After Capcom's latest B movie zombie-slaughtering escapade ended abruptly, fans finally have an opportunity to get some closure with this latest expansion. The problem is; Frank is now hungry for brains so let's see if this DLC can sate his appetite.
Frank Rising is the first full expansion for Dead Rising 4 and it begins immediately after the ending of the main campaign. I'm going to touch on the story specifics in this paragraph so if you don't want anything spoiled then please skip to the next paragraph. Anyway, after Frank fell from the helicopter into the loving arms of a few hungry zombies, he soon awakens as a zombie himself. Your first objective here is to "Kill the humans" which both surprised and delighted me in a sick way. Upon getting used to the controls with the newly revived Frank, you'll realise that a cool dynamic is now in place in that you can heal by feasting off of enemies (be they alive or undead). That's right; both humans and zombies will be on the hunt to end your life throughout this short campaign so make sure you've brought your A game if you're planning on surviving. After all, you want Frank to be back to his normal self again... right?
Not only does the plot continue in a very interesting way, the gameplay also evolves as Frank has a few new zombie powers. These include the ability to pounce on enemies from a distance, spray poisonous vomit all over, and scream to stun surrounding foes. Of course, you have a basic melee attack and can feast on folks whenever you perform a high enough combo in order to reclaim some health. One awesome strategy that I discovered while playing through is that you can lure tough zombies who will trail behind you in order to have them fight strong human soldiers on your behalf. Between fun complexities like this and the few new abilities, the gameplay is very different to what you experienced in the main campaign. That being said, it does have its problems.
Whereas Dead Rising 4 features a lot of variety through the array of weaponry, power-ups, vehicles, and the like; Frank Rising's limited repertoire ends up making the gameplay a bit too restricting. Sure, it's fun experimenting with the few moves to devise strategies for taking out enemies who are quite powerful but after playing for a while, it all starts to get rather monotonous. Additionally, the brief campaign can get brutally difficult. Later on, you'll face a handful of super-challenging soldiers simultaneously who wield flamethrowers, powerful axes, machine guns, and grenades. Seeing as you may have a few zombies around as well, these fights can be nothing short of chaotic and frustrating. Frank's limited set of abilities definitely makes these battles much more annoying than they need to be.
Dead Rising 4: Frank Rising must be completed within 90 real-world minutes although you can thankfully pause the action at any time. This provides a welcome challenge for those wanting to test their survival skills but it also means that the overall campaign is rather short. There is a brief intro tutorial and an ending sequence so the timed portion isn't all of the content but it's still much shorter than you'd hope. That is, if you're good enough to complete it within the time limit. Speaking of which, whenever you perish, the timer doesn't go back so you have to play quickly and without messing up too many times. Along the way, you'll come across many challenges that are mostly enjoyable to master although it's tempting to pass them up because time is always ticking. That being said, if you want the best ending (and some enhanced abilities) then you have to beat them all so good luck with that!
Overall, Frank Rising offers a new dynamic to the classic Dead Rising gameplay but it also ends up feeling too limited to be thoroughly enjoyable. Either way, it's great to see the story wrap up in such a crazy way so it may be worth downloading for that alone.
- + Zombie abilities are pretty cool
- + Plenty of challenges to master
- + Continues the story of the main game in an interesting way
- - Overall, it's quite short
- - Gameplay could use more variety
- - Taking on hordes of enemy soldiers as a zombie can feel unfair