Shooters and VR headsets go together like peanut butter and chocolate. In order to stick out you need to do something special. Luckily Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded does just that.
It’s a bit unfair, but Zombieland: Headshot Fever has had a few attempts at a rail VR shooter now, and finally they got it right. The previous game was not well received due to poor visuals, short gameplay, and overall just being a basic rail shooter. Reloaded took that criticism and improved all of it.
Zombieland Headshot Fever Reloaded
Developed By: XR GAMES
Genre: Action / Shooter
Release Date: February, 21 2023
Visually the game has been revamped with a new cell shaded art style, which greatly improves the aesthetic of the game. You can tell, without this art style the game would oddly look like a previous generation title, I mean we have that example on other headsets. The new art style and slightly improved performance is like playing an entirely new game.
The game doesn’t use the voices from the movie (with exception of Abigail Breslin), but you’d honestly not know the difference because it’s done really well. The comedy of the franchise is in full effect, and the story of being in a zombie tournament is just outrageous enough to fit right in. All the dialogue lines up perfectly with what you’d expect from the characters, along with their attitudes.
Overall it feels like a whole new game.
Unlike some of the other ports to PSVR2, Zombieland actually utilizes some of the hardware’s new features. The Sense triggers will weigh and feel different with the assortment of guns you use, and the haptic feedback actually “thumps” with the guns as well. It legit feels like holding and shooting guns with the controllers. The rumble in the headset is actually used rather well too; not only with taking hits, but alerting you when objects are thrown or you’re in danger.
The game works as a rail shooter where you simply clear an area then you look in the direction you need to go next and automatically get taken there. Overall it creates a very fast paced chaotic move through levels, but it’s also a little too swift for me sometimes. There are “collectable” items in levels, along with TP (Toilet Paper) bouncing off zombies, which is used to upgrade guns and perks. Sometimes you clear an area and want to clean up these items but the game jumps to the next segment before you’re ready, simply because you looked at the objective.
The speed is what makes the game so fun though.
Loading into a level is swift and takes no time, and each level is only a minute or two to complete even for slower runs. So even if you do miss some things, or want to collect more TP, you can quickly redo things and learn as you go. This makes repeating missions extremely thrilling as you try to pop off headshots and decrease your time.
Time is what the game is all about. There isn’t a point system, instead everything is about beating time objectives on every level. Headshots will toss out TP, and multiple headshots in a row will create adrenaline which slows down time. At the end of the mission the amount of adrenaline you achieved will drop your total time, so the levels are about speed and accuracy.
Each level has basic zombies, but also a few others. Throwers will throw objects at you such as cans, arms, and even dildos in one level. You can point at the object and shoot it to deflect, or get a bonus for taking them out before they throw things. You also have bigger zombies that take a lot more ammo to kill, fast zombies which will jump all around and run at you super fast, sporty zombies which will hype up all the zombies around it, and screamers which call for backup. Most of the special zombies can be taken out before they do their thing, which makes learning levels all the more important. For example a screamer will have circles around her and if you headshot her before she screams she will choke and you can clear the area much faster.
In order to somewhat combat the short gameplay, new content was added to the PSVR2 version of the game. This includes expanded weapons, new story content, and some additional training ground challenges. However, a good amount of the content comes from replaying missions over and over to beat time scores, and then additional harder challenges unlock as “B Side” missions.
Gameplay wise Zombieland is a perfect example of arcade shooters done right.
The gameplay is pretty basic overall, but it’s perfected in a way to be insanely fun and in your face. I never got aggravated even on harder missions, and I was always thinking what can I do better? How do I go faster? How do I perfect my aiming? Aiming is super fun because the guns aim pretty realistic, at least the handgun. Looking down the iron sites and noticing you basically have to aim like a real gun, instead of just aiming in the general direction, is pretty cool. Popping off several headshots makes you feel great, and pushing through chaotic sequences makes you feel like you did something great.
To reload instead of just aiming at the floor and pressing a button, you have to flick the thumb stick down which will eject the magazine and then you have to “slam” your gun down on floating new ammo at your chest area. At first it felt odd, but after getting used to it, it was really easy to start a flow and be quick about it. I could reload both guns in both hands without much thought behind it, and I didn’t need to worry about accidentally aiming too low and reloading my gun.
My major gripe about gameplay, is there is no option to change the weapon hold button. In other games I can switch which button holds my objects/weapons from the rear trigger, to the top trigger. Holding a gun with the rear trigger and trying to aim it, then shooting with the top trigger is just not comfortable to me and I wish we had some type of button mapping to change it. And to be honest there is no real reason for this to even be a thing. Your second hand does nothing else but hold a second gun, so I don’t understand why it isn’t just automatically locked in holding the gun to begin with.
Other than that though the gameplay is so swift and clean that it’s exciting getting to new levels, or learning levels enough to get rather difficult challenges completed. This is a game that takes practice so you can’t just power your way through all the objectives and be done.
Overall the game offers a robust revamp of the original game and it’s a truly new and better experience on PSVR2, which showcases PSVR2 can get better ports of games. The revamped visuals and added content make Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded the ultimate rail shooter experience.
If you haven’t already, check out our full review of the PSVR2.