DEAD RISING 4: FRANK’S BIG PACKAGE
Deck the malls with bouts of folly
The hordes descend. Bodies are squashed into shuffling packs, seeking to satiate a hunger that can never be quelled. Those who fall risk being ground beneath a thousand feet. Yep, Christmas shopping season is nearly upon us again. Shudder. Dead Rising 4’s Frank West has a very cathartic notion of retail therapy, though. Clad in Ski Sunday Lycra, he fires his crossbow twice and two swordfish embed themselves in the heads of the freshly undead infesting the Willamette Memorial Megaplex. Over the speakers of the Caribbean Cove area, the voice of Captain Black Friday-beard reels off some nautically-themed savings puns. On deck awaits a technological treat for West: an exo suit, which offers a massive, limited-time boost in strength. Later, we’ll wield chain guns and signposts, and even modify the robot body suit into something like the love child of the Iron Man armour and a Slush Puppie machine. For now, though, fists will do. Not long after this, the piratical purveyor lies dead.
In case you missed its *cough* Microsoft formats *cough* release last year, by now it should be clear that Dead Rising 4 has cranked the series’ entertainingly ludicrous excesses up to extremes. No longer saved for bosses, maniacs such as Black Friday-beard dot the gigantic slaying grounds, which spill out of the Megaplex and across the town of Willamette. Regular killing tools break with ease, and so combo weapons are king, each more eye-tickling and bizarre than the last. And with every tool of close-up mayhem in Frank’s arsenal, you need only rack up the hits to unleash a crowd-clearing mega attack. This being a zombies game where quantity is favoured over quality, you’re going to need them.
But there’s a cost for such lavishness. While a Frank who seems to be reading from the Bender playbook is part of it, it’s a bigger change that’s polarised the fanbase: time limits are gone from the main story mode, and there’s just one ending. Like a poison-spewing hammer to the temple, these omissions decapitate much of the tension and need for multiple playthroughs that defined the first, smartly-paced Dead Rising. But when you can cobble together a zombie-lobbing catapult as a means of crowd control, it would be unfair to pretend there’s not ample compensation for those seeking a more relaxed end-of-days playground.
Frank’s Big Package doesn’t fundamentally fix anything, despite bundling in the Frank Rising DLC that ties off the main story and reintroduces an hour-and-a-half countdown. Instead, it doubles down on what Dead Rising 4 is good at, by including all the DLC weapon packs and costumes released so far, patching in new difficulty modes to suit all comers and throwing a bunch more Capcom fan service on top. Assuming your idea of fan service is a grumpy photographer dressed up as Zangief.
There’s more than mere aesthetics to get crossover fans excited. New mode Capcom Heroes will allow our wisecracking photojournalist to unlock not only the signature looks of his stablemates, but their special powers too. With Mega Man, Ghost Trick’s Sissel, and Cammy confirmed, and a dozen heroes promised in total, there’ll be a surfeit of fresh ways for us PlayStation owners to mete out punishment to the undead. And when you tire of slaying the hordes, a few holes of Super Ultra Dead Rising 4 Mini Golf may help you wind down.
Flawed, fun and bombastically crass, Frank’s Big Package may not be what every die-hard Dead Rising fan would like to find under their tree, but it’s a gift to lovers of gleeful carnage.