Dead Rising 4: Frank's Big Package499
Since its inception, the Dead Rising series has had its ups and downs. Even then, however, the series has always had one very good thing going for it: comedy. Dead Rising (2006), the one that started it all, tried to be a serious zombie game, but in the end, its comedy took over. By the time that Dead Rising 2 (2010) and 3 (2013) released, the franchise used comedy as its central selling point.
When Dead Rising 4 released in 2016, it was no secret that the game would feature wacky costumes and hundreds of ways to murder zombie hordes, all whilst the protagonist quips random one-liners and sort-off funny jokes. It worked, pretty nicely. At least, for Xbox One players it did. Now, two years later, Sony players finally get to play the game, along with a bunch of new and returning goodies, all in one package. Frank’s Big Package.
Old man Frank [Story]
It is no secret that the series started out with comedic intentions. The only thing that changed is the dramatic narrative that quickly turned into a zombie survival gore fest. Dead Rising 4 is no different in that regard.
In fact, the comedy in Dead Rising 4 seems to be a lot more direct than its predecessors. To give you a hint, you just have to look at the name the new PlayStation 4 release comes in. It really is that blunt. Similarly, Frank seems different than his earlier self. His quips and one-liners are funny, and his demeanour helps to cement the fact that this is not a serious game. Not in the least. Even then, however, the game comes with, you guessed it, the vanilla Dead Rising 4 story included. The vanilla game, which is the unmodified, no-crazy-DLC-changed version, is pretty fun. Frank West returns in Dead Rising 4, to yet another zombie-infested mall during Christmas season. He feels older and wiser this time around, and when I say wiser, I really mean smarter in zombie-killing ways.
The story starts when Frank responds to helping one of his former students. She asks him to help her investigate a military compound on the outskirts of Willamette, Colorado — where the first zombie outbreak started. Things go wrong, and Frank must flee. Fast forward four months, and Frank is found by Brad Park, an agent of the ZDC. Here, Frank is tasked with investigating a new zombie outbreak. After this, Frank will have his name cleared and be a free man. The gameplay officially begins when Frank and Brad’s helicopter is shot down. It lands on the roof of a shopping mall.
In essence, Dead Rising 4 seems to follow a story that is similar to the plot of the original Resident Evil, kind of. The zombies are back, and the “new” outbreak mentioned above makes them immune to Zombrex. They are stronger and much more aggressive. The story is not the strongest aspect of the game, but at least it is there in terms of this new outbreak. It is up to Frank to find out what this new outbreak entails, and how it can be stopped.
Some things change, some things stay the same [Gameplay]
Perhaps one of the biggest changes from the previous instalments is the removal of the time limit. This allows for much more methodical gameplay. There is no need to rush from objective to objective before your zombrex runs out, or someone dies. The lack of a timer lets you actually enjoy exploring, and collecting, and boy is there a lot to explore and collect.
While the collectables are not exactly fresh after just two days of gameplay, they are plenty. There are tons of weapon blueprints to find and an absolutely exhausting number of investigations to follow through, and graffiti to photograph. The best part of it all is that every collectable found also has added benefits.
While weapon blueprints are obvious, you also find stuff that converts into currency, training manuals that allow you to get stronger; and various bits and pieces of lore and backstory. The story itself is pretty neat, but I have to admit that I quickly got lost in the mall. There are so many things to do here that I did not feel any need to continue on with the story, for hours at a time.
Just in case you did not find everything there is to find, the game also features a New Game+ mode. So you can play it over, with all progress and weapons still in your inventory.
Frank’s got a gun [Frank’s Big Package]
Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package is, as you might expect, the “Director’s Cut” of the game. It includes all previously released downloadable content (DLC), as well as some fixes and changes that make the experience a bit better.
The first and most important part added to the game is Frank Rising. This is an extra chapter in the Dead Rising 4 story that takes place after the events of the game. Frank Rising brings the return of the timed events and missions I praised the removal of, above. You see, much like in the first game, you are slowly turning into a zombie. It is up to you to find a cure.
The second biggest DLC included is a new game mode called Capcom Heroes. This is a really strange one where Frank basically cosplays as the biggest and baddest Capcom characters. You also get their abilities, whether they are magical or not. This means that you can play as characters like Ryu, from Street Fighter, and throw fireballs at zombies; or even MegaMan and shoot huge blasts at them. Instead of ammo, these abilities have cooldowns; while the costume you are cosplaying with has a timer.
Aside from the two major additions, Frank’s Big Package also includes the Super Ultra Dead Rising 4 Minigolf mode. This is a fun little mode that has almost nothing to do with Dead Rising. In this game mode, you get access to three types of golf clubs. Using one of those, you have to hit the ball into the hole, which is pretty self-explanatory. What is not, however, is that you also have to hit coins, and score zombie kills as well. It also comes with a slew of customisations and extra blueprints that Frank can use in-game.
In addition to all of that, the package also includes all released DLC. This includes costumes and weapons from the Stocking Stuffer Holiday Pack, Streetfighter Costume Pack, My Bloody Valentine Pack, Candy Cane Crossbow, Slicecycle, Sir-Ice-A-Lot, Winter Sweater, and X-Fists.
Ace of Frank’s Base [Performance]
I read online that Frank’s Big Package runs better than the original Xbox One version. While I cannot attest to this, I can say that it runs spectacularly well on the PlayStation 4. I had zero noticeable frame drops, but I am not sensitive to that kind of thing at all.
Loading is also pretty fast, considering how big the game’s explorable locales are. I must say that the startup usually took a long time to load up, but as soon as the save game is continued, and the game is loaded, any other loading times are minimal at best. The game runs in a natural 1080p resolution on PlayStation 4, while it features 4K ultra-high-definition mode on PlayStation 4 Pro.
A package worth receiving [Conclusion]
Dead Rising 4 is a highly enjoyable game. However, the game’s best aspect is also its biggest weakness: there is just so much to do. The Frank’s Package version of the game not only adds a proper last chapter to the story, but it also comes with every single DLC released in the past. It adds multiple new game modes, a bunch of new costumes, and loads of new weapons. As if that is not enough reason to make you consider it, remember that it also brings Frank back from his hiatus in the series. The character that started it all may be a lot older, and a bit more cynical, but he is still the cracking photojournalist the world loved with Dead Rising.
The game runs as smooth as you would expect from a one-year-old port. The extra time that went into the development, really shows — especially with the bugfixes and ironing out of the kinks.
In the end, Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package is the best way to experience the game. It runs really well and comes jam-packed with content. The humour is a hit-or-miss, depending on the kind of player you are. Regardless of that, however, it is a worthy port that fans would do well to purchase and enjoy.
|Time to Complete||20 Hours|
|Acquisition||Review copy courtesy of Ster-Kinekor Interactive|