Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package (PS4, 2017) delivers a sleigh of mixed content

First things first, Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package has a great sense of humour, as you can tell from the title, and its original release on the Xbox One was received well enough that PlayStation fans can now get a piece of the action as well.

Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package includes the main game along with all of its previously released DLC in a package that performs well enough for fans of the franchise, but doesn’t really do much to reinvent the wheel this time around. When looking solely at the original experience, its safe to say it holds up. Quite Frankly (pun intended), the Dead Rising series has always been responsible for laugh out loud, over-the-top moments of fun and gore, and if you played it on Xbox One, you’re getting that here.

For those of you that haven’t however, Dead Rising 4 stars Frank West, a middle aged photo journalist who in a rather ridiculous turn of events, ends up in the town of Willamette, Colorado (the town in which the original Dead Rising took place), in order to find out what the hell is going on, and why a zombie outbreak has broken out in the midst of black Friday pandemonium. I find it’s a great analogy for the shoppers of today, as Black Friday has been known  to turn people into flesh eating monsters. But the game presents a decent mystery for Frank to figure out, and the pairing of a reluctant but loveable hero always goes down well in my opinion. Frank is an engaging character that is sadly obsessed with his work to the point that a situation like this doesn’t phase him anymore, as long is there is a decent story to grab from all of it.

After an introductory tutorial mission, players are thrown into the open world town of Willamette, which has been given a neat little festive makeover, and while there’s a few cool areas to explore like the mall, other areas are dull and lack any of the sparkle and uniqueness that encapsulates the Dead Rising series. To mirror this issue however, the game runs phenomenally on the PS4 with a solid frame rate and minimised loading times compared to my experience with the original Xbox One version.

As the gameplay revolves mainly around melee combat, it’s mainly simplistic but complimented with cool customisable weapons that can be made and combined on the fly, which makes for some great chaos. While a levelling up system is also present, it isn’t very deep. While solving cases, completing tasks for NPC’s and taking photos  award you with Prestige Points in order to level up Frank across 4 categories; combat, health, marksmanship and crafting. It keeps that pursuit of levelling up Frank varied, but nothing seems necessary or gives you any motivation to level up as you can power through as many zombies as the game throws at you from the get go.

However, a year later, while the game doesn’t hold up as well as I thought it once did, it’s hard to admit I didn’t have any fun. Taking selfies never gets old, the Christmas music in the menus keeps that holiday spirit alive, and Frank’s one liners never cease to make me chuckle. While Dead Rising 4’s original outing isn’t perfect, it’s performance boost and brilliant humour keep it from going stale and smooth some of its rougher edges in return. But that’s not where the fun ends. Frank’s Big Package includes all of the previously released DLC including Frank Rising, Capcom Heroes and Super Ultra Dead Rising 4 Mini Golf.

Firstly, Frank Rising is arguably the most polished and interesting portion of DLC which puts players in the shoes of an infected Frank West who must lumber through the town of Willamette feasting on its residents in order to survive, while racing against time in order to find a permanent cure for his flesh eating habits. The gameplay largely remains the same elsewhere, but manages to keep the fun, humour and gore that makes the main game so good.

Capcom Heroes allows Frank to dress up as your favourite heroes from various Capcom titles such as Ryu from the Street Fighter series, Dante from the Devil May Cry series, and Mega-Man. While this seems fantastic in theory, you only get to experience this mode through the eyes of the single player campaign. While it’s great to throw hadokens and slice and shoot through zombies with Dante’s signature weapons, the novelty unfortunately wears off before the campaign does. While playing through the story has minor perks and changes thanks to costume exclusive abilities, I found it really hard to play the campaign normally, then play through it AGAIN for the sake of a few costumes. If i had come back to Dead Rising 4 a year later in order to play this, I may have felt different, but Capcom Heroes doesn’t offer up enough in the context of the main campaign.

Last and unfortunately least, is Super Ultra Dead Rising 4 Mini Golf. This mode here, I just could not understand. Sure, I get that Dead Rising 4 offers up an array of silly ideas, but they manage to land due to the abundance of clever humour. There is nothing clever of creative about this more, and quite honestly, I don’t even understand why it’s here. To put it plain and simple. It’s mini golf, with zombies. While you have access to various clubs and power ups, nothing feels necessary or warranted in any way. I feel like this mode was a mistake but Capcom was just too far into development to give it up.

To round up what seems like an abundance of content, Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package holds up. However, the best part of this package is the core game itself, with the DLC acting as icing to a great cake. It’s just too bad the icing is missing a sweetness that we associate with the humour and creativity of the Dead Rising franchise. Newcomers to the franchise or even the game should pick this one up for the core experience, but if you have played through the campaign or even own this on Xbox One, there’s simply no good reason for you to return to Willamette. Again.

Score: 7.0 out of 10
Highlights:
 Core game, Frank West is still hilarious, solid technical performance.
Lowlights: All DLC apart from Frank Rising is underwhelming, bland open world sections.
Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Publisher: Capcom, Microsoft Game Studios
Release date: Out now
Platforms: Playstation 4

Reviewed on Playstation 4.