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I’ve been a casual player of Dead Rising over the years, so the big changes the series has seen since its inception don’t bother me. If you’re a hardcore fan of the time limit and are angry it’s not in Dead Rising 4, I’m sorry you’re not happy but I can’t pretend to know much about that. What I do know is that on paper Dead Rising 4 (once again an Xbox and Windows exclusive) has a lot of the ingredients that I assumed I wanted from a zombie game.
Dead Rising 4 Ingredients:
- Loads of zombies (like, actually so many you think, woah, that’s a load of zombies)
- Loads guns (not just normal ones, either, but quirky ones)
- Loads of melee weapons (axe, hammer, lamp, plank, PC, wreath – yes, a wreath)
- Loads of weapons you can throw (grenades, basketballs, acid, molotovs)
- Ways to make new weapons (an electrified wreath!)
- Vehicles to drive around (including mobility scooters)
- Ways to turn vehicles into killing machines
- A non-conventional, funny main character
- Tonally not as bleak as The Walking Dead (lets you play dress up while doing the killing)
- Photo mode isn’t just a token gesture, but a gameplay mechanic
OK, so I didn’t really think I needed a selfie option in a zombie game, but it’s actually one of Dead Rising 4’s features that works in a kind of so bad [to take a pic of Frank pulling a silly face while stood in front of a mutilated body] it’s good way. What doesn’t work so well is the rest of the game, which is both a shame and a little surprising.
Dead Rising 4 isn’t terrible by any means, but it feels like the many elements that have gone into it add up to very little of substance. Aside from the gunplay (which comes across very poorly, especially after an end of year packed with great shooters), the mechanics here are solid, but the whole package is entirely throwaway. I am completely indifferent to the game (unless the game is hard crashing or spawning an NPC from the ceiling over and over so I can’t complete a side mission, in which case I’m pretty pissed).
There are points when it’s clear what the dev team’s vision for Dead Rising 4 was. Driving a buggy tank through more hobbling bodies than walk the streets on a sunny day in Eastbourne, at the same time blasting from a mounted gun, it’s all very gungho and next-gen, at least in terms of spectacle. But the wow factor conjured up by displaying hundreds of walkers is quickly lost, and all that’s left is a competent if rather soulless zombie killing game.
If I don’t want the zombie game that I thought I did, then what do I want? Well, I think the answer is that I want more games like The Last of Us (which is why I’m happy a sequel is being made, even though I do think they could have made it a one shot). Dead Rising 4 has character in the same way Barney from How I Met Your Mother is a character. There are some amusing lines now and again, but no one to actually care about – even if that one bit where he did ‘Stand by Me’ with his brother is AMAZING.
Perhaps it’s time Capcom reboots the series and takes a stab at creating something with more of a human element. Maybe it’s just me, but without a reason to care it’s hard to see the point in hours and hours of zombie massacring. State of Decay gets a lot of things right, but it’s clearly (and maybe the sequel will address this to a degree) not the big budget offering Capcom could put out. It’s time to put the comedy to bed and develop a true zombie survival horror game. I’m pretty sure someone over there knows a thing or two about that kind of thing.