Arizona Sunshine 2 Review
Although countless games are set during a zombie apocalypse, there’s still something appealing about the concept. The idea of searching abandoned cities and scavenging for items while fighting against a horde of the undead is exhilarating, especially in VR. Vertigo Games aims to capture the notion with its sequel to the cult classic, Arizona Sunshine 2. Will this return trip to an infected, sunkissed city be a heart-pounding adventure or a living nightmare?
You don the well-worn boots of the nameless protagonist from the first outing. What at first seemed like a normal day quickly turns upside down when you witness a helicopter crash close to your location. With hope of freedom and companionship at the forefront of your mind, you investigate the incident only to find that the pilot has died. When all hope seems lost, you hear a message over the comms unit. The army is in search of patient zero who may be the key to the discovery of a vaccine.
Watch it, Fred!
Although the narrative is quite basic, the delivery is strong. The protagonist has a dark and twisted view of life and this is amplified with interactions and observations in the world. However, the real star of the story is Buddy, a police dog that you find after the helicopter crash. The dog adds an additional layer to the character of the protagonist as it allows you to form a bond. You soon rely on the canine and use him to support you in battle and as a sounding board for your mental state. Your furry friend can scurry across the environment to gnaw on the undead and reach items in hard-to-reach locations. The addition of a sidekick improves the overall experience on both a gameplay and story level.
As you’d expect, Arizona Sunshine 2 is focused on the evisceration of zombies in a range of locations. Due to this, you will use an array of weapons to create a bloody-soaked symphony on your trek to the objective. Vertigo Games has made the decision to move to a realistic reload mechanic which heightens the intensity when trying to avoid being overwhelmed. Similar to Pavlov, you will need to eject your magazine, grab a new one, insert it and finally cock your gun before sending a bullet to the head of your enemy. This can also add an extra layer of panic as you attempt to shoot before readying your weapon, making you retreat in fear. The focus on interactivity heightens the immersion as you feel part of the world. Each area of your body is a dedicated inventory spot which adds further tension as you switch between weapons.
Armed and Dangerous
Shooting feels and looks incredible. Each shot carries weight and the impact is glorious. Often I would wait for a zombie to get within arms reach just to create a fountain of blood from a well-placed shotgun to the chin. Haptics, although subtle, improve the heft of guns and help to capture the unique feel of the weapons. As shooting is at the forefront of the Arizona Sunshine 2, it’s great to see that the game has improved on every aspect of it.
While the game includes staples of the genre with its array of weaponry, I would have liked to see a little more experimentation with types of guns. Regardless of whether you are using melee or range-based items, every method of attack feels and looks great. Blasting off limbs of the undead never gets old and results in the moment-to-moment gameplay being a joy.
The campaign itself is a good length and includes a variety of set pieces to make plenty of memorable moments. A highlight is playing the eternity in co-op. Teaming up with a friend to fight against zombies is a blast and one of the best co-op experiences on PSVR 2. The horde mode is a little simple and gets repetitive. Hopefully, Vertigo Games revisits the mode to add more content to make players come back for more.
A Bloody Treat
Zombies look hideous in the best possible way. They are full of detail and there is a surprising number of character types that make encounters feel fresh. While certain aspects look great, other elements lack detail and texture. There are times when you’ll encounter an environmental object that looks a little basic, conflicting with the impressive enemies. Odd glitches can occur too with creatures passing through the environment but these are infrequent. Although you can easily overlook this, it can break the immersion.
Arizona Sunshine 2 improves on every aspect of the original to make this one of the best zombie games on the PSVR 2. The weapons have never felt better and make mowing down enemies a thrill. Although the horde mode is a little basic and you’ll encounter the odd glitch, the fact you can play everything with a friend improves the entire experience. With its dark humor and well-designed world, you’ll have a sadistic time annihilating foes on your trek through a post-apocalyptic world.
***A PSVR 2 key was provided by the publisher***
- Great Gun Mechanics
- Full Co-op
- Horde Mode is a Little Basic
- Some Unpolished Sections
- Odd Glitches