The whole zombie obsession in current media has been an ironic one to me, as it’s been one that just refuses to die. Doesn’t matter the medium, from television to movies and even rewrites of classic literature. Take anything, throw the undead into it, and many will go crazy for it.
As such, there are a number of relatively successful video game franchises catering to the zombie pop culture takeover. One popular long-runner is Capcom’s Dead Rising series, originating back in 2006 and currently on its fourth installment. Featuring varying-sized open worlds, the ability to use an arsenal of random items as weapons (and combine them into wacky pieces of destruction as well), off-kilter humor, and more zombies than one man ever needs, the series has become a gaming mainstay.
Originally released in 2016 for Xbox One and PC, Dead Rising 4 made its way to the PS4 this week with a brand new addition: a game mode entitled “Capcom Heroes.” The main selling point here is the ability to dress up protagonist Frank West as characters from various Capcom games, allowing you to play through the game’s campaign using said characters’ abilities.
The base story and world from standard Dead Rising 4 remains completely unchanged – the only real difference in this mode is the aforementioned costumes, as well as the addition of special collectibles around the environment to unlock more costumes. Collectible weapons and item durability are removed completely, instead replaced with specific loadouts for each costume and cooldown meters for most attacks.
With this change also comes the elimination of most of the game’s difficulty. In the standard campaign (which I spent some time in to compare to this new mode), balancing the durability of my weapon inventory – as well as constantly having to scour for new weapons – was a major source of tension. Without that, “Capcom Heroes” becomes incredibly button-mashy, often to the point that it felt like I was playing Dynasty Warriors or another musou game.
I can say that playing with the various costumes is quite fun in a gimmicky way, which I am sure was entirely Capcom’s intent with this mode. There’s a decent amount of costumes you can unlock, ranging from Mega Man X to Dante from Devil May Cry and even Amaterasu from Okami. Each costume has a time limit that you can wear it for, after which you have to find an arcade cabinet in the environment to equip a new one.
There are also various new challenges placed around the map for each of the costumes. Completing one challenge unlocks a special melee combo finisher for the costume, and finishing a second unlocks said costume’s “shadow” variant. None of the challenges were particularly enthralling, but they did occasionally provide a break from the hours of slapping the Square button to take down another group of zombies.
One major issue I had with this new mode is the lack of crossover with Dead Rising 4‘s standard campaign. I initially played through “Capcom Heroes” up to the start of the game’s second case (which took me about 3-4 hours), then I loaded up the original campaign to do a comparison. Much to my dismay, I was forced into starting the story over again from the beginning, rather than being able to pick up where I left off in “Heroes” mode. With the changes between the two modes being so small, I’m not sure why there’s no option to allow saves to cross over between both modes.
Personally, I did not get much enjoyment out of this “Capcom Heroes” mode (or Dead Rising 4 itself, really), as all it really amounts to is some extra DLC for the main campaign. Hell, this new mode is being provided as free DLC to all past releases of the game. Even with not being much of a fan of the base game, though, I can say that “Capcom Heroes” isn’t enough to justify a replay if you’ve already completed the game. All you’re getting here is an easier version of the campaign with a couple changes in mechanics and some new visuals.
If you’ve never played the game and have been waiting for the PS4 release, though…there’s really no reason not to play it. Just be aware that there are no real changes in the campaign between the base game and this new mode, and you can’t move your save between them, so pick one and be ready to stick with it for the long haul.
Review copy provided by Capcom. Screenshots taken by reviewer.