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deadrising 4 hands pax west 2016

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There’s something about killing zombies that just makes it an easy fit for video games. Perhaps it’s the fact that they’re mindless and only want to  kill us, so killing them is automatically justified. Dead Rising 4 isn’t about whatever moral quandaries I can cook up, though. It’s focus is on killing zombies – a lot of them – in the most creative way possible, and it certainly doesn’t falter in that department.

Christmas comes to Willamette, Colorado, and with it comes series veteran Frank West. In Dead Rising 4, the series has progressed from its roots as an open-world game with a timed-twist to just being an open-world game. There’s no impetus for rushing or trying to do everything in one run. Instead, the game is all about the carnage and mayhem you bring to the zombified population of Willamette.

The demo I was stationed at clocked in at 10 minutes. In that time, I was able to find a magical frozen sword, an exo suit, nails for my bat, firework harpoons, and thousands of zombies to try them all out on. The game certainly won’t have you running out of things to do. Firing guns used to be downright farcical in previous Dead Rising games, but in Dead Rising 4, the shooting feels at least halfway competent, in a way that makes you feel like you didn’t waste your time unloading on the undead.

Visually, the game is a bit rough, though for open-world games months before release, can be natural. Explosions and flourishes tended to slow things down briefly, and in a game packed with plenty of explosions and flourishes, these slow downs can clock in a significant amount of play time. It does never fail to put a smile on my face when certain fatalities are enacted by literally anything Frank happens to be holding. The exo-suit in particular was a lot of fun to see in action.

Dead Rising 4 is not exactly more of the same, as it cuts out some of the stress of a timed run in a zombie-infested open world. However, you kind of know what you’re in for when it comes to what you’ll actually be doing in the game. Objectives thrown around the map, survivors who might not have a good head on their shoulders, and plenty of violence in between.

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