Dead Rising 4, like the third game before it, has been locked behind a contract allowing it to only be on Microsoft platforms like the Xbox One and PC; but now the updated version, called Frank’s Big Package, has been released on the Playstation 4 and gives players who own the Sony console a chance to play the series once again.
Game Name: Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Developer(s): Capcom Vancouver
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Price: $49.99 (North America) / $99.95 (Australia)
In 2022 (a year after the zombie outbreak in Los Perdidos, California,) Frank West, a former photojournalist now working as a college professor, is approached by one of his students, Vicky “Vick” Chu, who convinces him to help her investigate a military compound, situated on the outskirts of Willamette, Colorado – the site of the first zombie outbreak. Once inside, they discover that the place is being used for zombie research, but are discovered and forced to flee, with Frank labelled a fugitive after he is falsely accused by the government.
Four months later, after Christmas, Frank is found by Brad Park, an agent of the ZDC, who convinces him to help investigate a new zombie outbreak that started in Willamette during the Black Friday sales, in exchange for the means to clear his name and having exclusive rights to the story, revealing that Vick has already left to investigate the matter herself.
Just as they arrive at Willamette, Frank and Brad’s helicopter is hit by a missile, forcing them to make a crash landing in the middle of the shopping mall. Upon confronting the zombies, they discover that they are infected with a new, more aggressive strain of the parasite that previous treatments like Zombrex are ineffective against. Frank eventually discovers that an elusive organization called “Obscuris” is in the city looking for a monstrous creature called “Calder”, and reunites with Vick on a few occasions, but their opposing views prevent them from working together.
Frank manages to approach an Obscuris truck carrying Calder, but it drives off, leaving him to confront an Obscuris lieutenant. Upon investigating the laboratory of Dr. Russell Barnaby, the main scientist behind the zombie outbreak in Santa Cabeza, Mexico, Frank learns that during his last days, Barnaby was developing ways to make zombies with their human intelligence intact, and that Calder was a human soldier enhanced with a military exoskeleton who worked for Obscuris who was transformed by accident into an intelligent but violently psychotic zombie-like mutant, but not before downloading Barnaby’s data on a disk that he always carries with himself. Frank finds himself having to confront him in order to retrieve it.
Frank later invades the base of Obscuris and faces the leader of the organization – and the one responsible for bringing down the helicopter carrying him and Brad – Fontana. Fontana reveals that their group was not responsible for the outbreak, but was hired by an unknown client to obtain Calder’s data, seeking to use the research on intelligent zombies to make cheap labor for factories and plantations in developing countries. Their confrontation is interrupted by Calder, who kills Fontana. After rescuing several survivors from a group of psychotic survivalists, Frank pursues Calder down to the sewers, where he steals the disk and transfers the data to his camera. Vick appears with a gun, forces Frank to give her his camera, and flees after destroying the disk. Frank runs after her all the way to the shopping mall where they are intercepted by Calder, who destroys the camera, and the two work together to kill him.
After the battle, Vick reveals to Frank that she took the camera’s SD card, containing all of the disk’s data, and they reconcile, agreeing to share the credit for the story. Frank, Vick and Brad leave for the rooftop to be extracted via helicopter, but a massive horde of zombies pursue them on the way there. Brad and Vick make it to the helicopter, but Frank is grabbed as he is boarding and, unable to break free from their grip, sacrifices himself to them so Vick and Brad can escape.
The gameplay in Dead Rising 4 is pretty stock standard for the Dead Rising series. You get to roam around a decently sized chunk of a town and fight your way through zombies and maniacs. As in previous games you collected items and combined them into more powerful weapons once you get the right blueprint. You do get special items from time to time that do big damage, but for the most part you are going to be running around looking for anything to useto keep the undead at bay.
A good secondary mechanic is the investigation sections. These invoke a very Batman: Arkham series style as you use your camera to look for clues in a closed off section of an area in order to progress the story. These get a bit more interesting because you have 3 modes for your camera: Nightvision, normal and heat scan. You are using all three of these to look around these areas in order to make sure Frank gets the shots he needs in order to tell the tale of Dead Rising 4.
Graphically Dead Rising 4 is amazing. Once you get out of the mall in the beginning of the game, you really can see how much power your console has. Dead Rising 4 features hundreds of zombies on screen at any one time and does not suffer any slowdown at all. While Dead Rising 4 does take some very simple shortcuts to keep unneeded graphics like clothing and things in store to a minimum in order to allow more rendering power to the models on the screen. When playing other modes like Capcom Heroes and Super Ultra Dead Rising 4 Mini Golf, you really notice that Dead Rising 4 is a very colorful and vibrant game, sure there is also a lot of blood happening all over the place as you splatter the undead all over the place, but it doesn’t change things too much. Seeing Frank covered in blood after a long battle just shows the quality that goes into Dead Rising 4.
If there was something graphically n Dead Rising 4 to complain about is that the camera does do a few weird things in the later scenes, like it does one scene from one shot, then changes to another shot of the same scene as it plays out again. I think there might have been some rogue coding missed in the final edition or this edition or somewhere. Another small issue is that sometimes the mouth movements do not match the dialogue at all. So I don’t know if there was a different version of the script used or again if there was some rogue coding left in.
Sound in Dead Rising 4 isn’t something you’ll notice in many of the modes as you are playing, with exception of Super Ultra Dead Rising 4 Mini Golf where you will notice all the cool Street Fighter character themes playing during loading screens and during each course. Outside of that though, you don’t notice the background tracks at allsince they are usually overpowered by the sounds of zombies getting splattered all over the place. So all that really leaves is the voice acting, which for the most part is awesome. Having Frank West back as the main protagonist of Dead Rising 4 is a great choice… Even though late game there seems to be an issue with audio not playing correctly or at all. I know this is not a disc issue since my review copy of Dead Rising 4 was a downloaded version, so there is no chance of the disc skipping.
If you thought that you were just getting the main Dead Rising game with all the Season Pass DLC, you are wrong. Dead Rising 4 adds a lot of great extra content for you gaming dollar. You get 3 extra game modes to play through along with the extra costume DLC content such as the Street Fighter Costume Pack (Featuring Guile, M. Bison, Zangief, Cammy, and T. Hawk) , Seasonal theme packs (Stocking Stuffer Holiday Pack & My Bloody Valentine), and all the extra preorder exclusive content (Candy Cane Crossbow, X-Fists, Steampunk Snowman Head & Slicecycle).
- Frank Rising: The Frank Rising DLC is an interesting addition to the main story as you play as a zombie version of Frank with all new abilities as he fights to regain his humanity. This one was interesting more so due to the fact that not only do you play after the main hero dies, but as a zombie that you have been beating the shit out of in the main campaign. Though not ading too much to the main formula, Frank Rising does invoke a nice story based version of the ending to Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare.
- Super Ultra Dead Rising 4 Mini Golf: Mini Golf! Yeah baby! You get a chance to play solo or against up to 4 friends on one of 5 mini golf courses with their own obstacles and traps. It’s highly enjoyable for the most part as you hit the ball around these courses, the only issue being that the aiming controls are terrible button pressing trash that sends your ball into the dead zones more often than not… But you do get to hear a lot of awesome Street Fighter character themes as the background music so it’s cool enough I guess.
- Capcom Heroes: Capcom Heroes is the bomb! You play through the main campaign mode but instead of collecting and making weapons, you use Capcom Arcade machines littered around the world to transform yourself into Capcom characters ranging from Akuma, Ryu & Cammy from Street Fighter to Dante from Devil May Cry, Arthur from Ghouls and Ghosts, etc. Capcom Heroes is the main draw to buying Frank’s Big Package and it alone is money well spent. I would recommend playing this version over the standard campaign mode any day.
At the end of the zombie apocalypse, Dead Rising 4 is a great and fun romp and it has been a shame that the series got locked behind a very large and very long contract with Microsoft. However now that the Playstation 4 has a copy of Dead Rising 4 to call it’s own, I can say that this has well been worth the wait. A special mention to Capcom Heroes as it was the mode i decided to play in first. It was a lot of fun to play and even got me interested enough in the game to finish it all the way through twice!
A zombie killing good time
Dead Rising 4 is a great game, and this expanded edition only makes it all the more greater. The addition of Capcom Heroes and Super Ultra Dead Rising 4 Mini Golf are just icing on the cake when it comes to this zombie splat fest. Some audio and graphics issues do hurt the game near the end of it all, but overall Frank does have a great Big Package.