All Zombies Must Die!|
Well it seems that zombies are here to stay in one form or another and developer Doublesix delivers another dose of zombie slaying with the release of All Zombies Must Die! for the PlayStation 3. Admittedly I never tried my zombie dispatching skills out in its predecessor, Burn Zombie Burn, but after watching videos I quickly got an idea of what was in store for me going into this review.
Unlike its predecessor, All Zombies Must Die!, is more complex than it seems at first glance. The story follows four survivors who have to work together in the town of Deadhill during a zombie apocalypse. You can play as Jack the Gamer, his ex-girlfriend Rachel, Brian the seemingly mad scientist and last but not least Luxo the Rastafarian alien. Starting out, you get to control Jack who gets to go all Bruce Campbell with his shotgun on the zombie hoards in a top down shooter fashion.
All Zombies Must Die features a twin-stick controller layout that is super easy to pick up on. Players move their chosen character around with the left analog stick while aiming 360 degrees with the right stick. Each character has their own go to weapon such as Jackís shotgun and Luxoís sword. At first I thought that the gameplay was too easy, even with the constant threat of zombies popping up literally everywhere. It wasnít until they started throwing in runner zombies and big fat toxic zombies that I realized that it wasnít going to be a complete walk through the mall.
To make things more interesting and not just another twin stick shooter, All Zombies Must Die features some RPG elements such as quests and character leveling. By killing enemies, completing quests and collecting loot from car trunks and the sort, you gain experience towards leveling up. As you level you gain skill points that you can use to increase your health, speed and damage levels at your base of operations. There are even some crafting elements that I found enjoyable especially when I combined wood with a shotgun to create the Dragonís Breath shotgun that does fire damage to enemies. To create new weapons and special items you have to complete special drop quests by defeating enemies certain ways such as setting zombies on fire and gunning them down to get a cell phone back. If leveling and creating new weapons are not enough there are plenty of power-ups to be found such as shields and speed boosts.
What really ties All Zombies Must Die Together is its graphics. The whole experience is very lighthearted and funny yet still retains enough head removing with a shotgun fun that I enjoy in an arcade shooter. Even the titleís foreboding yet colorful cel-shaded environments and characters doesnít stop this title from having fun with momentary pools of blood and carnage. I also love the little visual details like the runner zombie wearing jogging gear and the fire effects as well as shadowing. All Zombies Must Die also features several horror staple locations like a shopping mall, suburban neighborhood and even a police station.
To add to the somewhat campy nature of All Zombies Must Die there are plenty of horror themed music tracks including one that you will recognize almost immediately albeit in a slightly altered version. There is much in the way of scaring you in All Zombies Must Die and there are no vocals to be found as all information is done through text bubbles and pop-ups. I do however love the sound effects from the zombies as well as the weapons. I love the satisfying boom from the shotgun (probably the best gun in the game) and more importantly the sound of ricocheting bullets when going up against armored zombies.
Mowing down zombie hoards may be fun as a solo act but letís be honest here. Getting a few of your buddies together to deal out some undead justice is a lot more fun. While All Zombies Must Die doesnít have the scares that say Left 4 Dead does, itís fast paced and humorous action should appeal to most zombie fans. There are a few things that make working together more rewarding and challenging at the same time. For one, youíll need good communication to share health pickups and power-ups and itís also fun to work together to royally destroy the undead with clever traps. You also have to be careful as the game allows friendly fire by default. All Zombies Must Die lacks any online play, so your coop time will have to be spent ala couch. You can however see where you rank in the world thanks to the leaderboards.
As much as I seem to be overloaded with the amount of zombie media out now, All Zombies Must Die!, really held my interest much longer than I thought it would. Itís good old-fashioned enjoyable zombie slaying fun with plenty of humor to go around. Doublesix took their previous endeavor and made something even better by adding RPG elements.
This is one zombie slaying adventure that Iím glad I didnít miss.