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School Girl/Zombie Hunter (PS4) Review

December 1, 2017 | Posted by Marc Morrison
School Girl/Zombie Hunter
3
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School Girl/Zombie Hunter (PS4) Review  

I’ve never played an OneChanbara game, the gameplay always looked bad, the conceit of the series was pandering, and the graphics look incredibly ancient. While School Girl/Zombie Hunter (SGZH) isn’t an “official” OneChanbara game, it comes from the creator/developers of the series, Tamsoft, so “yeah”, it’s an OneChanbara game. And wouldn’t you know, this game shares all the same problems as I imagined an OneChanbara game would, only with a few more hurdles thrown in.

To start with, the biggest change from a typical OneChanbara game from this one, is that your character starts off wearing clothes. Yes, the girls clothes only come off after receiving some damage from zombie attacks, or you can literally press a button and your character will throw off her outer outfit. The outfit will then sparkle for a short time and zombies will attack it, instead of you.

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Other than that, the game kind of controls how you expect. You can run, dodge, shoot your guns, reload said guns, and a really slow (but generally invincible) melee attack as you progress through the levels.

The default controls really bear mentioning, since they are awful. The default is L1 is jump, L2 is run. O is for your melee attack and X is zoom in for sniper scopes. WHO THOUGHT OF THIS?! After I died on the first mission twice, I had to go in and manually change the controls to something approaching human by putting run on X, jump on O, melee attack on L2 and zoom on L1. This makes the game bearable…kind of.

The basic structure of SGZH involves you picking a mission and then trying to do it. There are a few mission types but these usually break into “kill everything”, base defense, sniper type, and a few awful boss fights.

There are really only 6 types of zombies in the game, which makes the slogging campaign a joy to get through. There are basic walker zombies, zombies that crawl on the ceiling and have Licker-style tongues, bizarre human Catdog zombies that are low on the ground and sprint at you, bigger zombies (that take a bit more damage), cop zombies that shoot slowly at you, and boss zombies that are huge and take a lot of punishment.

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Zombie variants including orange flashing zombies, who explode when you kill them, or green flashing ones who detonate a poison crowd when blown up. Occasionally a zombie will be a slightly different shade of green which denotes that they will drop loot once they are killed. Also, there is a red type, which rushes at you very fast, so they are the only real dangerous ones, but they don’t show up too often.

Loot drops in the game but most of it doesn’t feel that impactful. Guns are divided into: Assault Rifle, Handgun, Sniper Rifle, Shotfun, SMG, and Launcher (Rocket Launcher). Guns have different stats like attack, burst, reload speed, capacity and accuracy. A certain weapon might have higher attack and reload speed but not have a high capacity, or vice versa. There are always trade-offs with weapons, and there isn’t anything super powered that I found, aside from the dismemberment weapons which blow apart limbs on zombies but don’t deal any actual damage.

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In SGZH there are five girls for you to play as, Sayuri, Risa, Mayaya, Enami, and Rei. Each has their own ability, like Rei’s melee attack doesn’t cost stamina, or Sayuri’s skill can restore downed teammates without the use of a resurrection item. In single player, Mayaya is the most useful because she can find the hidden bat zombies who drop rare stuff when killed, however in multiplayer Sayrui reigns supreme with his healing talent. Aside from the specific talents, all the girls play the same, and there isn’t any difference between them.

Playing the game on single player is generally a cakewalk for most of it. The zombies are extremely slow, and easy to kill, save for a few of the actual hard ones, like a boss, or the red variant. If you have a dismemberment Assault Rifle, you can breeze through almost every level, ones that don’t require a Sniper Rifle or another specific weapon, with ease because of how slow the zombies are. You won’t have to use any of your limited items like grenades or trip wire mines, and even health kits aren’t really needed, unless you get into a buggy situation…which does happen. In two different levels, I was playing with AI teammates and the teammates got stuck in rooms. Not just stuck, but they completely ceased to move. In the first instance, I just cleared the level myself, since 90% of the levels are a joke. In the other instance, the teammate just magically spawned next to me, after I went halfway across the building.

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Multiplayer is a different beast however, and one that is barely functional. The first issue is, the game is really laggy, both for me and the friend I was trying to play with. It wasn’t completely unplayable, but at least a half dozen times, there would be a lag spike, and I would either end up dead, or there would be 5 zombies surrounding me and hitting me.

Multiplayer zombies also act very differently compared to their single player counterparts. For one, they constantly run at you, especially exploding versions of the Catdog zombies. You can quickly get swarmed by them and taken out because of the sheer numbers of them. That’s not to say it’s like 50 zombies at once, this isn’t a Dead Rising game, but it’s more than the game can really handle.

This led to the actual only fun time I had in the game where I would try to break the mission in order to survive. One mission was on a rooftop of the school which was a long rectangle with three benches on top. The first few times my friend and I tried to do it “straight”, we died because the green-explosion zombies were relentless about coming at you. We then discovered if you jumped on the benches, the zombies couldn’t actually attack you. They might get in a lucky swipe or two, but by and large we were invulnerable from this position.

Another level had us in a baseball field full of zombies. He went off to run around, shoot the zombies and play the game like normal. I, however, stumbled upon, just standing behind these funky seats on the field prevented the zombies from even seeing me. I spent 9 minutes just watching him kill zombies and I listened to a podcast until time was up. I should again note, breaking the game in this fashion was about my only enjoyment of it. Well this, and I the music is catchy in an early Capcom sort of way.

The last thing I’ll mention is the graphics which are fugly. This game is on a PS4 with a bold “Unreal Engine 4” splash screen when you start it up, and it is legitimately one of the ugliest games I’ve seen in years. It looks like a low-budget PS3 game, or even a PS2 game. I’m serious when I say that I think State of Emergency had more going on with its graphics and that game is 15 years old. The areas in this game are fairly large, but the zombie models are basic, there’s never a ton of them on screen. It’s not like there is a large amount of physics on screen, or bodies piling up, or a lot of destructible environments. It’s just kind of an ugly game, by and large, and the few cheesecake shots of the various girls isn’t exactly thrilling.

3
The final score: review Bad
The 411
My time spent School Girl / Zombie Hunter was split between boredom and frustration. The single player is braindead easy while the multiplayer is an unbalanced, lag-filled mess. It’s not a fun game, by and large, and is just kind of cheaply made. It does have good music, and isn’t as perverted as I imagined it be, but it’s still not worth your time, unless you are a die-hard fan of the series.
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