There are some formulas that just work. Among the many example of this is wise cracking hero beats zombies. It’s the type of thing that made Evil Dead so much fun to watch and the same holds true to the adventures of Frank West. With our beloved hero venturing back to the PlayStation 4 with his latest adventure, is it the experience PlayStation fans longed for or is it a terrible game with some extra terrible content.
Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package starts with Frank being coerce into returning to Willamette, Colorado. To his surprise, the story his student found is more than meets the eye, with that cold city bringing back the zombies from Frank’s nightmares. While they manage to escape with their lives, Frank needs to return to Willamette, face the outbreak and break the story.
It’s the type of story that would fall flat with a number of characters, but feels right at home with Frank. It doesn’t matter how silly it is or cheesy some of the bits get, because Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package is all about the cheese. The only downside to this approach is that it doesn’t take long for his journey to pander to the audience.
While Frank was never a serious protagonist and a goofy character in an equally goofy world, he seems especially cartoonish in this adventure. Between whining about mini-golf and breaking the fourth wall, it feels like our beloved hero has been flanderized to the point where all we have is a lovable boob that says and does ridiculous things.
Even this would be fine if there was more balance between fan service and fun. Having Frank say his notable “I’ve covered wars” line and bringing back waves of Servbot helmet wearing zombies crosses the line between lovable homage and fan service. Thankfully, once the adventure gets going it’s a little better.
Once you accept Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package isn’t quite the game you loved, it’s easy to get into the zany world. With time limits and a more linear approach, it’s easy to forget Dead Rising was a franchise built on exploring, saving people and slowly learning about the world. Even if you miss these things, finding items and building instruments of death are still the series bread and butter.
With deadly combo weapons, be it an explosive sledgehammer or a shocking axe, the cartoonish fun is in full swing. It doesn’t take long to want to test things out on enemies, see what kind of crazy weapon you can build and eventually save the city from the invasion.
In addition to including the base story, there is a ton of DLC to explore. One of them covers the ever possible and sad story of Frank becoming a zombie and his allies losing faith in helping him. Another one focuses on one thing he loves, mini-golf. It’s ridiculous and silly, in a way that you can’t help but laugh.
The same holds true for the Capcom hero’s mode. Giving Frank the ability to dress up and utilize some iconic characters’ items brings up a lot of fun in the novelty of it. Be it Cammy, Morrigan or even Amaterasu, the humor and fun makes a silly mode all the more memorable.
In the end, Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package is a solid experience for PlayStation gamers. Sure it isn’t quite the Dead Rising we knew and loved, the latest adventure doubles down on the humor and offers its own memorable adventure. With a number of side modes to play, heroes to run around as and all the content found in the original game, there is plenty to be excited for. Combine this with the combo weapons we love and plenty of twists and turns and you have a fairly good experience.
[Editor’s Note: Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]