Dead Rising 4 takes us all the way back to where the franchise started in 2006. We return to in Willamette, Colorado, in and around the very same mall with our original anti-hero, the over-confident journalist cum zombie slayer, Frank West. West is older now, but still hungry for the same scoops and 16 years after the original outbreak, a fresh wave of the zombie virus causes him to dig up what he thought was yesterday’s news. And on Black Friday of all days.
Cue endlessly jolly Christmas music, twinkling lights, a dusting of snow, festive wreaths, toys and cutesy animatronics as you attempt to survive against the biggest onslaught of zombies West has ever faced. And new types too, with the frustrating psychos of old replaced with new, intelligent and distressingly fast infected.
In reality, no amount of superhuman zombification will stop the hordes from quickly becoming fodder for your arsenal of ridiculous weapons. Dead Rising 4 is a playground for mischief-makers as it plays on the ridiculous, childish and downright silly. It slaps fireworks on crossbows and turns Christmas decorations into grenades to fire from t-shirt launchers. Weapon-crafting creates glorious chaos and the creativity is grin-inducing.
That’s before you’ve eased West into the game’s new exoskeletons too. The addition of power armour for the zombie apocalypse turns you into something not unlike a human tank. Punch holes clean through the undead or use its mammoth strength to wield mini-guns or cosmic axes. You can even supercharge it with other, more elemental powers.
Despite the chaos, West is still a journalist at heart — and a cocky one at that. Armed with his tech-enhanced camera, he takes on the role of detective, investigating, reporting and snapping his way to the truth — maybe even taking a selfie or two along the way. It makes for some compelling gameplay, and even a decent storyline.
Dead Rising 4 is great fun and more than a little bit bonkers. A top-notch story and new toys to play with make this a high point for the series, with the only real mis-step being the shoddy, shopping-trolly-gone-mad driving.