Review: Arizona Sunshine (PSVR)

Review: Arizona Sunshine (PSVR)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Oculus Rift
  • HTC Vive

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 Optional (1)
  • PS VR Aim Controller Optional
  • Move Recommended (2)
Title: Arizona Sunshine
Format: PSN (6.3 GB)
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Vertigo Games
Developer: Vertigo Games / Jaywalkers Interactive
Original MSRP: $39.99 (US), €39.99 (EU), £32.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Arizona Sunshine lets you use any PlayStation 4 controller. This includes the DualShock 4, one or two Move controllers, and the fancy new Aim controller. I will go through each one after a quick explanation of the story.

The world is filled with zombies and your character leaves his secluded hideaway when one of them springs a trap that was guarding the entrance. You make your way into the open, to a table just outside of the rocky area and retrieve a gun belt and some ammo.

Just in the nick of time too as a few zombies lurch into view and amble over expecting a midday snack. You soon find a deserted tent and a radio with a message of hope crackling through the static just as the battery dies.

My first playthrough was with the Aim controller and I am sad to report that I am mildly disappointed. The main criticism is the high sensitivity and lack of a decent sight on the rifle, which is exclusive to the Aim controller’s dedicated mode. I did manage to somehow use the new device in the main campaign, however, it then limits you to one sidearm at a time, obviously.

Don’t get me wrong, the controller works very well but I had some trouble lining up the headshots. It was marginally easier with the Move controllers and pistols. What surprised me is how well the DualShock 4 worked. While I wouldn’t recommend playing the entire game with the standard controller, it did a good job.

I did encounter some trouble syncing up the Move controllers and then compounded the problem by attempting to fire up the Aim controller. I would suggest closing the game before switching devices.

If you are using the Move controllers then you handle locomotion by pointing a short distance ahead and teleporting to the desired location. If you’re using the other controllers you can also use normal analog stick movement, which I am happy to report did not give me any signs of nausea.

… It felt like I was in the arcades with the toy rifle attached to the cabinet …
So what about the game itself? You make your way to the origins of the radio announcement and have to fend off waves of enemies along the way. Most make a slow advance on your position while a few sprint and climb over obstacles but all can be dispatched with a single bullet to the head, with the exception of the helmet wearing undead.

The variety of enemies don’t change that much throughout the game but your firearms do. You’ll be able to pick up a nice variety of handguns and a few times in the campaign you even get your hands on a sniper rifle.

Now, this weapon and they way in which it’s used has to be the best part of the game. It felt like I was in the arcades with the toy rifle attached to the cabinet and able to look down the scope with amazing clarity.

Sadly, you cannot take the weapon with you and there aren’t enough opportunities to use it either. I could play an entire game with this gun which shows just how awkward and difficult to aim all of the other guns are.

Having to press a button to eject a clip from a pistol is a nice touch, but then having to make sure your gun is close enough to the holster so it reloads is a pain and something which I often forget to do until I hear the empty click of a wasted lined up shot.

You regain health by munching on cold, old, burger patties left in drawers, cupboards with dead people stuffed inside, and pretty much anywhere else you wouldn’t expect the food to be found.

You can pick up an assortment of other things and it would have been nice to use them as a weapon against the dead, but all you can do is inconsequentially hurl an object in their general direction.

The ending was okay if a little unsurprising. I would like to see some DLC or a sequel as there is plenty of promise to this game. One thing that I utterly dislike is the image used in the menu, I personally don’t mind the picture of a zombie with a torn and bloody face, but my young kids hate it.

… the environment is pretty in a desolate and rundown kind of way …
Visuals:
A few things in the hot blistering Arizona sun bother me. The first is the lack of any effects you would associate with a boiling hot day, there are no dazzling light reflections or sweltering heat hazes. This might be largely due to the hardware limitations of the VR headset but everything looks a bit too plain for my liking.

Basic car interiors are another thing that grinds my gears. They all look like placeholder graphics and are a bit of a disappointment. In fact, there are a few things like rubber ducks, computers, and suitcases that look basic and bland but you don’t really notice them when you have a horde of zombies advancing.

You are too busy trying to see if the tiny pixel-sized red-dot is on the zombie’s head to notice much else in the game. If you miss the head, which you will inevitably do quite often, then you will see the bullet slam into the background or, with any luck, tear off an enemy’s limb.

The rest of the game looks good and apart from when you are trying to aim at a long distance with a standard gun, the environment is pretty in a desolate and rundown kind of way. Arizona Sunshine also features some dark and gloomy sections where a flashlight is needed. This works very well and is one of the best parts of the game as there isn’t much light cast from the torch and so much of the screen is in darkness.

Audio:
What first smacks you in the ear canals is the voice of your character. I wasn’t expecting to hear him talk and it feels a little odd while in such an immersive perspective. What is said, however, is quite enjoyable and sometimes made me smile.

Everything from the groans of a zombie to the crack of a bullet sound okay. I was doubtful of any voice chat in the co-op mode, which I will elaborate on in a moment, but muddled through the experience with some comical hand movements regardless.

… an enjoyable, if somewhat short, zombie-filled VR experience …
Online/Multiplayer:
This game features an online co-op mode where you can play through the campaign or the horde mode. It works well aside from the bizarre arm and body movements of your comrade. When they move by teleporting it almost looks like a roll, which ends up looking quite comical

Conclusion:
Arizona Sunshine has one or two issues but it manages to drag itself beyond the minor gripes and rare bugs to deliver an enjoyable, if somewhat short, zombie-filled VR experience. I did have to reload a few games to get a torch or handle to reappear, for example. In one sad instance, I had to completely restart the game due to a glitch.

If some small scopes were added to a few guns, it might improve the fun factor for most players while tweaking the Aim controller sensitivity would make me want to come back for some fun in sun. This is a good game and should be considered by anyone who likes the genre.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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