Zombie Apocalypse (PS3, Xbox 360) Review
Title: Zombie Apocalypse
Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment
Developer: Nihilistic Software
Rated: M for Blood, Gore, Language and Violence
It seems like over the last year or so there are zombies everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. On the television, radio, movies, print and, more recently, video games, there are zombies everywhere you look. Some might say there has been an oversaturation of zombie-related material but as far as I’m concerned this is simply preparation. Even if we don’t get overrun by zombies at least we get some good entertainment out of it – which is exactly what Nihilistic Software’s latest title, Zombie Apocalypse, is all about.
There’s not much to the story of the game other than something has caused an outbreak of zombies and they’re all out of brains. It’s up to you (and three others, either local or online) to battle the outbreak using a variety of weapons and environmental kills for fifty-five grueling, violent and absolutely bloody days. Gameplay is very similar to the popular Geometry Wars with the right stick shooting while the left stick moves the character. Zombies can and will latch on to you and you have to shake them off before it’s too late. In the PS3 version you can shake the controller to get them off while in the 360 version you’ll be frantically moving the left analog stick to get them away. Along the way you’ll also be helping other survivors escape via helicopter. Rescues are accomplished by protecting the survivor for a certain period of time, fending off any approaching zombies (and there will be a lot…a whole lot). For your reward they will drop down some zombie bait, which attracts any nearby undead then blows them up after a one-liner. It has to be a humiliating thing to die via exploding teddy bear, but that’s just me.
Presented from an isometric perspective, survivors will be running around dodging all types of zombies, each with their own unique set of abilities. Of course you have your standard zombies, but then you get guys like the kamikazes who have no problem blow themselves up to ruin your day. Other favorites include the shotgun-carrying sheriffs and knife-wielding grannies all attempting to eat your brains and flesh. This wide variety of enemies keeps thing interesting and require the player to be on the lookout at all times. So while you may not have to worry about whether or not a regular zombie gets to you, all it takes is one grab from the big boy zombie and you’re dead. And, as if that wasn’t enough going against you, players must also be aware of the radioactive zombies that hit later on in the game. Despite the large number of enemies you’ll have plenty of ammo to survive. You’ll pick up shotguns, explosives and, my personal favorite, the flame thrower, along with eight other weapons. Throughout your fifty-five day trek through hell you’ll only encounter seven different maps, so playing the game in one setting is pretty repetitive. Luckily, each map is thoughtfully done and provides plenty of ways to kill zombies, ranging from sending them into a jet engine to having them crushed by a car compactor. A lot of fun can be had with these kills, along with blowing up cars and explosives that are littered throughout the arena.
Zombie Apocalypse does offer various modes of gameplay that you unlock throughout the course of the main campaign. There are a total of seven of them, each adding a new aspect to gameplay. The first one you unlock is chainsaw-only mode, which are activated using the shoulder buttons. There are two types of chainsaw attacks; the standard does normal damage but leaves you exposed for a short period of time. Then there’s the execution attack in which you drive the chainsaw into your foe and up your multiplier by three, though you’ll be exposed for much longer periods of time. You will also unlock blackout levels where only the area surrounding your character is visible. There are plenty more, each adding a bit more to the replay value as you can play any level using these situations.
This apocalypse does have its flaws though, though the biggest offender is that the game can feel extremely repetitive. I had to play in 15-level increments because any period of time longer than that I can play blindfolded. Despite all of the various enemy types, having only seven maps is pretty disappointing. While each level does get increasingly harder, once you figure out the pattern of each zombie it doesn’t really matter. In the later levels you will probably find yourself getting frustrated at how many zombies you have to kill and the fact they’re radioactive does little to quell that. Playing this game by yourself is something I would not recommended unless you want to develop blisters on your thumbs. The online component is good but it’s also hard to find players willing to go the full campaign. The audio is pretty forgettable and while the dialogue is cute at first, after the third or fourth wave you will find yourself hating it. Despite having four separate characters they all do exactly the same thing with the exception of their winning celebration. Again, these get old after the second time you hear them. The graphics, however, are nicely done and everything looks appropriately gory and bloody.
Despite the repetitive nature of the game there is plenty to enjoy here. It may not be the most in-depth zombie game to be created but it harkens back to a simpler time when all you need was unlimited lives, plenty of ammo and a ridiculous number of enemies to kill. This is exactly what Zombie Apocalypse brings to the table and there are plenty of worse ways to spend the $10 (800MP) they’re asking for. For those looking for a pick up and play shooter, this is a great game. For those looking for something a little more in-depth, you might want to try the demo first.