Death of the Critic

The Backlog - Dead Rising 4

Written by: Tom Blaich


I have a confession to make. Like many of you reading this, I have a list of games that I’ve been meaning play for years. I have way too many games on Steam, and a stack of cases sitting next to my TV. Close to five hundred games now. Maybe more. It makes me feel guilty. I haven’t touched 90% of them in one way or another. I need to fix that. So this week, I dug deep into my
backlog and pulled out a game. I want to play all of them; I’ve just never had the chance. Now’s the time.

Zombies might be a bit overdone the days, but the Dead Rising series has always brought its own unique look and feel to the genre. They are dumb, but in the best sense of the word, and no other game quite matches the amount of action on screen at one time. When you boil them down, they are essentially Musou games, where you run around and slap zombies with increasingly ridiculous weapons. In this sense, Dead Rising 4 definitely delivers. While it does tone down the number of weapons from 3, it has a world that is big and fun to run around in, and the return of Frank West brings the franchise back to its roots, in more ways than one.


You head back to Willamette shortly after the start of the game, the site of the now infamous outbreak from the first game. In the years since, the town has been repaired and Frank has become a professor of journalism. One of his students is eager to expose a government conspiracy and drags Frank back into the undead mess. But he is still just as big of an asshole as he was before, and he quickly alienates the girl with his callous indifference to the lives of the zombies that he is bashing. She ditches him, zombies break out, and weeks later he is once again dragged back into the situation to try to figure out who is behind the mess.

They try to work in a plot line about Frank suffering from PTSD, but it is left by the wayside approximately twenty minutes into the game in exchange for more jokes and Frank acting like an asshole while he bashes zombies and pisses off survivors. It is unfortunate because this depth is sorely needed in making Frank into a somewhat likable character instead of an unrepentant douche that I have trouble caring even an iota about. This is sort of what they are going for, but it just doesn’t work for me.


There isn’t much different about this game compared to the last two. You still combine weapons and vehicles. You still have story missions with vast swaths of zombies spread in between. They did make a few changes to make the game more palatable to a wide audience, like removing the annoying survivor escort tasks and limited saving areas. Instead, once you kill all of the zombies around a survivor, they run to safety on their own. Psycho battles are easier and less plot center than they were in the third game, and the heavier reliance on guns over melee weapons make the game feel easy. They are plentiful, powerful, and the easiest way to wipe out a horde. Combine that with the huge numbers of normal human enemies that carry them and you will almost never run out of ammo. I enjoyed the combo weapons, but guns were just more efficient, allowing you to kill dozens in just seconds.

In more ways than one, it feels like a watered down version of 3, and the few new features they did add, like the return of the camera from the first game and the eco suits, just don’t feel like that much fun. The game is still a blast to play, with a big world and lots of collectibles to find. But like any Musou-like game, I played it for 20-30 hours and I have no interest in going back anytime soon.



Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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