Review: Zombieland Headshot Fever Reloaded
Who doesn’t like headshots?
Well I suspect the receiver of said shot, I suppose for them it marks something of a blip in their day along the lines of drooling toothpaste onto a freshly ironed sweater if not even worse.
The satisfying skull pop associated with a pinpoint sniper rifle when the head is removed from its base of operations has been a pleasure for many a year, which makes me sound like I should be put in a room with rubber wallpaper… so perhaps we will move on.
Only we can’t, as here in the world of ‘Zombieland Headshot Fever Reloaded’ it is fairly important or indeed crucial that you embrace the pringle like pass time. After all, once you pop you can’t stop…. or can you?
This game certainly hopes not, especially since it has put on a fresh set of clothes, combed its hair and freshened up since its original release so it can grace the spangly new PSVR2, collective ‘oooooo’.
Put your finest helmet on, polish your guns which are now all capable of cranial discombobulation and get ready as we breakdown this enjoyable little PSVR2 ditty.
What is it?
In the old days of flat things and mullets, shamefully making a comeback it would seem, this may well have graced an arcade as a light gun game. A series of small levels that have you wandering through various locations, such as a garage, house, office, mini golf course etc gleefully making the undead dead again via the medium of bullets.
Only now you are in VR, so everything is just that little bit more frantic and in your face as after all when a large zombie version of your father towers over you while you frantically try to put him down it’s a little more intense than the old days.
Tell me a story
You are called the surprisingly common ‘new guy; and you have joined our small group of heroes from the Zombieland films in their mansion base. You have been tasked to prove your worth to enter the Zombieland invitational to pop zombies and win it, for the team!
Columbus, Little Rock, Wichita and Talahasee are all here with various roles within the team to make you a winner.
Abigail Breslin reprises her role from the films as Little Rock but alas the rest of the cast have not so the voices wont ring true to the source material, oddly though Brett Harrelson, Woody’s brother, is on board as Talahasee. Its a bit like getting Frank Stallone, but they do the job.
What do you do?
After a swift tutorial where you learn the basics of pulling triggers, moving and adrenaline, more on that in a bit you are whisked to your hub. From here you can do things such as train on the gun range or take on challenges, upgrade your weapons, assign perks and choose your level amongst others.
Each level gets progressively more difficult as expected and each level has its own set of challenges which will reward you with bonus TP, toilet paper, which is the main currency of the game to be used on upgrades and cosmetics. These challenges range from simply surviving, to chaining head shots to locating and shooting special items within the level. The more challenges you pass the more levels unlock.
Each level is timed, get a quicker time and you get a better rank, the higher the rank the higher your TP to spend on goodies. Get all of the bonus challenges within the level and you are treated to a b-side version of the level where you make your way through the same location backwards with different and harder enemy placement. Through each level you have a trusty handgun with unlimited ammo, though reloading is a thing, and a special weapon such as a shotgun with limited ammo. You can go through with just one weapon out or you can dual wield for some extra shooty shenanigans.
So it’s simple – level – kill – earn TP – upgrade – repeat faster – unlock – continue as a cycle, simple.
Is that all?
Greedy little things aren’t you? So yes, that is the core game in a nutshell but there is a reason this is called Headshot fever. Headshots are more powerful than a bullet anywhere else so they are recommended. Indeed they are essential.
Get 2 headshots in a row and you enter a state of adrenaline which is essentially slowing time down – chain more headshots together and the longer the adrenaline time will last, and you will need it. Things can get hairy fast when the rooms are crowded and the game starts throwing its special infected at you. Zombie type, speed and distance from you all come into play and if you have time slowed down it makes things rather more manageable if you don’t want to get chomped. In this game if you get chomped, you get dead.
Also, you may look at the S rank times and wonder ‘how?’ well you see that’s adrenalines other little party trick – the more adrenaline you earn throughout the level the more bonus time is taken from your initial run time at the end of the level. It may well have taken you 2.50mins to actually do that but hit enough headshots and that will tumble down to 1.20mins, now those S ranks are doable. You just need to pop those rotten heads. There are even ‘z’ ranks for those among you with the pinpoint accuracy of a peregrine falcon.
And by jingo it can be addictive.
How does it play?
Praise all that exists above us in an ethereal dimension that the Move controllers are a thing of the past and the PSVR2 comes with its new Sense controllers. No longer am I destined to hold my real life hand still while watching its virtual equivalent wobble around like I have drunk 8 pints and 14 espressos.
The sense controllers are a revelation if you are coming straight from the original PSVR. Accurate and more importantly stable they make aiming a joy.
The triggers are used for shooting, no surprise there, and provide a nice amount of haptic feedback. To reload you flick a thumbstick down to unload your old clip. A shiny new clip hovers just below your face, pass your gun over it and it reloads. Not exactly true to life but simple and quick enough not to be confusing nor cause unnecessary panic over having to reload with both hands and cock your gun. This is after all an arcade style game, simple and fun.
And what’s that you ask, yes why the headset also rumbles on your bonce when you are hit by a thrown object or indeed conscripted in the ranks of the undead, I could have just said killed.
Movement is not free roam, once you have cleared the prescribed dead folk in front of you a blue arrow points you to your next spot – stare at it for a second and it will transport you there and the next wave will begin. Again this is about arcade fun and by removing a majority of the possibility of motion sickness it works a treat and ensures your trip through the level is quick and to the point.
Look at me! Listen to me!
Is this the pinnacle of what your shiny new headset can do, no. Is it clean, functional and easy to follow, yes. The graphics have been reworked since its original release to a new cel-shaded style. While some will dismiss it as simple it is by far the more attractive version of the game overall. Everything pops as it should in the headset and is pin sharp.
Noise wise we have all the required groans, moans, bangs, booms and squelches you would expect with a satisfying guitar twang as you build up your headshot streak. Your trusty companions also chip in with kind and indeed not so kind words as they judge your performance from afar.
Tasty steak or rotten liver?
Upon loading Zombieland Headshot Fever Reloaded and playing a couple of rounds my initial thought was a sullen ‘meh’.
I finally breached back into the real world an hour and a half later having thoroughly enjoyed my first play, so the moral of the story is don’t be such a miserable idiot, give things a chance.
What we have here is a well made arcade lightgun gallery style game which tries nothing absurdly spectacular but knows exactly how to do what it does well.
The small levels make it perfect for either a quick 5 minute bash while you wait for your pot noodle to cool down or indeed a longer session if you really want to start tackling your times through the levels.
It is quick and to the point with a good sense of ‘one more go’. In a way it is akin to something like a Trackmania Turbo, a great little addictive gameplay loop.
It’s a perfect game for someone relatively new to VR, with the simple controls, distinct lack of quick motion in the game, it will be gentle enough for anyone to take without feeling sick. Not that the game itself isn’t fast paced from a gameplay standpoint.
All in all a nicely done thing about popping undead skulls, what more do you want?
Pub Menu Score: Chicken Wings, with a surprisingly spicy dip.
Review by Adam from a review code kindly supplied by XR Games.