It’s been a long time since I’ve delved into the world of zombie mayhem, but with a steady mix of the undead and Christmas, Dead Rising 4 is sure to be the game that brings me back.
The first scenes of the playable Dead Rising demo at X16 in Toronto, paints the picture pretty well for anyone who has stepped back from the franchise -- lots of zombies and the cheerful time of the holidays.
It’s just a sea of the undead in the streets of Willamette, Colorado.The small mountain town was first explored in the first installment of the franchise, as protagonist Frank West. Well, Willamette is back, Frank is back and the reunion goes about as well as you would hope.
Guts, gore and outrageous weapons a plenty make up the bulk of demo.
I started off with a massive electric axe. With every swing I can see the arcing electricity jump from body to body. The more zombies I killed, the more I started feeling like the “God of Thunder.” That was taken step further when I built up enough energy to execute a super move.Like calling down lightning from the heavens, a massive AOE electric attack singes through the surrounding horde. I really started feeling like Thor.
I also started my undead onslaught with a firework modded crossbow, and some bombs. Both were a real treat, but neither grabbed me like the axe.
That was until I got my exo suit. It’s one of the new features Capcom Vancouver has introduced into the game. Putting on the suit I felt unstoppable, like Tony Stark in his Hulkbuster armour. It may not be outright said, but Dead Rising 4 really makes you feel like a superhero.
The exo suit can also be paired with a number of other weapons in the game. I was later able to pick up a great axe and go to town. The suit lasted around two minutes before it expired, but you can find them in drops across the town.
Again, it’s been a long time since I’ve played Dead Rising, so I didn’t realize there were actual goals for me until the end of the demo.
I started moving towards two different markers on my map. In one of those instances a woman was trapped, surrounded by zombies. After clearing out the areas, she was able to escape. A fairly simple task.
It was at this time that I found one of my favourite weapons in the game. An explosive ornament launcher. Nothing says “The most wonderful time of the year” like blowing up zombies with explosive decorations.
The development team knows what kind of game they’re making, and are happy being goofy in the face of horror.
Speaking of horror, players will encounter three different types of the undead this time around. Next to your typical lumbering horde zombie, Capcom is introducing freshly turned undead. These creatures act like zombies from “World War Z” or 28 Days Later.” If you haven’t seen either movie, it means the zombies will be sprinting at you instead of strolling.
The third type of zombie was described as being “evolved.” These undead are intelligent and want to survive. I didn’t see either of the two latter undead, but it’s still a nice addition.
Eventually I made my way to an actual story point on the map, which was located inside a fire station. After clearing out the room, the developers had me pull out my camera.
They led me to a wall with three bodies strung up. I used the camera to snap a few photos, which prompted a progress bar on my HUD. West, being the photojournalist that he is,is trying to figure out what the hell happened and how the zombie apocalypse came to be.
Taking photos of specific scene around the town will help West piece together the deeper story.
Of course the photo mechanic isn’t just for story purposes. It also serves as a goofy play on society’s obsession with selfies.
I ended my demo by taking half a dozen selfies with the dead bodies. For each photo I received a grade (F) for how interesting and well shot they were. The selfie has even been worked into the game's deep killing mechanic. Nothing says “in your face” like taking a selfie before your kill someone.
By the end of the demo I was pretty happy with where the franchise was going. The return of West and Willamette made it even better.
Dead Rising 4 is scheduled to release on Dec. 4.