“I used to lie in bed in my flat and imagine what would happen if there was a zombie attack” -Simon Pegg
Zombie outbreaks are never taken seriously, especially considering that we have yet to face the threat in real life. The fantasy of a zombie apocalypse breaking and invading our lives gets us thinking. Are we ready for it? Do we have the necessary tools and knowledge to survive and/or contain it? What can you use that is at hand’s reach as a weapon?
English actor Simon Pegg asks the same question some of us might have. What would happen? Well, in a universe where zombies are real and in great numbers, we welcome our original hero back for some crazy slaying action.
E3 2016 Trailer
16 Years following the events of Dead Rising, Capcom icon, journalist and somewhat madman weapon’s smith Frank West makes a comeback. Once more, the government is responsible for hiding the truth behind the events responsible for the current outbreak, and again, his job is to go in the field and investigate. Can West achieve the feat once more and report the truth, or will he be zombie brain food?
The tale starts off with Frank West dreaming about the outbreak that took place in Willamette, Colorado a few years back. Following the dream, he finds himself helping a student, Vick, gather intel for a story involving the government. Vick convinces him, but unfortunately, her emotions get the best of her. The events lead up to a special operative visiting West. Even though he was completely shut down by the government, the spec op pushes the hero to go back where the new outbreak took place and cover the story well. This time, there can’t be any mistakes; all the evidences are required.
With Vick involved in a certain way with the outbreak, Frank feels inclined to accept and do the right thing. Welcome to Willamette…again.
The Dead Rising series is notorious for its button mashing mechanic and incredible arsenal of weapons and blunt objects. Almost everything you see lying around can be used to defend yourself and kill zombies. Weapon wise, you can find some interesting shotguns, handguns, blades, rifles, crossbow, and more. As for blunt objects, you can lay your hands on everything from a chair on the ground to “Wet Floor” plastic sign. If you were in such a predicament, virtually everything you would think of as a weapon, is in the game.
The crafting system is also available. From time to time, you can stubble upon blueprints. These give you the “ingredients” you need to build cool and dangerous tools. For example, early on the game, you are forced into crafting a hammer with explosives on the end. Not only melee tools can be done! You can also craft ranged weapons, such as mixing a crossbow with fireworks, that deal insane AOE (Area of Effect) damage. Those crafted tools usually help you a lot more than using basic stuff, so make sure you take the time to test some of those mixes.
Now killing zombies is fun and Dead Rising 4 delivers on that fun properly. What would happen if you were in that situation? Well, you would basically do the same; make tools that are stronger and can protect you against as much zombies as possible. As much fun as taking them down is, the game’s core movement and targeting mechanics break that pleasure.
Movements are slow and feel very unresponsive. The camera angles don’t help in some cases, which creates an aggravating feedback that can sometimes slice your health away. If you were already low, you can die from something like that. Not the kind of death you want to have in a game.
Targeting also isn’t on par. You can change the sensitivity, yes, but regardless, the controls aren’t precise. At times, you are required to act fast and unless you have high skill points in shooting, the aiming just feels out of shape.
Enough with the mechanics! Let’s talk about the game itself.
Dead Rising 4’s setting reminds its players of the original city where the entire series started. As you progress through missions, you must uncover the truth. Find Vick, gather evidence, save as many people as you can, and your reward will be worth it. The story might be cheesy and predictable at some point, but that is where the charm of the game is. It offers exactly everything you would expect from a Dead Rising game; some elements even root as far as the first title of the series. You have a main mission, and as you head towards your checkpoint, you will stumble upon needy individuals. However, not everyone you meet is on your side. Keep that in mind!
Helping citizens in need, killing zombies, completing missions and shutting down threats grant you experience you can use towards leveling up your skills. Depending of the kind of player you are, you can put points in to make Frank West either stronger in melee combat, better with blunt objects, more efficient with weapons and aiming, or/and grant him better survivability. You start off with a few slots for your tools, weapons and consumables, but as you level up and become stronger, you unlock more slots. Ultimately, you want to carry as much items as you can to increase your chances of survival.
Compared to the other titles of the series, the game is slightly a little more difficult. The difficulty comes not from the missions, but from the new zombies. Traditionally, the undead in Dead Rising are quite manageable. Even when things get a little out of hand, there is always a way around them – usually through them. That said, Frank West is facing a brand-new type of zombies and they have bright and glowing red eyes!
As West puts it, zombification normally takes hours, sometimes days to take over the host’s body. Early on, we witness someone being bitten by one of those red-eyed zombies and transform within seconds. The new zombie also becomes red-eyed and as it turns out, those are super aggressive. Every time you see one, get your heavy gear ready because they will stop at nothing to jump you.
Dead Rising 4 brings forward exciting new elements while focusing on retaining the core ones shared throughout the series. Movement and aiming might not be suitable for zombie-slaying moments awaiting ahead. However, the unoriginal story telling answers some of the questions you might have meant to ask Frank West. Set aside what brings the game down a slope, it offers incomparable fun. Killing zombies has never been so exciting and crafting weapons to do so, and using them, feels like running in a field of flowers.
Out of the entire Dead Rising series, the first one caught my eye. I used it as a reference to the following two games, but unfortunately, they failed to deliver what I enjoyed most. The confined space and freedom of using everything at my disposal is what made me enjoy the game. In Dead Rising 4, many of those elements were back and some of them, a lot more fun than they used to be.
However, the slow movement, clunky camera angles and poor aiming system are what killed the game, in my opinion. Yes, it is fun to bash zombie skulls with 2×4’s and shoot them in the face with a crossbow, but as soon as you are put in a situation where your life really depends on it, the camera and movement tent to mess everything up. If it is part of the game, it makes the entire experience a lot more aggravating than challenging. If a little effort was put into making the controls just a bit smoother, I believe that the it would make Dead Rising 4 one of the best parody zombie games out there.