A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dead Rising 4: Frank's Big Package is the remastered and definitive edition of the open-world survival horror game. Violence is a core part of the game mechanic, with players creating makeshift weapons to charge into massive hordes of the undead and leave bloody carnage in their wake. There's also plenty of profanity and dark or suggestive humor peppered throughout the story. While the game still challenges players to get creative with ways to take out the undead, the updated formula removes many of the tension-building obstacles that made the original games more difficult. There are references to drugs, and Frank uses alcoholic beverages to heal injuries. This edition also includes all of the previously available downloadable content (DLC), which included items like costumes, game modes, difficulty levels, and weapons.
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What's it about?
In DEAD RISING 4: FRANK'S BIG PACKAGE, it's been 16 years since gamers were first introduced to photojournalist Frank West and the zombie outbreak in Willamette, Colorado. In the years since that original outbreak, the people of Willamette have put the event behind them and rebuilt their town, topped off with a bigger, better, and more extravagant mall filled with all kinds of shops brimming with sales for the upcoming holiday season. But when rumors start to swirl that Willamette might be ground zero for yet another outbreak of the undead, it falls once again to an older, wiser, and crankier Frank West to make his return to where it all began and try once more to expose the conspiracy that's again brought out the worst kind of holiday shoppers: the undead kind. This time, though, Frank is determined to bring the truth to light and get the scoop of the century, even if it kills him. This definitive edition of the game adds all of the DLC previously released, while also including a new mode called "Capcom Heroes." Here, Frank takes on the infested town of Willamette, while also gaining access to costumes and abilities of other popular characters from Capcom games, which can help him eliminate many undead citizens in the pursuit of getting his story.
Is it any good?
This mature action game spreads a healthy mix of holiday cheer and macabre horror in a game that's perfect for older gamers, and the extra content boosts the humor and chills. It's been 16 years since Capcom first introduced gamers to the little town of Willamette, its pesky infestation of the undead, and the man caught in the middle of it all, Frank West. Now, more than a decade and a half later, he's headed back to where it all began, a little tougher, a little wiser, and a whole lot more fun. One of the things that made the first Dead Rising such a hit was its insane mix of dramatic horror and off-the-wall slapstick humor. With each subsequent entry in the franchise, though, the games got darker and more serious, losing a lot of the laughs that gave the original its charm. Dead Rising 4: Frank's Big Package goes back to its roots, not only with its star and setting but with its deft blending of humor, horror, chuckles, and carnage. One minute you're fighting for your life by chopping your way through a swarm of zombies, and the next you're stopping long enough to get a few quick selfies with your photogenic foes.
Dead Rising 4: Frank's Big Package isn't just a rehash of everything from the first game. In fact, in an odd twist, it's what it has dropped from the previous games that makes it a better experience overall. In previous games, there was always a fixed amount of time to get things done, a deadline hanging over the head of the player that was a source of artificial tension and very real frustration. Dead Rising 4 nixes this, giving players more of an opportunity to make the most of the game's open-world environment. Fighting against the series' signature psychopaths and rescuing civilians trapped among the zombies has also taken a bit of a step down in priority, more like optional side quests than any essential story element. Admittedly, this sort of makes those encounters feel more like pointless filler, but it's still fun to take a break from smashing undead and throw down against sadistic Santas and the like. What's great about this expanded edition of the game are the included DLC extras, like playing a zombified version of mini-golf, as well as an epilogue of the campaign where Frank takes to the streets as an undead journalist, taking on targets with his undead powers. But the clear standout comes from the Capcom Heroes mode, where Frank gets the chance to step into the fireball throwing shoes of Ryu and Akuma, the blaster wielding boots of Mega Man, or even the paws of Amaterasu from Okami. Giving players a new tongue-in-cheek way of destroying zombies just adds a ton of replayability and fun to the gameplay. Overall, Dead Rising 4: Frank's Big Package feels like a near-perfect bookend to the Dead Rising series and a weirdly satisfying holiday experience that's only slightly less violent than some actual Black Friday shopping events.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Does Dead Rising 4: Frank Big's Package's over-the-top arsenal of weapons make a bigger impact? How does the realism of the violence balance against the fiction of the zombies when it comes to that impact?
Talk about disaster preparedness. While we may never face a zombie outbreak, what are some steps to take if you're ever caught in a disaster situation?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Capcom
- Release date: December 6, 2016
- Genre: Survival Horror
- Topics: Adventures, Holidays, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
- Last updated: April 10, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.