Dead Rising 4: XBox One Review
Platform: XBox One
Released by Capcom
Guess who's back, back again?
Frank West is back - tell a friend.
This time, in the fourth outing for the franchise, he's putting the Slay into Sleigh Bells as Dead Rising 4 has a Christmas tinge all the way throughout.
(And a light jazzy series of interludes when you place it on pause... just in case you're anti the festive season).
The cocky, blase photographer from the first game is finally back where he belongs in this zombie fuelled blast of festive silliness that's as gory as it is goofy.
Once again, it's back to Willamette, Colorado the place of the undead (all touches of subtlety and mocking of small town life are once again to the fore) and the scene of Frank's previous encounters.
This time, he's tricked into heading back to the mall after one of his proteges alerts him to a conspiracy at the heart of Willamette - and it's once again back into the Mall for another bloody rampage.
With a mysterious outbreak fuelling the fire this time around, there's a little feeling of deja vu, but thankfully the developers have realised that Frank's fractious and frivolously unPC take on things is the way to breathe some life into the undead.
A lot of the game just feels fun - it's not an in-depth precis and expose or satire of small town life - and while there's a bit more to the just zombie outbreak story line, the bare bones of this hack and slash beat-em-up is in the way it embraces its gory MO and runs with it.
Smacking down a stack of zombies builds up a bloody combo for Frank to unleash on his prey - usually in the form of a gory cut-scene that's as tongue in cheek in its splattery execution as it is bloody. But there's also variety here - whichever weapon you choose to rack the combo up will ultimately dish out the death. Early on, Frank can be transformed into a whirling dervish of an executioner when the tank's full - so there's plenty of variety on show here.
Night vision and spectrum analyser vision have turned Frank's camera into more than just a machine of snapping shots - this pap's got powers now in a weird way that help dig deeper into the mystery of Willamette and give you a new way to play the game.
It's worth taking a hat off to Capcom and acknowledging they've found a way to keep this latest fresh, while simultaneously engaging with what made it so popular in the first place. Along with an EXO suit to power up Frank, Fresh zombies (newly reanimated undead who race at you and rip you apart) and Evo zombies (cunning killers), there's plenty to keep it weird.
The Xbox also coped with an extraordinary amount of the undead on screen for Frank to unleash his combo weapons on - one section alone saw around 200 plus of them hacked and smashed by Frank's blood lust - it's almost as if Sam Raimi's gone beserk in the gaming world and we're all benefiting from the final result.
(FYI Multiplayer will be more solidly tested once the game's been launched worldwide, to see how the servers cope.)
At the end of the day, Dead Rising 4 deserves major kudos for its execution, for giving us Frank back after the disappearance in the 2 previous games and for really throwing some life back into the undead apocalypse.