Whilst shooting zombies in first-person action is something we see a LOT of in virtual reality, there are definitely some titles that do it better than others. Arizona Sunshine is one mighty fine example, with the 2016 release showcasing excellent shooting mechanics, wonderful visual design, and a thrilling campaign full of exciting set pieces. It really set the bar for what virtual reality titles could achieve at the time and put Vertigo Games on the map as one of the most exciting developers for the platform.
Now, seven years on, we have Arizona Sunshine 2, which takes everything that was so good about the original game and REALLY ups the ante. It does have some minor imperfections, but believe me, this is a PlayStation VR 2 title you won’t want to miss out on.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Arizona Sunshine 2 puts you back into the shoes of the unnamed protagonist from the first game… you know, the smart-ass jerk who seems to have an answer for everything but manages to be likable thanks to his brash personality and quick quips. After an exciting introduction that sees you pursuing a crashed helicopter, you hear a message: that the military are close to locating Patient Zero. Sounds like something you need to get involved in too, right? Well, you’ll also have a canine companion join you for the journey, with players encountering the lovable doggy Buddy in this helicopter. He doesn’t only make for good company but also has a few zombie-biting tricks to show off on your adventure together.
Buddy can help out in a variety of ways, with the player able to command him to attack a zombie, grab some nearby ammunition, grab key items from inaccessible areas, and so forth. He’s always ready to help out without the player giving commands too, with Buddy’s AI smart enough to ensure he’s always doing something effective. He’s a really neat addition to the game that helps give Arizona Sunshine 2 its own unique vibe when compared to its predecessor, and, of course, who doesn’t love a doggy in a video game?!
Of course, you’re equally as effective at taking out zombies, with a wide array of weapons to use when dealing with the undead threat. Pistols, machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, and even an array of melee weapons can all be used to dish out some damage, with each feeling weighty to use, packing some punch (you’ll notice zombies’ limbs blasting off with some shots), and embracing the Sense controllers’ adaptive triggers to add an extra sense of realism to their use. The haptic feedback of the controllers and headset is effectively integrated too, with each adding to the immersion when partaking in some of the game’s more exciting (and often deadly) sequences.
“The campaign is surprisingly meaty (it took me over ten hours to beat) and brings with it some wonderfully designed set pieces that really put your skills to the test, and believe me, there are SO many zombies to kill that you’ll constantly find your trigger finger itchy as you wait for the next undead head to pop.”
The weapon reloading mechanics have been refined this time around, with a greater emphasis placed on realistically loading up each weapon. This means ejecting empty magazines, manually inserting a new one, and loading your weapon to prep it for some zombie killing. It’s something we’ve seen in PLENTY of virtual reality shooters so it’s hardly revolutionary, but it does add to the realism when compared to the simpler process of the original game. It’s something I appreciated, with the intensity of rushing to load a weapon when a horde of zombies are on your tail adding to the thrills of the experience. And if you do mess up a reload and are scrambling to survive? It might sound frustrating, but it made for some of the more memorable moments of my playthrough.
I think the greatest strength of Arizona Sunshine 2 comes with just how good it feels to play. The campaign is surprisingly meaty (it took me over ten hours to beat) and brings with it some wonderfully designed set pieces that really put your skills to the test, and believe me, there are SO many zombies to kill that you’ll constantly find your trigger finger itchy as you wait for the next undead head to pop. But most importantly? It’s always fun. Lining up shots feels intuitive and authentic, whilst blasting through a whole group of zombies without missing a shot NEVER stops feeling rewarding. You’ll really feel the oomph of some weapons too – there’s nothing quite as delightful in the game as tearing through a horde of zombies with a mini-gun or blowing them apart with a well-timed shotgun blast. It’s brilliant to play, whilst the creative level design offers a good balance of exploration and gunplay as well as plenty of objects to interact with.
Best of all? You can play through the game in co-op, with the entire campaign playable with a friend. Whilst I haven’t beat the whole campaign in co-op just yet, it adds a whole new way to experience the zombie-killing thrills. You can be strategic and plot out plans to take them out from all angles, you can help each other out when in a sticky situation, or you can just go on mad killing sprees by facing the zombies head on like a pair of action heroes – there’s a surprising amount of depth to Arizona Sunshine 2’s co-op play, but there’s a good time to be had whatever way you approach it. And if you don’t fancy playing through the campaign again? You can dive into the game’s Horde Mode and take on waves of enemies together instead.
Check out some screenshots down below:
I’ve been happy to heap plenty of praise on Arizona Sunshine 2, but there were a few little issues that cropped up in my time playing. For one, I suffered a couple of crashes that would completely throw me out of the game, which was a little unusual. It only happened a few times, but it always came from out of nowhere. I also managed to get stuck in the environment on one occasion which forced a reload, whilst there were instances where I saw zombies seemingly fall through the map or get stuck in walls. It’s nothing game-breaking, but it shows that it could’ve benefited from a little bit more polish. It could be argued that the aesthetic of some levels could get a little bit samey too, whilst only having the one map for Horde Mode at launch is a bit disappointing. And the game’s crafting mechanics? They felt a bit too limited to make the most of in my playthrough.
It’s not perfect then, but that didn’t stop me from loving my time playing through Arizona Sunshine 2. It does so much right through the vast majority of its design, whilst it’s also a real looker – especially on PlayStation VR 2 with its striking visual detail across both environments and characters. I was constantly impressed by the scale of each locale and seeing these massive hordes of detailed zombies line up for me to tear apart, with Arizona Sunshine 2 not only a fantastic experience to play and look at, but also evidence of just how far virtual reality has come over the last few years.
Arizona Sunshine 2 Review
Arizona Sunshine 2 is a thrilling zombie escapade that easily stands out as one of the best titles available on PlayStation VR 2 right now. It improves upon the original in just about every way, whilst new additions such as the realistic reloading, your canine companion, and the co-op gameplay help make it even more exciting and immersive to play. Sure, it does have a few missteps here and there, but they’re minor issues in what is otherwise another brilliant release from the team at Vertigo Games.
Developer: Vertigo Games
Publisher: Vertigo Games
Platform(s): PlayStation VR 2 (Reviewed), Meta Quest 2|3, PC VR