Review: Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package (PS4)

Review: Dead Rising 4: Frank's Big Package (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (68.71 GB)
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Original MSRP: $49.99 (US), £44.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package is an open world zombie game but with a different tone and approach than most.

Instead of trying to scare or force you to sneak around, you’re given access to a vast arsenal of crazy weapons.

This version also removes the timer that the series is known for. Now there is nothing forcing the player to reach the end of the game and to make hard choices about the time they have to complete things.

The game starts off on the right foot with the tutorial dropping the player in the middle of large crowds of zombies and immediately laying waste to them. As the different weapon types are introduced, a new path is cut through the horde.

There are powerful and dangerous enemies but the zombies are not much of a threat unless they surround you. The large groups them are really here to be the canvas for your art of destruction.

To that end, you’re provided with an in-game camera to document your art. Experience points are earned as the photographs are ranked in different categories. To really drive home the fun and unique nature of the series, you can also take selfies.

There are numerous outfits that can be found while exploring and even more that can be purchased and you can mix and match them however you want. I may have missed it, but I never saw anything that said I could use a mirror in the safe houses to change outfits. For hours I wore a stupid firefighters helmet that I accidentally equipped when trying to pick up an item.

There are plenty of collectibles for completionists and a few of them add interesting tidbits to the story. You’ll also find weapon blueprints scattered throughout the world. Even better, instead of having to find a crafting bench, you can create combo weapons in the field as you pick up items.

All weapons have limited durability but there are so many lying around that I was never worried about having one. After a certain point, I had so many blueprints that most of the items I found could be used to create a combo.

The mix of weapons is not always consistent though. I went through large areas without ever finding a grenade or throwable weapon. The newest item picked up is also automatically equipped. When I was not paying attention, most of my weapons would have low durability or ammo except for the item I just picked up. A option to keep your current weapon equipped would have been greatly appreciated.

On the easiest difficulty, mashing the attack button until a prompt for a special attack will carry you through most of the game. On the higher difficulties, dodging attacks and stunning enemies becomes more important.

Despite the simplicity of the combat, it never felt old or repetitive. A sword is fast, while an axe, although powerful, has a slow swing and is not always the best to use when completely surrounded. Besides, not too many games allow you to kill a couple hundred zombies while traveling to the next objective.

Despite a number of changes and patches compared to the Xbox One version, Dead Rising 4 is still a buggy game. I fell through the world a few times, and for about five hours the guns would only fire semi-automatically. What good is a sub-machine that only fires semi-automatically? Unfortunately, at a later point the guns stopped firing automatically… again.

I also had to restart the game once because I was standing right in front of an NPC but the game said I was still three meters away. I was unable to interact with NPC to continue the story. I had to reload checkpoints a few other times as well. After dying during the last boss fight, I had to restart the chapter because there was something wrong with the saved checkpoint.

The bugs are not the only annoyances. There are unexpected difficulty spikes throughout the game. When this happens, you’re told to grind for some XP and try again. Some of the checkpoints are far apart and while you’ll retain your XP if you die between them, you’ll lose any cool weapons found along the way. It can be frustrating having to go through the same area over and over again.

Finally, there are no manual saves but there’s also nothing that shows how long since the last save. To be sure I would not lose any progress I would have to trick the game into saving by taking a picture.

Visuals:
The graphics are well done with variety in the different environments. However, there is little variety in the different enemies. Most importantly, there are there numerous animations for all the different combo attacks. The nice thing is that at times there can be a couple hundred zombies on screen and I never noticed any bad frame drops.

Audio:
The music is a big tonal switch from the massacre of zombies. It’s smooth and calming, especially the excellent jazz music. Listening to a slow country song or butcher’s market commercial just makes plowing through zombies with a vehicle that much better.

Online/Multiplayer:
Continuing with the over-the-top fun, Capcom Vancouver created a mini golf mode that can be enjoyed by yourself or against others. Despite being called mini golf, you can use a driver, a wedge (which is actually a rake), or a putter that’s a comically oversized sledgehammer.

Killing zombies with the giant golf ball along the way will earn you extra money and while this isn’t something that will bring most people back months later, it’s worth checking out for a few chuckles.

There are also co-op missions separate from the main game. This would probably be fun playing with friends but it didn’t hold my interest when playing online with random people. For one, I spent a lot of time leveling Frank up and finding every blueprint I could and did not relish the idea of having to do that all over again for an online character. Also, each location is pulled from the game and each objective is basically kill zombies. I was really hoping for some more creativity with the missions.

Conclusion:
The unique tone and style of Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package makes it stand out from all the other open world zombie games. The are little improvements that would have made it better but those are overshadowed by the game’s bugs. The bundle was released on PlayStation 4 a year after the game was originally launched so most of these issues should have been fixed by now.

With so many great games to play and so little time, I would normally bounce off a game after encountering some of these bugs but there’s just something about the over the top craziness and emphasis on fun that really grabbed me here. I stuck around for 17,959 kills and cannot wait to jump into the single player DLC.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

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