VR has sat in a bit of a weird place for the last few years. With so many different companies dipping their toes in the water, games like Half-Life Alyx have tried to bring the medium forward from gimmicks to something more.
Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded is a game out of time. Though it gets many of the main mechanics right, I can't help but feel like I'm wasting all that wonderful PSVR2 hardware chasing the feeling of playing in an arcade.
In a sense, this makes it a pretty welcoming PSVR2 launch title. It doesn't make too many design mistakes but you feel done with it mere hours after turning it on.
Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded, as the name suggests, is a part of the Zombieland universe. You, an unnamed survivor, somehow make your way into a base with Columbus, Wichita, Little Rock, and Tallahassee, the central crew from the movies. They are characterised decently well but this game does not care about the story.
This base of operations serves purely to engross you in the universe and let you kill zombies. In this way, it is a game almost entirely reliant on the gimmick of VR. The pure star appeal of having a Jesse Eisenberg sound-alike captures what exactly this game is trying to do - it wants to appeal to a casual fan to get a few hours out of them.
This being said there are worse ways to spend your opening hours with PSVR2. It starts off poorly but makes it for it quickly as the game finally starts to get going.
Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded has a simple but effective reload system to get through your mags. You simply push down on the right analogue stick to eject your mag and slam your gun down to your belt to put a fresh one in. The game doesn't go for ultra-realism but it really doesn't need to.
Your pistol has unlimited mags but your primary weapon has limited ammo - this means you have to prioritise the most damaging shots against the most enemies. This allows the game to throw tonnes at you at the same time, in the hopes you will catch on. This is when the game is at its best.
To make this system even better, getting two headshots or a hit off with your primary slows the game down, giving you more points and time to line up your next shot. In a good level, you could spin ten of these effects together for huge combos and tonnes of points. It's a system that is infectiously fun when you get the hang of it.
Loadout and get out
To add some replayability, you earn a currency throughout each level that can upgrade weapons and buy new perks. These could make some effects last longer or get rid of some of the hardest zombies. They will affect your score giving you a reason to make things a bit harder. You also earn new weapons throughout each of the main difficulties, rewarding you with better weapons when you do well.
Ultimately, this makes going back to earlier levels much easier - a fun way of showing you the progress you have already made. As you get through the game, new types of enemies are thrown at you. Starting with simple zombies, you then come across enemies that throw items, huge zombies that you shouldn't shoot, and more. These add to a repetitious arcade that incentivises running through it over and over again.
Unfortunately, though Headshot Fever Reloaded is only a few hours long, even this can get a little boring. Having a few friends over to take turns is a nice way of socialising but it rarely gets any deeper than the first few levels. There's a fun light shooter here but it never amounts to much more than that.
A graphic game
Visually, Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded is interesting, with an almost graphic novel style. Brains pop and blood sprays everywhere. The adaptive triggers and headset feedback only add to this, making every kill feel meaty and harsh. The game is at its very best in the middle of a big combo, reaching down to grab your shotgun and blast away the next baddie coming towards you.
Unfortunately, the speedrun style of levels often slows you down more than it should. When a good run takes under a minute to complete, you never really get to think about your next move. The gameplay itself is perfectly serviceable and often a rush but the surrounding factors rarely result in more than a short burst of fun.
A copy of Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded was provided by the publisher