Dead Rising 4 probably has a lot going for it, but dear oh dear: it really doesn’t have the charm of the original.
Dead Rising 4 is out now on PC and Xbox One. It brings back Frank West, had a proper professional writer, is bigger and better than ever, and is supposed to be some sort of commentary on mass consumerism or something, which is pretty funny in a way Capcom probably didn’t intend.
But what Dead Rising 4 has gained in draw distances and whatever its definitely lost in that ineffable charm that made us love Dead Rising in the first place. The video above from CrowbCat compares the 2016 game with the 2006 original, showing what a difference ten years can make.
Does Dead Rising 4 have fancier graphics? Yeah. But at the same time, zombies no longer bleed or come further apart or even move after death; fewer objects are interactive with custom animations and real time physics; and many objects are just window dressing props when it makes no sense that Frank can’t use them.
The downgrade in the chainsaw is especially disheartening for fans of spectacular splatter and dismemberment, but even simple weapons like the baseball bat are far less interesting in Dead Rising 4 – look at the hit detection on it. In Dead Rising 4 you don’t even have to face the right way, whereas the original Dead Rising accounts for the trajectory of the bat and only smacks zombies in its path.
There’s a similar effect with the sword, where like the chainsaw you can see Dead Rising 4 doesn’t account for your actual attacks in its dismemberment systems. I saw all of this in the first four minutes of the trailer and then felt too depressed to watch the rest, which goes on for another 15 minutes. Maybe Dead Rising 4 starts winning again at the end…?
To be fair, it’s a lot easier to implement physics and custom animations and dismemberment for hundreds of different objects when said objects are made up of far fewer polygons, and appear in smaller numbers in smaller spaces. Still, I think it’s fair to say that in chasing triple-A open world graphical standards, Dead Rising 4 lost some of what gave the original so much character and made it special.