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‘Tis The Season To Kill Zombies In Dead Rising 4

A decade has gone by since we first met wise-cracking photojournalist-cum-zombie slayer Frank West. Now, Dead Rising 4 not only reintroduces us to the original game’s loveable hero, but also brings us back to Willamette, Colorado, which boasts a lavish new mall to wreak bloody havoc in, just in time for the ho-ho-holidays!

While not that much has changed in terms of Dead Rising’s core mechanics involving comically inventive weapon combinations and a whole lotta zombie massacring, this is the most visually polished addition to the beloved hack-and-slash franchise, and a welcome return to familiar times. Also, the story takes place during the cheery Christmas holidays, which makes for a very amusing contrast that feels right at home here. ALSO: damn is this release ever timely.

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It’s been 16 video game years since the events of the first Dead Rising, and Frank is a little the worse for wear. He’s also sassier than ever, which pairs nicely with the series’ apocalyptic storyline and over-the-top gore. Frank is basically Bruce Campbell in the Evil Dead saga, and it’s safe to say his absence was sorely missed.

While dispatching zombies never gets old, most of the basic gameplay elements haven’t evolved much. Three of the freshest new ingredients are Frank’s ability to take photographs or even selfies to solve investigations and earn extra Prestige Points (something that hasn’t been around since part one); the lack of a countdown timer to complete the main story (take your sweet ass time exploring the map and slaughtering the undead); and Frank’s new Exo Suit  (bash through massive hordes of the walking dead even more effortlessly then before, and also wield larger, more outrageous weapons like a modified arcade cabinet or a pair of slushy machines).

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On the whole, there are far more powerful weapons to create and upgrades to unlock than ever before, which is a good thing. However, this also means that Dead Rising 4 is by far the easiest entry in the progressively breezy series that actually started as one of the most punishingly difficult games on the Xbox 360 back in 2006. That game was brutal, but beating it was satisfying in a way none of its sequels ever were.

Still, over the years the Dead Rising games have clearly embraced a more arcade-y feel. Thanks to frequent save points and even more frequent power ups, the sheer suspense of losing unsaved progress has been replaced with frivolous button-mashing fun. To be frank (sorry), that’s enough to make this a very merry addition to any gamer’s holiday wish list.

Dead Rising 4 is out now exclusively on Xbox One and Windows. Sink your teeth into the launch trailer below:

INNERSPACE CLIPS