Sunday 24 September 2017

Games: Comedy horror rises from grave

​Dead Rising 4, (XO/PC), 4 Stars, Age: 18+

Dead Rising 4
Dead Rising 4
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

George A Romero's zombie apocalypse flick Dawn of the Dead supplied the original Dead Rising with its arch commentary on consumerism. Now, 10 years on, DR4 embraces the full silliness of hordes of undead roaming a shopping mall and brings back series favourite Frank West to investigate the outbreak.

Shorn of its predecessors' awkward narrative structures and infrequent save points, DR4 gives free rein to your creative impulses to slay thousands of zombies dressed in a wild array of goofy costumes.

This a game where you can shoot fireworks with a crossbow, attach grenades to a sledgehammer or electrify a Christmas wreath - all in the name of despatching the undead in spectacular fashion while wearing, say, a golf outfit or a clown uniform.

Twas ever thus in Dead Rising and its sequels to some extent, but DR4's loosening of the strictures turns survival horror to horror comedy.

The game loses its brio when it steps outside the mall into the thinly-spread delights of the nearby town.

You may also tire of the clumsy, glitchy combat, in which the camera can't keep up with Frank whirling like a dervish to fend off zombies on all sides.

But with a neat trade in one-liners and a hilariously inventive armoury of weaponised household items, Frank's return shows just how much we've missed him.

Steep

(PS4/XO/PC), 4 Stars, Age: 12+

Winter sports have been frozen out of the games world since the great SSX. Ubisoft's Steep hardly marks a revival, but its brand of snowboarding/wingsuit/paragliding/skiing will reawaken hibernating devotees.

Its main attraction rests in a massive and beautiful range of Alpine peaks to explore.

Slipping off-piste proves more rewarding than following the prescribed activities, which in typical Ubisoft fashion soon begin to mushroom around the map like a rash of measles.

It doesn't help that paragliding and skiing aren't nearly as much fun as snowboarding or gliding in the wingsuit.

But Steep's deep love of the snowy mountains warms the heart like a shot of hot whiskey at 2,000m.

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