I love Christmas. I love pretty much everything about it. I love the music and the shopping and the look on my kids faces when they get that super awesome toy that they wanted more than anything else in the world. I also love the traditions that come along with the holiday. Cookie Day at the in-laws house, watching the girls search the house every morning trying to find the elf, and riding through the mall on my pink tricycle shooting zombies in the face with my bottle rocket launching crossbow.
….. wait what?
Yes, Dead Rising 4 has earned itself a spot alongside chocolate covered coconut peaks and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation as things I look forward to experiencing each December. I can probably count on one hand the number of memorable holiday themed video game experiences. There was Christmas NiGHTS back in the day, and of course Mayor Tortimer always puts on a pretty good holiday party in my Animal Crossing town, but that’s probably about it. And Dead Rising 4 doesn’t just throw a few wreaths in the background and call it a day, Christmas is as much a part of this game as the undead horde itself.
The set up of the game is unimportant. Zombie outbreak.. blah blah.. government conspiracy.. blah blah.. The thing that makes Dead Rising 4 so good is that they’ve trimmed away all of the fat and just focused on making the game more fun. The time limit for completing missions is gone, they’ve added the ability to carry a ton of weapons at once, and dialed down the difficulty so you don’t have to sweat too much while mowing down gobs of undead. It’s just all around more fun to play than any other entry in the series.
But really, it’s all about the Christmas trimming. I don’t know the science behind it, but setting any movie, TV show or game during Christmas just automatically makes it way better. Wherever you go in the game, it’s decorated with wreaths, garland, lights, and candy canes. They also added a nice selection of holiday tunes to dismember and impale zombies to. I mean c’mon, there’s something special about ‘O Tannenbaum’ playing while you drive a cement truck through the zombie filled streets of Willamette.
And it’s not just the town and mall that are decorated for the season, Frank West can dress like an elf, snowman, Santa Claus, and even don a Street Fighter Christmas ugly sweater while he hacks and slashes his way through the crowded mall corridors. You can also use plenty of holiday items as weapons to wreak havoc on the walking dead. Nutcrackers, candy canes, wreaths, plastic Santas and even Christmas trees are all at your disposal. The game really does use the holiday theme to it’s full potential.
Dead Rising 4 is a big, dumb, silly (and often times buggy) game, and it’s loads of fun to play. Video games can take themselves so seriously sometimes, it’s refreshing to play a game that isn’t afraid to put fun ahead of everything else. It’s a blood soaked Christmas miracle that I can imagine loading up each December for years to come. And traditions are what the holidays are all about, right?