Deck the malls with bouts of folly

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - PREVIEW -

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.

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