When it released late last year, Dead Rising 4 was one of the best titles of 2016 that PlayStation owners couldn’t play. Fast forward one year, and now Sony gamers have access to the definitive version of the game called Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package. This isn’t just a normal game of the year edition, though, as it also comes with gameplay tweaks and new content.
From a gameplay perspective, Dead Rising 4 continues right where Xbox One launch title Dead Rising 3 left off. As such, the game is more of a straightforward action title, rather than a strange grind with an imposed time limit. This changes the structure wildly, but it winds up being a net positive for someone like me who doesn’t want to continually play through the same segments. At its core, though, this is still Dead Rising, and there’s all of the ridiculous zombie killing and weapon crafting that one would expect from such a game.
This change also allows the game to be more cinematic in nature, and some of the writing in Dead Rising 4 is downright hilarious. The opening sees Frank West operating under the genius alias of Hank East until he gets swooped into yet another zombie-filled government conspiracy. Shortly thereafter, players are given the ability to freely roam around a gigantic map filled with ridiculous locations to kill zombies in.
One nice thing about Frank’s Big Package is that it brings several positive changes to the core gameplay (which was already plenty of fun). One particular area of improvement is seen in the artificial intelligence of human enemies. Ideally, these foes should offer up more of a challenge than a braindead zombie, and that finally is the case now. Fighting Maniacs are now a much more challenging affair, and they wind up being a real highlight of the experience. Additionally, new side missions called Distress Calls have been added that have Frank rescuing survivors and then leading them to safety while getting away from a group of zombies. These help break up the general mayhem, and players get a cool reward for finishing these optional missions.
Ultimately, the main game of Dead Rising 4 winds up being a real blast. It’s one that tells an interesting story, while also never taking itself too seriously. It’s a real balancing act, but one that Capcom ultimately nailed. It might not be the Dead Rising that players knew originally (although the harder difficulties replicate that better), but it certainly will leave the player having a blast by the time the credits roll.
Once the story is over, the real fun starts in Dead Rising 4. The PlayStation 4 release is filled with so much content besides the regular post-game, and there’s everything from multiplayer to single-player DLC to get through. Unlike Dead Rising 2, which I loved the multiplayer in, I didn’t really fall head over heels for it here. Rather than allowing players to just cooperatively go through the story (which wouldn’t really work that well here due to the more cinematic nature), this mode has players playing as random survivors competing to see who can get the most kills. It’s totally fine, if only because the core combat is so satisfying, but it all feels like busy work.
Since I never bought the DLC for Dead Rising 4, the first thing I did in Frank’s Big Package was play the Frank Rising DLC. It’s an epilogue that winds up giving Frank some very different skills from the base game. It also harkens back to Dead Rising‘s roots by introducing a two-hour time limit into the mix, so it winds up being a mix of old and new. Overall, it’s a decent addition (although one that feels a bit unnecessary as the regular ending fit better).
The best add-on, and what that is new to this updated release, is the Capcom Heroes mode. This is a new way to play through the story that changes the combat completely by having Frank West transform into various Capcom characters, and it has more in common with a Dynasty Warriors title than Dead Rising. Each character – even Frank West – has a set of standard attacks that are accessed by mashing the melee attack button, and then a set of powerful special abilities. This basically turns the game to an easy mode (at least on normal difficulty), but the action gets so ridiculous and fun to watch that it evens out.
Oh, and I guess I should mention that there’s the Super Ultra Dead Rising 4 Mini Golf DLC as well. This has players playing mini golf while wearing powerful suits of armor from the story mode. It’s a really dumb idea (which I mean fully as a compliment), but the golfing never feels solid enough for it to really have much value from a few rounds of entertainment. You’re ultimately playing the poor man’s Hot Shots Golf, and who has time for that?
Dead Rising 4 was already a highly enjoyable game when it released last year, but Frank’s Big Package really takes it to the next level. While not all of the DLC is a home run, the tweaks to the main game are all a net positive. The new Capcom Heroes mode is also a blast, and basically turns Dead Rising into a crossover musou title. Frank’s Big Package may look completely ridiculous, but it’ll leave you pleased in all of the right ways.
Dead Rising 4 PS4 review code provided by publisher. Version 1.01 reviewed on PlayStation 4 Pro. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.