I’m just going to go ahead and dedicate this entire post to zombies, those poor shambling bastards never get their due.
So Yesterday saw the release of the downloadable title Zombie Apocalypse for both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
Made by nihilistic studios (makers of Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, and more recently Conan) the game is a run and gun top down arcade shooter in the vein of geometry wars or asteroids. Published by Konami, the game certainly doesn’t lack polish, however will high production values make this bloodbath worth your $10?
Gameplay wise Zombie apocalypse works on a very simple formula, one stick is used to make your character run around, while the other is used to direct your fire. It’s exactly like geometry wars or super stardust at it’s core with the hordes of zombies increasing in number and variety of zombie types as the levels progress. The weaponry featured is your standard fare of flamethrowers, machine guns, and rocket launchers you would expect. One interesting item is the zombie bait, which is a teddy bear which utters darkly comical phrases while it attracts the attention of the zombies which pile around it before it explodes. It’s a satisfying moment, as you hear the bear saying “I’m stuffed with love…and C4” followed by a shower of zombie limbs flying through the air. Also to keep it interesting are the environmental hazards, which each of the 7 levels have at least two of. The hazards are fun to watch as zombies are crushed, grinded, incinerated, and otherwise mutilated in a grand humorous fashion. I also feel compelled to note that there are occasional boss levels through the 55 levels the game offers. However, these are fairly stilted as they are all the same monster in the same arena and really provide little more than a brief reprieve from cutting down hundreds of your slow and mindless adversaries.
Visually the game is refreshingly detailed for the likes of a downloadable content. Though low poly, the models look excellent from the distance the camera views them, while the game holds up without any problems while there are dozens of models on screen. The environments are colorful and interesting and hold well to the game’s theme. Flame and explosion effects also look very nice. Though it may seem like I’m gushing, to be fair I wasn’t floored by these visuals, the game looks good however I won’t go so far as saying it looks stunning. Considering there is downloadable content available such as flower this game certainly has a ways to go before reaching any serious accolades.
Audio is once again, competent. The zombies sound like zombies, the environments have an eerie and atmospheric sound effects like sirens in the distance and the like. The menu’s similarly have a creepy zombie movie esque theme playing, it’s not too complex though and certainly gets redundant quickly, but it does serve to put you in that zombie flick mood. Apart from that the characters each have two or three voice clips for the end of a round, which are mildly comical and provide you with an ever so small shred of attachment to the characters…but it isn’t a whole lot.
There isn’t really any story to speak of in this one, what little story is there is provided in single sentences that precede each level. Really though, all these provide you with is the sense that life is pretty fucking dismal when zombies have overrun the planet, which probably wasn’t a point they needed to drive home too much.
Overall the game is an enjoyable one. And if you are a fan of the genre it’s not to be missed. The game clearly takes inspiration games like left 4 dead and dead rising, as well as the classic 70’s films. compared to Burn Zombie Burn this game is a revelation, the controls feel good and the gameplay has a good deal of variety to it considering the nature of the arcade shooter genre. It’s not a masterpiece, and it’s safe to say you will find yourself frustrated with some of the levels as the difficulty progresses and there are just too many goddamn zombies doing too many ridiculous things all at once (between firing shotguns, throwing kitchen knives, puking all over the place and giving birth to little flying demons) it gets overwhelming. However the experience is a lot of fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Whether single player or with an additional 1 to 3 companions either locally or online the game provides a lot of frenetic high energy mayhem that provides a lot of bang for your buck.