To start off, it must be clear that I’m a real sucker for a good zombie killer. I may act like it’s not my cup of tea, but when push comes to shove, I’m right there picking up the latest zombie craze looking to save humanity and myself. It happened with Left 4 Dead on PC, Burn Zombie Burn on PSN, Call of Duty: World at War on PS3 and now finally, Zombie Apocalypse, another PSN installment. I consider myself a zombie fanatic, but that’s neither here nor there. We’re here to discuss Konami’s latest PlayStation Network title, Zombie Apocalypse.
Zombie Apocalypse starts off by allowing you to select between one of four main characters (think Left 4 Dead). Each character has their unique biography and stereotype that results in the way they carry themselves and celebrate within the game. The idea behind the game is to survive 55 days worth of zombie attacks. While this sounds easy enough, the odds are always being stacked against you as days push forward and you’re stuck wondering if you’ll ever truly survive.
The game play mechanics of Zombie Apocalypse follow the same guidelines as any other dual-analog shooter (Super Stardust HD). You use your left analog to maneuver around the level and your right analog acts as your weapons trigger and fires in whichever direction you push it. Easily enough your trigger buttons allow you to throw a C4-filled Teddy Bear to the zombie hoard in order to create quite the explosion. This teddy bear is pretty amusing in its poetic ramblings while the zombies decide to get a better look while crowding around. Unfortunately for them, the bear explodes resulting in limbs flying everywhere. Your L1 button allows you to attacks with your chainsaw in execution mode. Execution mode increases your score multiplier by three however it takes much longer to make a kill and thus leaves you susceptible to zombie attacks. R1 on the other hand gives you the ability to use a standard chainsaw attack with no added ability.
The teddy bears end up being a key component to your strategy within game play and in order to gain more bears to utilize, you must save civilians from zombies. Basically, two civilians will show up randomly during each segment and you’re tasked with making sure they make a clean getaway. Once saved, these thankful members of society drop a bear for you to capitalize on.
As you progress through each stage of the game, you have the opportunity to pick up other weapons ranging from shotguns to dual-SMGs. These weapons have a limited amount of ammo and once they run out, your weapon returns to the standard issue automatic rifle. One of the things that left me a little disappointed was that there was no reload involved for any weapon. You pretty much can shoot to your heart’s content. This took a little bit of skill away from the game, though there really isn’t much required to begin with.
With each passing, survived day, you’re introduced to a new type of zombie that helps keep the game interesting; however, after 55 levels of the same seven backdrops and only 5-6 different types of zombies, the entire game itself begins to feel a little stale. In order to prevent a full on stale adventure, the developers do take a step in the right direction to add a little flavor to the title via different modes of play throughout your 55 days. The two modes of play include blackout and chainsaw only. Blackout results in the entire screen being blacked out except for the surrounding area around your player. Chainsaw only is pretty self explanatory, so I’m not going to dive into it at all.
The multiplayer aspect of Zombie Apocalypse is where the game truly shines. So long as you can get a solid party of 3-4 players together, you’re in for some good old fashion zombie killin’ fun. Players are able to take part in offline multiplayer or online multiplayer, each hosting up to four players. One of the best additions to the multiplayer aspect is the ability to drop in and out of a game without it causing a pause in the action. This was a nice touch and people who purchase the game should be very pleased with it.
The graphics of Zombie Apocalypse are best described as a more realistic format of Burn Zombie Burn. While the visuals aren’t going to blow you away by no means, they hold their own in terms of entertainment value. As for the sounds of the game, things seem a little bit too generic. Sure, the scripted dialogue of each character will cause a smirk or two after every successful day, but by the 55th day, you’ve heard it all before.
Zombie Apocalypse retails on the PlayStation Network for a meager $9.99. While this may seem like a lot for a downloadable game, it’s worth the asking price so long as you and a few friends will get a couple of afternoons out of it. However, if you’re on your own and friends aren’t too high on your priority list, this may be one you feel the need to let go. It’s definitely not for the lone gamer at heart.