Dead Rising 4 REVIEW

BY Jason Hojnacki | January 22, 2017

Frank West, Christmas and zombies...what could possibly go wrong?

Let's get this out of the way, Dead Rising 4 is probably my least favorite Dead Rising game. And that sucks because, despite my reservations about the series returning to Willamette and bringing back Frank West, I loved everything about this game pre-release. The game was fun at E3, the trailers were solid, the Christmas theme seemed rad and as a whole this looked like a Dead Rising game I would love. So, let's find out what happened...

Is this the same Dead Rising we know and love?

No, not at all. This is a watered down version of the franchise that stole hundred of hours of my life over the years. The mission timer that added a sense of urgency to the gameplay is still gone. Psychopaths have been replaced by Maniacs, who are little more than normal enemies with a health bar. You can create combo weapons anywhere on the map, which basically removes the need to ever use anything you find laying around. Why use a chair when you have 8 Ion cannons in your arsenal at all times? Speaking of weapons, they just didn’t feel good to me. Hitting zombies with a baseball bat didn’t feel as satisfying as I remember and at the same time, the combat felt a lot less smooth than in the past. Health is everywhere, like to the point where I never came close to dying (except when I was trapped in some level geometry). So while this game looks like a normal Dead Rising game, it plays like like babies first video game.

Frank West is back, is that a good thing?

It could have been, unfortunately this version of Frank West is lame as hell. An old, grizzled Frank West coming out of retirement to save the day should have been great. Instead we are treated to a version of Frank, is in my opinion, an unfunny, poorly written ego maniac, instead of a sarcastic prick, who I couldn’t help but hate. If that was the goal, mission accomplished.

Tell me about the weapons, are they still ridiculously over the top?

Yeah but the gimmick has start to run thin. I still like the idea of combining normal items into super weapons, I just start to check out when I am pulling these elaborate creations together in the middle of 50 zombies. There are a few winners here, the Blast from the Past(oversized sledge hammer that exploeds on contact) was a constant for me from beginning to end, but the gamelpay was so stale I found myself sticking to a few proven winners and calling it a day. Same rang true with the vehicles, they were ok, but I never needed anything more than a regular car so I only really used them when they were right in front of me.

What are your go to weapons?

Ion cannon. Make a bunch and breeze through Maniacs and the final boss like butter. Side note, this is a super shitty Dead Rising universe weapon. Also, fuck the Exo-Suit...seriously, fuck it so hard that I never have to use that shit ever again.

Let’s talk about the gameplay for a second, is it fun to kill thousands of zombies?

Sometimes, I guess. At times I did find myself randomly lobbing grenades into crowds of zombie just to watch them fly through the air. The stages are also designed in a way that seems to purposely make driving through hordes of zombies as annoying as possible. In most of the games when you got a car you could do laps around the city slaughtering hundreds of zombies at a time. While you can still do that, I feel like the designers ruined part of that fun by randomly placing cars, poles and brick walls in places that kill any flow you might want to have. It’s needless, annoying and just another thing that makes we wonder about the dev team. That leaves out the new Exo-Suit...which was just another thing that I found myself avoiding unless needed for a mission because it just wasn't much fun to use...which is crazy to think about when you look at the screenshot below.

Tell me about all of the whacked out psychopaths in this game!

They have been replaced with Maniacs, who suck. There are no patterns to memorize. They have no backstories. They look like little more than normal enemies with different skins. They offer no challenge. They are a complete waste of your time.

Dead Rising 3 wowed with it’s zombie count, has this gimmick lost it’s luster?

Yeah, the 1000 zombie on screen thing does nothing for me anymore. That’s not to say that it can’t, because it totally can, it’s just this version of it is so rudimentary that I don’t care. These things have pretty much zero ai, similar animation and haven’t really changed much since Dead Rising 1. Make the horde do something and then I might be impressed.

Having the game set against a Christmas backdrop is great though, right?

Honestly, the best part of Dead Rising 4 is the fact that it’s Christmas themed. The remixed classic Christmas tunes are perfectly executed and the mall has just the right amount of Christmas flair to be believable. In a game chock full of missteps, this was hit out of the park.

Did you find yourself exploring the stages in search of the blueprints and keys or did you just blaze through the game?

At first I did, but as the game wore on and the gameplay and story grew tired, I tapped out. As I went on I became less and less intrigued by the combo weapons which probably killed that “I need to see what other crazy weapon is out there” desire that the other games provided.

We saw you bitching on twitter about glitches, what was that all about?

Don’t get me started. I had the game crash two or three times, hard reboot the game crashes. I was stuck in geometry 4 or 5 times at the very least. After chapter 3 none of my survivor missions seemed to work properly and I had to either ram the survivors with a vehicle until the game registered all zombies were dead or I had to kill literally every single zombie on the screen...which was not the case earlier in the game, nor did it seem that was the way it was supposed to trigger. I also had a fun Time Played glitch that clocked my time with the game at over 200 hours, which I assure you was not the case. The best glitch of all happened as I was nearing the end of the game...I lost all voiceover audio during cutscenes. Of course you can’t switch subtitles on mid scene so I may never know what kind of amazing dialog I missed as the game came to its dramatic conclusion..

Finally, do you want another game in this world?

If it involves that shitty character Vick, then No. If it involves anyone else, then yes. Despite my negativity here I do want more Dead Rising as I love the insanity that the game provides. If there is another version, which I am sure there will be, I hope the team takes a few more chances and un-pussifies the game. Oh my god, I am officially a crotchety old man.


This is not the Dead Rising I know and love. It’s a watered down, shallow, easy mode version of the game that made zombie games cool again….which is a total shame.


Gameplay - 2/5
Difficulty - 1/5
Fun Factor - 2/5
Visuals - 3/5
Christmas Theme - 5/5
- Stale, boring, repetitive gameplay
- 1000s of zombies doing nothing no longer wows me
- Easiest game I have played since Kirby’s Epic Yarn
- Bad move to take out the psychopaths
- If you love Dead Rising, you still may have fun here