Dead Rising 4: Frank Rising Review – Horde Mode

Capcom /

Frank Rising kicks things off…ambitiously by turning Dead Rising 4’s goofy main protagonist into a zombie, but things only go downhill from here.

Developer: Capcom Vancouver

Publisher: Capcom

Platform: Xbox One (version reviewed), PC

Release Date: April 4th, 2017

It feels a little weird to be returning to Willamette; a city which is still apparently celebrating Christmas just as spring begins to surface in the real world outside. Nevertheless, here we are with the first batch of Dead Rising 4’s DLC; Frank Rising.

Full spoilers for Dead Rising 4 here, but Frank West is dead. In fact, he’s worse than dead; he’s a shambling, unrecognizable husk of his former self. No, that wasn’t a poignant metaphor for the rebooted and re-voiced Frank West who takes centre stage in Dead Rising 4 (you can read my review of the full game for thoughts on that), but instead the character has been quite literally zombified.

Dead Rising
Capcom /

Continuing straight on from the events of the main game, Frank Rising begins with the eponymous goofball meandering the streets of Willamette, bloodied and broken after finally succumbing to the bloodlust of the zombie horde.

After meeting an old friend, Frank is offered hope of a cure for his undead state, but there’s also the pressing matter of escaping Willamette before the place is finally nuked to oblivion by the government. To be honest, Frank’s miraculous return to the world of the living undermines the impact of his climactic death at the end of Dead Rising 4 but, then again, Dead Rising has never shown much regard for story.

And yet, Frank Rising also represents a serious disservice to the character of Frank West himself. While there are moments of his trademark wit and obnoxiousness, the general light-hearted tone that made Dead Rising 4 more enjoyable has been abandoned, and the story concludes Frank’s tale all too suddenly with a bafflingly depressing and bathetic fade out. It makes for a really weird and ill-conceived denouement for a franchise icon, closing the books with one of the oddest post-scripts I think I’ve ever read.

Dead Rising
Capcom /

In addition to these narrative redundancies, playing as zombie Frank negatively impacts the gameplay too. While it’s admirable that Capcom has used this DLC to change up the Dead Rising formula that players have likely become accustomed to, the studio has gone about it in all the wrong ways.  

Gone is the vast assortment of elaborate weaponry and kooky vehicles, and instead players are left with a limited number of supernatural abilities, all of which get repetitive and tiresome fast. While it’s fun at first to leap at enemies and spew acid balls everywhere, the lack of compelling progression options made me long for the game to give me something new to muck around with, but it never did.

It’s almost as if Capcom is aware of how stifling this gameplay can be, as I completed the entirety of Frank Rising in just over an hour. In fact, the much-beloved timer mechanic of previous Dead Rising games makes a return here, but seemingly purely for the sake of limiting the amount of time you can spend playing Frank Rising. There’s little good to be said about paying up ten dollars for an expansion pack, only to be greeted with a giant 90-minute countdown clock.

As a comparative side note, both Mafia III and Dishonored 2 have just released demo versions of their game, which lets you play for at least twice as long as Frank Rising without having to pay a single penny.

Dead Rising
Capcom /

Even so, I don’t think I’d have wanted to spend any more time than I had as a zombie in Dead Rising 4 anyway. Frank Rising revisits all the same locations in its open-world, only this time with fewer options for combat and a trifling story devoid of the tongue-in-cheek tone of the main campaign.

Here’s hoping the upcoming mini golf DLC can fare better for Dead Rising 4‘s legacy.

4. Frank Rising strips away all of Dead Rising 4’s best assets – most notably its weaponry and light-hearted humor – in favour of an unforgivably short piece of DLC that butchers the narrative of the main campaign for cheap thrills. If you’re a Dead Rising fan, best to sit this one out.. Capcom Vancouver. . Dead Rising 4: Frank Rising

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.