagonally-opposed face buttons.

04

While there are some disappointments and archaic clunkiness, Dead Rising 4 is a great time that makes smart improvements over Dead Rising 3. The comedic beats are surprisingly well executed, especially early on in the campaign, and while the conclusion may be hugely disappointing to some, I can’t fault the series its boldness.

Those who remain saddened at the series’ removal of key features will likely not find themselves happy about DR4, and the return of Frank will be a poor exchange given the overhaul of not just his voice, but his character. Those looking for an enjoyable zombie-smashing romp, however, will find a choice example in this Christmassy take on the Dead Rising franchise.

It’s put me in the holiday spirit, at any rate.

8/10
Great

  • Nikita Kress

    The first DR I will consider buying. I hated others because of timer. I simply don’t enjoy games that make me do stuff at speed they want to because I love exploring, and it take a lot of time which I don’t have enough. I can tolerate missions, but entire game? No.

  • RaikuNH

    Can’t buy it. Don’t have a PC or XB1.

  • irfanf (IrfanF)

    So it’s A Frank West, not THE Frank West. A good Frank West nonetheless, but still not THE Frank West.

    • I think that’s a fair way of looking at it.

    • Jimmy Donnellan

      I really don’t get why this is such a big deal to so many people. Dead Rising is basically Dynasty Warriors with zombies; the story and characters have always taken a backseat to dildo launchers.

      • RougeMephilesClone

        They initially took a backseat to normal things you would find at a mall. I think that’s one of the changes that really bug older fans.

      • People really love Frank West as a character. I don’t think he took a backseat. There’s a reason “I’ve covered wars, y’know” is such a beloved phrase.

        • Tallcat

          It’s true. He was very charismatic and likable in a fun and campy way.

  • Mechajin

    Weird goofy Frank doesn’t seem that unusual to me, the only exposure I’ve had to him is from Tatsunoko vs Capcom, where he’s throwing shopping trolleys full of zombies at people, and turning into Megaman X for some reason, so maybe I’m missing something?

  • Dooid

    Thanks Jim. I liked Dead Rising 1, didn’t care for 2, loved 3 so I think I’ll enjoy this

  • Paul Barnes

    I retroactively came to the Dead Rising series and I couldn’t get on with the first two. The third appealed to me as it took away, or lessened some of the features I didn’t like ie. timers, but the performance was atrocious on PC. I don’t believe the issues were ever properly resolved, so while on paper this fourth entry to the series ticks a lot of boxes I am hesitant to drop money on a game I don’t even know if I’ll be able to play at more than 30fps.

  • Jpkurihara

    I still don’t understand one thing… Frank doesn’t look older. He fucking looks YOUNGER for Christ’s sake.
    He looked like a middle aged man in the the other games, now he looks like he’s not even in his 30s.

    • Anton

      DR1 Frank was pretty young, they gave him a late-20s appearance.

      The middle-aged Frank in “DR2 Off the Record” was pretty haggard, but that version is technically non-canon and can be disregarded.

      DR4 Frank does look a bit too young, but still older than his last official appearance imo.

      • Jpkurihara

        Isn’t Case West canon?

        • Anton

          Not as far as I know; it directly conflicts with the events of the standard game’s extended ending.

          • Jpkurihara

            You mean the Overtime ending? That one isn’t canon actually. And seeing as how Chuck’s alive in Dead Rising 3, then it’s in accord with Case West. Frank saves Chuck, both go to Phenotrans, do their business then Chuck goes into hiding possibly in fear of retaliation from Phenotrans.

          • MJC

            Off The Record IS canon. Dead Rising 2’s overtime ending is not.

            Which is good really, because DR2 overtime was pretty stupid, even by Dead Rising standards.

      • MJC

        Case West is canon though, and he looks the same there as he does in Off The Record.

        • Anton

          Well, shows what the fuck I know, haha. Seriously though, it’s kinda awful that the totally cool secret ending is fake and the paid DLC is real.

  • I hate timers, so I might actually get this one.

    • Landusk79

      Same here it whole damn reason why I bought Case west case “free roaming mode sure you can’t do story mission you know what, I don’t mind I have more fun mashing zombies really enjoying the gd game play then Be stress try to get shit done and have to Keep starring the damn clock like reminding me if I don’t hurry this up in next 5 mins I gonna fail the story line.

  • Landusk79

    Thanks for the review Jim now I have to see if the boss them of the psychopaths are good I mean not only I love beating up zombie america X style but there are hit and miss boss theme Like it why I love DR2 case of Celldewller they got me into that band.

  • ManuOtaku

    If it is a mixture of dead rising 3 and saints row 4, count me very in, and picture me very happy.

  • Sharadufobash

    I reckon sillyness and OTT weapons and scenarios are going to get bigger in games because there’s a kind of safety in them.

    The games jouralism cliche of “You’re riding a through while shooting from a ! How awesome is that?” seems to stand out like a lighthouse indicating where there is safe passage through critical waters.

    In the age of denunciation it’s a good move to demand no-one takes you seriously.

  • CrazyJua♏

    I’m the guy who’ll miss the timer. The timers made DR what it was. There’s a finite number of ways to kill Zombie in this game, if its boiled down to only open world Zombie killing it’ll get boring fast, IMO.

    • I liked DR3’s timer where you had a less stressful timer option then the one that was more like DR1.

      I like a challenge but god damn if the original one wasn’t a pain in the ASS to beat ….nevermind get the better endings hah.

    • Anton

      Most definitely. The thing I liked about DR1 was that it was not player-centric. Events did not wait around for you, and if you screwed up, you screwed up. It gave the game a unique sense of urgency.

      • diamond

        That was interesting, but the original game had a ton of other problems, like survivors being morons, not being able to attack or jump when talking on the radio, respawning enemies(fuck those convicts so hard), awkward inventory management, etc.

        • Anton

          Oh, absolutely, it was a clunky as hell. You had to work to love it.

          But here’s the thing: it was unique. You certainly can’t say that about the 3rd or fourth installments. I’d rather have something flawed and interesting, rather than something that tries to blend in and becomes regularly mediocre because of it.

          Of course, you’re free to have your own opinion and all, and I understand why some people can’t get over the first one’s problems. I guess I’m just slightly salty that the later sequels got made for people that dismissed 1 and 2 rather than loved them.

          • diamond

            Yeah it was unique, but not always in a good way, I still enjoyed it and i’ll probably get the HD version on Xbox One at some point, but I definitely feel like the sequels improved upon the original game big time.

            I personally don’t care much about how much “identity” a game has as opposed to how enjoyable it actually is to play. DR3 was immensely enjoyable for me, I couldn’t give less of a fuck how unoriginal it is(and like Jim has said before, people way too often tend to overemphasize innovation and totally dismiss anything that’s not original) as long as it’s fun to play. I didn’t feel like DR3 was trying to “blend in” or “mediocre” at all, just changing direction(much like how Judas Priest was not trying to “blend in ” with Turbo so much as just experimenting a little bit)

            I care far less about how “interesting” a game is as opposed to how enjoyable it is, Team Ico’s games may be “interesting” but I do not find them at all enjoyable.

            DR3 still feels unique to me and DR4 looks unique cause of it’s Christmas theme.

            I don’t think DR3 was made for people that dismissed the first two games, I think Capcom just wanted a change in direction in response to other zombie games like Dead Island.

          • Anton

            That’s fair. Different strokes and all.

        • MJC

          Nobody ever accused DR1 of being perfect. It had its problems, some of which were fixed by DR2 (hey look, a bluetooth hands-free headset so you can attack and radio at the same time!). I’m actually fine with survivors being morons because if they weren’t morons, they wouldn’t need your help in the first place. Plus it wasn’t too hard to wrangle them once you realized that it was better to tell them to go to a waypoint than tell them to follow you.

          But just getting rid of everything completely is the same stupid bullshit Mass Effect 2 did. “Oh, the Mako isn’t perfect? Don’t try to fix it, just get rid of it!” Thanks BioWare.

          • diamond

            There’s a difference between survivors not being overly bright and being flat-out suicidal, many times they would charge directly into a swarm of zombies while unarmed and quickly get killed, that’s just terrible A.I. any way you look at it.

            Even if with telling them to go to waypoints, they’ll still stupidly try and take on ten zombies at once and get themselves killed if you’re not fast enough.

            I personally thought Mass Effect 2 was an amazing game despite me not agreeing with all of the decisions it made, I missed the Mako in spite of it’s awkward controls cause I exploring other planets.

    • Fallen Prime

      …is that the symbol for Scorpio? In your Disqus username?

      How even?

    • diamond

      I didn’t mind the timer so much, it was that combined with only being able to save in certain spots, I think Off the Record did it right by keeping the timer but letting you save whenever you wanted.

  • Anton

    I have no idea whether I’m more disappointed that the old-school DR is dead, or happy because the new one is good despite that.

    • MJC

      I know the answer to that very clearly for me: disappointed. There were plenty of other games like Dead Rising 4 already available. The only games like Dead Rising 1, 2, and OTR are, well, Dead Rising 1, 2, and OTR.

      • Anton

        Yeah, I may be leaning in that direction as well. Watched some gameplay videos today and it’s just so…. meh.

  • Reclusiarch Reclu

    Unrelated to this review: so you probably won’t be reviewing Killing Floor 2? It’s out of Early Access in incredible shape and it’s a blast to play, one of those few examples of an EA game turning out great.

    • Anton

      I feel like KF2 would be hard to review because of how little there is to it.

      • Reclusiarch Reclu

        Jim has reviewed games with little gameplay variation or game modes on them before, so I seriously doubt “how little there is to it” applies at all.

        • Anton

          It’s not even how little variation is there, but that the core gamplay loop is so simplistic. Yeah, the gunplay is great, but unlike KF1, the sequel doesn’t have that much teamwork emphasis, or tactics to learn. Once you learned how powerful the medic-berzerker duo is, that’s it, no room for improvement other than honing your aim.

          • Reclusiarch Reclu

            I disagree: I enjoy a lot playing practically all the classes but zerker and medic. Yeah, it might be that there’s less emphasis on team synergies, but the gameplay is way more engaging, fast and fluid.

          • Anton

            It’s not about enjoyment but effectiveness. The zerker-medic team will tear through anything.

            I do agree though, the other classes are more fun to play. I’ve been partial to the sharpshooter myself, despite the fact that in terms of sheer efficiency that class sucks. I just love the M14 too much.

          • Reclusiarch Reclu

            Yeah, effectiveness wise I can agree, but I’m not a powergamer, I enjoy what I enjoy and try to be as effective as I can with what I like to use.

            And heck yeah, M14 rocks so hard!

          • Anton

            I try not to be, but it really annoys me that in KF2 the pray&spray classes level up way faster, because you get XP for monsters that you hit but not kill. So a good SWAT/commando/pyro/support player can get XP for nearly every monster killed on the field, while the lowly sniper gets way less because he gets less bullets.

          • Reclusiarch Reclu

            mmmh hadn’t tought about that before, and you’re totally right.
            To be frank, I mostly played solo ’till reaching high levels with support, commando and gunslinger, so probably that’s the reason as to why I didn’t noticed that before.

            I agree the game has problems, but the good stuff tramples those problems, at least to me. But I get what your saying 😉

    • Considering how the first game was well regarded and it’s an established developer, I think there was little doubt it was going to be good out of Early Acess.

      The Early Access problems are typically speaking, new developers and IPs.

  • Camilo Fernández

    I mean, yeah, I’m happy for whoever finds the new game enjoyable.
    Sadly for what I’m reading… it doesn’t appeal to me, since I’m one of those weirdos who enjoyed the ticking clock mechanic, and the fact that replaying the campaign was basically essential to the experience (and in a more freakish way, I didn’t found the escort missions SO annoying).
    I undertand wanting to make the game more accesible, but… at what point the removal and changes of mechanics leaves you with a compelitelly different experience?
    Glad for everyone who gets to have fun with DR4, I don’t think I’ll be getting it.

    • Aaro Kaija

      When trying to make a game for the original fanbase, there IS NO POINT in the removal and changes of mechanics.
      When trying to sell to more people, there is a point in the removal and changes of mechanics.
      Believe me, not liking newer Dead Risings doesnt make you a weirdo,
      but addressing it in such civil manner, might in someones eyes make you a weirdo.
      I am very much in the YEAH KILLING ZOMBS IS FUN category, so while I empathize with people like you, I also kinda dont, FUCK YOU, as I like newer Drs more. Maybe the best choice would have been making Dr3 and 4 spinoffs to not kill the original series.

  • dennett316

    I found the new Frank to be grating, and the voice performance fairly weak, after only half an hour of exposure in that IGN video…I don’t think I could stand him throughout an entire game. I never got the sense he was an actual character, just a vapid quip spouter. It all adds on to the “wacky” vibe they’re very obviously striving for, and I just don’t think I could stand to play the game. The original couple of games had a unique quirky feel and presentation that seemed effortless, this on the other hand seems coldly constructed in a cynical way that’s really off-putting. “Oh look, he takes inappropriate selfies! That’s wacky, right kids? Look out for the Selfie-Poses Pack, only $2.99!!!”

    • Aaro Kaija

      How many selfie poses could such pack contain?!
      If it had enough, I would maybe actually buy such horror.
      But if we want to be realistic, capcom would just release some Dead Rising 4 Mega Omega Selfie Combo Edition Pro League, or something

  • Malidictus

    Well, this might be the first Dead Rising I could give a crap about. Time limits, escort missions and the other toss associated with the old games never appealed to me. If you like those, great – you had games you could enjoy. I didn’t. A new game in the series which removes the things I hate is something I’d be interested in. Let’s hope it has customisable keybinds this time around.

    • MJC

      Meanwhile, you had plenty of other franchises offering something you could enjoy with plenty of new releases coming, and now those of us who like Dead Rising as it was have nothing to fill that hole in our game libraries.

      • Malidictus

        Except… Dead Rising. And Dead Rising 2. Those haven’t gone anywhere, as far as I’m concerned. Besides, what do you want from me? To dislike a game that looks interesting to me because you dislike it?

  • Terriosaurus Hex

    Will there be any jimpressions uploaded of this and the guardian of last at all? I don’t know how the embargo works with such things, but it would be good to see them in motion. It’s a pity about the lack of psychos, they were my favourite part of previous games. In fact, their colourful characters and sudden “wtf” difficulty spikes really helped cement something more than just a homogeneous memory mass of zombie slaughter; it injected personality where it was desperately needed. I sure hope they haven’t syphoned it out for dlc, not that I can even play it due to exclusivity!

  • bimmyz

    i dunno, i dont like post DR3 pseudo realistic look, DR2 had more vibrant colors that contrasted the zombies, gore and blood.

    • diamond

      This game actually does have pretty vibrant colors, it’s not as muted looking as DR3.

  • spyro2060

    Gonna be blunt here, I fucking hated Dead Rising 2, I got it for free on XBL Gold and it was as fun to play as a video game version of Schindlers List (that’s called hyperbole, for anyone who decides to take that seriously), the game play was stiff, boring, unresponsive, sluggish, the story was as dull as dish water, I enjoyed nothing about the characters, the visuals were uninteresting, REALLY wasn’t a fan of it. So in saying all that, I may actually check this one out, it seems to have a heavier focus on engaging game play and it doesn’t seem to be sucking its own fucking cock, so I’ll happily give it a shot at some point

    • Anton

      I don’t know man, Schindler’s List sounds like a solid management sim.

      They could even get a fighting game spin off called Schindler’s Fist, and a Wolfenstein-esque Nazi shoot-em-up called Schindler’s Pissed.

      …maybe a Surgeon Simulator-type game (Schindler’s Cyst), and a dating sim (Schindler’s Tryst).

      I’m so sorry, I’ll stop now.

      • C. Peter Roberts

        No need to go on, anyway. We’ve all got the Schindler’s Gist of what you’re saying.

        • Anton

          Not yet: we’re forgetting the epic Chuck Tingle erotic book: Schindler Jizzed.

          • Huttj509

            Nah, it’d be “pounded in the butt by a blu-ray copy of Schindler’s list”

          • InfamousDS

            We also forgot the high-fantasy spin-off title “Schindler’s Wish”, about a lovable genie desperately trying not to succumb to his inherent nature due to the consequences his actions would create.

      • CaitSeith

        That Schindler’s List management sim is genius! If I make it a game, I’ll make sure to thank you in the credits.

      • spyro2060

        Give me more puns, they fuel me

        • Anton

          I can’t, it’s just not punny any more.

  • Sperium3000

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, but the direction they went with it makes it clear it’s not for me. Pretty much every thing I loved about the series was taken out. I could even give it a try if the Psycopaths were still a thing, but you take them out and this isn’t Dead Rising to me anymore. It’s like Dark Souls without its bosses, it’s just not the same.

  • Colin

    Any word yet on PC performance?

  • Polishfury5000

    I really like that it has a Christmas theme too, and that it’s just an accessory rather than a narrative focus. Something who’s narrative focuses on Christmas itself could be tough to get into in another season. Something that just uses the season as an aesthetic can be great anytime, and seems great at adding to the wacky combo weapons.

    I can, and will, watch Die Hard at any given day of the year, but it’s that “ho ho ho” after “Now I have a machine gun” that makes it special.

    • MJC

      Die Hard is still the best Christmas movie ever made.

      • TaraMayB

        With Gremlins as a close second.

  • Viking Mana

    And here I was, assuming this was going to be awful, and that they were going to take it in a way too gloomy, edgy direction. Apparently they did alright.

    • Solipsis

      Not to sound smug, but did you not see any of the trailers? The game never portrayed itself to be edgy or gloomy. It was all about glory killing zombies with ridiculous weapons…

      • Viking Mana

        I’m not sure how that would sound smug. 😛 I did see a trailer though, but only the one. I’m not really attached to this franchise – It’s one of those that are sort of stuck in my game library, but I can never find the time to play it.

        The one trailer I did see, seemed to be a lot gloomier than what I’d made the other games out to be though. Given that we’re still not out of the “Focus-testing 13 year olds, because they totally know what good games are made of”-era, there was obviously a very real risk that another developer would have panicked and hacked up their own successful franchise and put together some edgy freakshow with the pieces. x)

  • Mike Wallace

    Dead Rising has become the kind of zombie game where you pretty much play one of those giggling bikers from Dawn of the Dead (the original and best), who ran around the mall hitting zombies with pies and end up getting killed because you were distracted by a blood pressure tester while surrounded by zombies.

    • gasmaskangel

      Which is honestly sorta what I want from a zombie game.

  • diamond

    I’m sure Total Biscuit won’t like this one much, he’s been pretty vocal about how he disliked the direction the series was going in.

    I for one thought the first game was full of problems despite being fun, having both a time limit and limited save spots was just overkill, the game should’ve had either one or the other, not both.

    This game sounds really damn fun.

    • MJC

      Having a time limit and limited save locations was kind of the point though. Obviously it wasn’t going to be for everyone, but for those it was for, it was fantastic.

      • diamond

        Maybe so, but a bunch of other bad design choices worked against it, I feel like Off the Record did it right by ditching the godawful save system and still keeping the time limit.

        Having both just felt like overkill to me.

  • InfamousDS

    Welp, I think people got tired of blind outrage at Jim. Just over 50 comments here, and only 300 on TLG’s article. Other releases would have had twice as many on both articles by this point in the day.

    • Doogie2K

      The site was also a wee bit fucked earlier today. Probably part of it.

    • Chris

      Check again. 700+ on last guardian. More outrage on that then DR4.

  • By Saints Row territory, do you mean this game features the glorious crooning of one Aerosmith?

    I hope so, that and zombies together in the same gane will make this a must buy!

  • Donald Milliken

    I’m glad to hear that the game is pretty good, though I still can’t help but wonder why Capcom would bother to bring Frank back only to change him so much. It just makes no sense.

    • Donald Milliken

      I mean, he’s supposed to be older and more grizzled and yet is somehow younger and prettier. Explain that one. Off the Record, where he was depicted as gross and out of shape, seems truer to the character to me.

  • John Ryan

    The only DR game I tried was 3 and I quit the second I saw the timer. I cant stand any open world game that gives you a finite amount of time to explore it. It defeats the purpose to me. Same reason why I never got into Majora’s Mask. So good on them for removing it. Then again I started hating Saints Row when it got over-the-top goofy. So I’m torn on this one.

    • Solipsis

      This! So much this. Any explorable world with a time limit shatters my enjoyment so fast it’s not even funny. I might actually try Dead Rising now that it isn’t time-gated.

      • Sammich

        You’re effectively saying that you might try dead rising now that it isn’t dead rising anymore. I know it wasn’t for everyone, but it was a fun game and it stinks to see it homogenized into something else.

        • Solipsis

          First of all, I am saying that..somewhat, however I disagree that it’s not Dead Rising anymore.

          This notion of change making something ‘not itself’ any longer is a goofy one at best. Whatever the devs decide to do with an IP, as long as it carries the title, it still remains that title despite what disgruntled fans might say or think.
          FF15 is still an FF game even if it’s action-based combat and not turn-based. Resident Evil 7 is still an RE game even though it is a first person shooter now.

          The title is what matters here, and while I totally get why you guys are mad at the changes, (I would be too if it was a franchise I adored), I think the idea that it’s not Dead Rising is silly from the reasons above.

          You can extend this to music as well. Many bands change a lot but they keep their name. Does that mean they aren’t the band that they call themselves? Who has any right to say they are not simply because the direction they are going isn’t interesting to you (not you specifically). Everything changes with time and experience and taste. Trends too, with games especially.

          I hate time mechanics and I hate it more in open worlds so yes, I am happy with the changes as someone who hated the original DR (I respect it and respect that people don’t like the new renditions).

          One final thing.. I think it’s a bit hyperbolic to suggest that it’s not itself when you’re complaining about one mechanic. If the game looked, played, and was presented differently altogether, you’d have more meat to this argument but really, it’s still a third person action open world game starring Frank West. It’s different but it’s not so different that it needs a new name… at least, not in my opinion.

          Cheers!

          • FlamingoJet

            Actually, had you actually played any of the previous games besides 3, you would know, understand, and learn that the timer that everyone bitches about, which frankly I’m getting really sick of, was key to the ENTIRE experience.

            Everything was built around knowing how much time you had left. Where to go, fastest route to get there, who you could save, where were the healing items and weapons at; all while trying to get to the bottom of what was going on. The games were designed to be played multiple times, they were designed to teach you that failing or running out of time, was a learning experience. and you take what you learn and you get farther.

            Dead Rising 3 may have had a massive city to do stuff in but I can’t say I remembered damn near any of it because there isn’t a reason too.

            It’s just THERE. There’s no real point to it or to remember where anything is and frankly no reason to care, either.

            If you aren’t pushed by a time limit or mission, what’s the point of remembering where anything is? If you can just set a GPS coordinate, why care about how to get there the fastest?

            This is what people, critics, like Jim and others do not understand about why vetrans, and I say this as not being one of them, are upset about the direction the series went.

            It removes any of the point and it’s just another stupid, goofy, open world game. No reason to care about the world, no reason to care about it’s characters beyond their story implications, and no reason to remember or learn anything.

            Why were there escort mission in a SURIVIVAL ZOMBIE game? Because you are saving people. Not everyone is just a badass and can look after theirselves and while DR was egregious with it’s escort AI, that was drastically fixed in DR2.

            DR2 is truly the best game in the series, possibly DR2OTR just because of the Frank thing but DR 3 and what looks to be DR 4, are a pale comparison, indeed. I don’t even classify them as zombie survival games anymore.

            Now, I’ve not played 4 but from what I’ve read and heard, it’s sounding nearly like 3 except amped up and that’s NOT a good thing.

            It’s just another open world game.

          • Solipsis

            I personally think that one of the laziest ways to make a game worth learning as you suggest, is by putting a stupid time limit on everything.

            Like I said in my post. I respect the fans that want the timer, I just do not and I do not want to play any game that has a time limit on everything. It is not fun for me.

            I also said I appreciate the fact that this isn’t what fans wanted, nor did I claim to say that this is the game we SHOULD HAVE. I’m simply saying, it is up to the devs to decide what the game is, not the fans.

          • FlamingoJet

            “it is up to the devs to decide what the game is, not the fans.”

            Only thing that you said there I can actually agree with.

    • Charlie Koszulinski

      Honestly, I payed the sandbox mode in Dead Rising: Off the Record and was thouroughly bored within an hour. Without any survivors or bosses, it gets old real quick. I can slay zombies all day long with all these different weapons. Ok, what else can I do? I could partake in some mediocre mini games and reach for a high score. Pass. What else? You can… um… well uhhhhh… that’s it.

      As far as Majora’s mask goes, you’re depriving yourself of one of the best Zelda games ever made. The game revolves around the timer. The whole world of Termina is cursed to repeat the same 3 days over and over until you break that curse. Besides, you an manipulate the timer to make it go slower, thus doubling the length of the 3 days.

  • Ernesto Prishker

    So Dead Rising developers listened to the fans. What fans? I don’t like all the changes and other people I’d consider Dead Rising fans seem pretty pissed about them.

    • Anton

      By “fans”, they mean people complaining that DR1 was not the same as other open-world games. And in their defense, there actually are probably more people like that than DR1/2 enthusiasts.

    • Sammich

      Of course they listened to the fans: fans of GTA, saints row and dynasty warriors.

    • MJC

      By fans they clearly meant the total opposite: people who weren’t fans. People who were bitching that they didn’t like the game and it needed to be changed because heaven forbid they just not play something they don’t like.

      And instead of being a niche title, Capcom abandoned the core of the franchise to appeal to those assholes who still aren’t going to pay attention anyway because they already decided they hate Dead Rising. Ugh.

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go bitch at the creators of Gran Turismo that I hate racing sims and they need to put in arcadey controls and items to use against the other races because fuck just ignoring Gran Turismo and playing Mario Kart, I have to bitch and bitch and bitch until every game caters specifically to me and fuck everyone else who already likes what the game currently is.

  • Vohaul86

    Played DR2: Off The Record some time ago (bought it in the Halloween sale), and I soon came to understand why people love the old Frank so much. (I actually bought the original DR2 first before I realized I’d bought the “wrong” version. Damn how Chuck was bland…)

    I also liked the time limit (even though that forced me to restart Day 1 before I learned to manage the time Frank had in each Case), and after beating the game I played in the sandbox mode – and that was boring as f*ck. The time limit pushed forward and set some clear goals, and without it I was totally lost. Yes, I could craft some new weapons and get some of the missing trophies, but that was about all… (But to be honest I’ve also always loved the time limit in the first Fallout and sneered how Fallout 2 lets the player goof around for years while his/her tribe mates are being used as Enclave’s guinea pigs.)

    • MJC

      You… You get it. I like you. 🙂

  • Derrek

    So only slightly worse than uncharted 4?

  • MJC

    “Truly, this is a travesty and insult to the name Dead Rising.”

    Yep. I don’t care how good this game is on its own merit, I’m not spending $60. I’m not going to reward them for homogenizing the franchise to be like every other open world and/or zombie game by buying this game at full price. Maybe in a year or two, when this game is on sale for $5-$15, I’ll pick it up to have fun with it for what it is. But $60, right now, which would send the message that I support what they’ve done? Fuck no. Maybe I’ll buy the Dead Rising 1 PC release tomorrow, but I’m absolutely not buying Dead Rising 4.

    Also performance does matter and screw what they did to Frank West. Doesn’t look or sound like the Frank West I know and love. They might as well have just made a new character.

    And they took out psychopaths too?! Fuck. Fuck fuckity fuck fuck.

    • Jack Trevor

      Welp, that’s too bad.

      Because the “homogeneous” market out numbers the niche market. Which is what you’re part of.

      • bloodspray51

        Thanks for your incredible insight!

      • Charlie Koszulinski

        Yeah, the game hit the top of the charts, so any protest you do now is moot. Might as well just buy it and sell it for less than half the price.

    • Anton

      Playing DR1 on PC right now. It takes an hour or so to get used to again (the jank is real), but after that it’s just as glorious as I remember it, all at 60fps and whatever resolution you set it to. Plays very smoothly too, but I have an overpowered PC and so can’t speak for everyone.

  • Jack Trevor

    I don’t care how much of a departure it is from the series, this sounds like ‘Die Hard’ the zombie game. Also sounds like a decent way to restart interest in the series.

  • ATBro

    The timer was always the thing that sort of defined what set the DR games apart from others, but it has always been the thing I hated about playing them. The tight time limits stressed me out and drained the game of all fun, for me. Couple that with a terrible gameplay “feel” and they just didn’t grab me at all.

    • Arella Jardin

      I agree, I hated the time limits. In fact, the time limit felt out of place with the core gameplay. They give you these environments to explore, tons of zombies to smash, and lots of fun ways to do said smashing…. but then tell you to stop playing around and get the next objective as quickly as possible? It’s counterintuitive.

      • Jason Zuke

        You can avoid rescuing survivors to give yourself way more time though, while still being able to complete the main story and explore the mall. I always appreciated that playing DR “optimally” was insanely difficult, but that you could also just mess around while enjoying the story.

        • Brandon Mack

          I never understand the stress people get from the earlier games.

          • Chris

            I think some people (like me) have a mindset that they might only be able to play through a game once and want to do everything on their first play through.
            Note. Never played DR1 since I didn’t have a 360 🙁 but I watch game grumps and now I’m kind of glad because it looks really clunky.

          • Charlie Koszulinski

            It was a bit clunky, but the remaster is only $20 and I can’t recommend it more. There’s so much I love about Dead Rising, from the story to the mall to the psychos all the way over to the “everything’s a weapon” gameplay.

            Plus, you could just fail the main story and enter the free roam from there. There will still be psychos and survivors to rescue, but you would need to start the game over to continue the story (which is how it was meant to be played anyway).

            Or, there’s the survivor mode with no story, no survivors, no time limit, just you, a bunch of zombies and psychos, and a whole mall to yourself. Granted, your health does deplete slowly over time (hence survivor).

            I highly recommend it and Dead Rising 2.

      • Charlie Koszulinski

        I was reading the comments of another article where someone was explaining that Dead Rising is similar to a rogue like. You’re supposed to keep going as far as you can until you fail. From there, you start a new game plus with your current level and all your upgrades and abilities. I never put it together that way before but reading it actually made sense.

        I never had a problem with the time limits. In fact, I loved the time limits and escorting survivors. It added a sense of urgency to the game. Without a time limit, it just doesn’t make sense. Normally in Dead Rising, the military is going to blow the shit out of the city you’re in, so the time limit made sense. You have 3 days to blow the lid off this conspiracy, or else it vanishes in the purifying fire of a nuke. Without it, I feel like the villain is just sitting around waiting for you to kill them. If I were him, I’d do what I came to do and get the heck outta there. No point in waiting around for the bombs to show up.

        Either way, I might get Dead Rising 4. I probably won’t like it, but it’d be a fun distraction for awhile.

  • Endlosung

    So on the PC this is a Microsoft store exclusive right? Mr. Jim “Fucking” Sterling could you specify if a game is exclusive to a PC store under format in your review? I was going to go put this on my steam wish list only to find its not on steam, and i will be damned before i support the Microsoft PC store.

    • Anton

      Timed exclusive. It will be on Steam in spring 2017.

  • Spurious K

    I had to stop and think about what’s putting me off DR4. I’ve only played DR2: Off the record before in the series, I believe it was technical problems with DR3 on PC back when it launched that stopped me getting it. But the more I look at DR4… I think it’s the tone that’s doing it.
    To continue Saints Row comparisons that have been made, DR2:OTR has a surprisingly similar tone to Saints Row 2 in that there’s wackiness, most of it is kinda low-key or just built into the setting in a fairly typical action movie way, where doing things like using a helicopter gunship to deal with a rival’s super-weed farm is a reasonable solution, but it’s in stark contrast to just how psychopathic and brutal Player is, which in its own weird way keeps the whole thing somewhat more grounded than it should be. Where as in DR2:OTR it’s the sheer brutality of the zombies, psychos, and the overall plot with discovering the cause of the outbreak. Frank providing a nicely stable point of reference for players to interact through. For the most part he was an asshole. But because he had to be to convincingly deal with the shit going on. A common complaint I’ve read of DR3 is the protagonist is really bad at convincingly dealing with events, leading to a weird disconnect between gameplay and the character’s reactions. Can’t really be said of Frank West. He’s covered wars you know.

    But at this point I am having trouble working out if DR4 has really gone as far as Saints Row 4, where the insane stuff went so over the top it became the core gameplay and plot with the more psychotic elements of Player being played for comedy and directed at far more legitimate targets than in 2, or if it’s being Saints Row 3 where the wackiness wasn’t really in contrast to anything but also it was not so integral, and so felt like it was trying too hard to be silly for the sake of it, rather than to lighten up and counterbalance the other elements.

    • Maniate

      That’s a great comparison. The initial DR and SR games played the stories mostly straight and had the craziness in the game play. Subsequent titles were the wacky antics of the Saints or the wacky zombie killing adventures of DR protagonist.

  • Dallium

    Didn’t one of the Arkhan games happen during Christmas Eve? Origins maybe?

    • Arella Jardin

      Yes, but who would want to play BA Origins?

      • Michael Alexander Seiler

        I do…

        • Henriette Gaston

          It’s really not bad once you’re past the bad intro and before the save file gets corrupted.

          • Michael Alexander Seiler

            Well, judging by how some people rant about Origins having your save file corrupted is like a blessing in disguise.

  • Lloyd

    Words cannot express how glad I was that they (basically) got rid of the escorting of survivors. Escort missions are second only to QTE’s of my most hated game mechanics so to be Frank (har har har) I’m fine with the direction the series has gone, from a stressful aggravation to something far more enjoyable. So I’ll happily give this a shot too, plus it will give me a reason to turn on my Xbone again.

    • fire lion

      They should get rid of the health bar. Dying kept me from enjoying the game.

  • Chad

    So strange… Watch Dogs 2 beating Dishonored in score and now Dead Rising 4 beating The Last Guardian. 2016 has been full of surprises!

    • Nejo Goldsmith

      Well don’t forget, this is just one man’s opinion. It really depends on each person’s preference. I’ve seen many people praising The Last Guardian, and many disliking it. I usually trust Jim’s opinions, but I don’t ALWAYS see eye to eye with him. Neither should anyone with any critic.

      • Chad

        For me, Jim is the only reviewer I listen to anymore. I cannot stand IGN or the other big reviewers anymore. Jim’s reviews just feel… human to me. They speak to me because he calls games out on their bullshit and I love him for it. Thank god for Jim.

  • Antigonius

    So…any reason why should I play this and not, for example, State of Decay?

    • Michael Alexander Seiler

      They are kinda different games though. Sure both got zombies in it but SoD is closer to a classic survival game, with ressource management focused to keeping people alive and stuff while Dead Rising´s stupid fun time zombie bashing.

      • Antigonius

        That’s the problem I thought that DR1 and 2 were…serious game. Silly at times, yes. But not….this…now I’m sad.

        • Michael Alexander Seiler

          I wouldn´t really say they were serious. They had serious undertones.

          • Maniate

            The story in DR was played completely straight and it was dark as fuck. All the fun was in the gameplay. This is the wacky zombie killing adventures of Frank West.

  • Maf

    I don’t understand why they can’t just have two modes: Hardcore and Casual. Casual would play like DR3/4 where there are no time limits, you have plenty of inventory space and possibly more hp and Hardcore can play like DR1/2 where there are time limits and resources are scarce. I mean it wouldn’t even be that hard to implement, its mostly just adding in timers and tweaking gameplay. If they wanted to get fancy they could make it so Casual mode survivors are saved when you clear the zombies around them and Hardcore mode survivors you have to lead back to the safe house.

    • fire lion

      That would require them to stop chopping the game up for DLC.

  • Okay, but what about the rumor, and since I haven’t found a credible source yet it is still a rumor, that the games “true” ending will be payed DLC?

  • Brandon Mack

    I guess this is a skip for me. DR3 became a chore to finished and the double down isn’t for me.

  • Putang Inamo

    Huh, I didnt even know that this was an Xbone exclusive.

  • CogInTheWheel

    Didn’t even notice this review til now. Sure reads like a fun time, I’m glad the timer isn’t in the base game.

    Too bad the ending wasn’t as good, but that’s a small price to pay for varied zombie smashing :p

  • Alex Ashe

    Dead Rising 1 is my second favourite game of all time, and I despise the third game, because it’s too gritty. It’s too much of an action flick, it’s too flamboyant. It’s too tonally serious, and it seems too easy. Granted, I’ve never played it, but personally I think that DR 1 feels more vast, and has more depth, without using half as much space. It was clunky, but in my opinion it was the best zombie game of all time. On the other hand, this game could be okay. I don’t like that they completely remade Frank, but I wouldn’t mind giving this a play, if I had an xbone. Thanks for the read, Jim.

  • Jiryn

    I love the series and this game, but the only set back I found is the fact that Overtime Mode and the 2nd, real ending to the game is locked behind a DLC Pay Wall.

    For those getting this game, Overtime mode is not included, it has to be purchased with the “Frank Rising” DLC pack which will be released at a later date.

  • supercrotchinator

    It’s “ostentatious”, Jim. No such word as “austentatious”. Unless it’s a UK thing.

    • Llyander

      Maybe he was referring to the Jane Austen stage show? 🙂

  • Maniate

    Time limits in DR force decisions. Do I save this survivor or that one? Can I take a shortcut through here and risk a psycho spawning? DR without time limits is a shitty musou game with zombies.

    I will never understand how Japanese devs can write American characters and the dangers of Western mass consumption better than Canadians. Even the psychos in DR1 are more human than anyone in the later games. Seeing this game, it feels like the devs didn’t even understand Dead Rising. It wasn’t the wacky zombie killing adventures of Frank West. The beauty of what the Japanese devs pulled off was that they played the story perfectly straight. Babies are ripped from their mother’s arms. Consumption is run amok. The government is testing chem/bio weapons in poor nations. A Vietnam vet flashes back to the war after watching his granddaughter pulled down and slaughtered by zombies. Everything is played seriously and that’s why you cared. All the fun was in the gameplay, killing zombies with whatever you had at hand, often hilariously. These guys completely flipped it. The only thing they take seriously is the combat, with idiotically overpowered combo weapons that just mow down hordes. I hate it. I’m just glad I have DR HD now to get over it.

    • Dimas Arellano

      I agree with you, Saints row is silly and weird while Dead rising 1, 2 and, some parts of 3 is very serious about the situation, I don’t mind the time limits, but they decided to remove it and ruined the fun that made dead rising what it was, now it’s an apocalypse version of Saints Row even though the game’s finished (I think), and Frank West isn’t Frank West anymore.

      P.S. Sorry for the rant, but Capcom please stop make a game that’s similar to dead rising.

    • RocketSparkle

      No, time limits are awful and I’m glad they are gone. I’m just sad they removed story co-op.

      • ThinkerT

        You’re both right – and wrong. Time limits can be an effective plot tool – it makes no sense in a lot of games (e.g. Skyrim) that effectively say “You’re the hero and unless you do this the world will end! But feel free to screw around with side quests until you get around to it.”

        However, the time limits in the original DR were outrageously restrictive. Those combined with the limited save points basically allowed you to get trapped into a no-win situation because you had no idea how long things would take. (Having the clock continue to run during boss fights was especially frustrating, such as when you’d finally whittle the boss’s health down to about 1/10th and have the clock run out.)

        As with most things, there’s likely a happy medium in there that should be strived for.

  • Anthony Lindo

    What I wanna know is why did they remove the ability to combine food and drink items? I thought the combo food system in DR2 and DR3 was pretty awesome. Although the DR4 is incredibly easy so I guess the combo food thing was not necessary.