Arizona Sunshine 2 picks up almost straight after the end of the first VR zombie shooter with our wisecracking but unnamed protagonist waking up to see a military chopper crashing nearby, thus setting off a quest to find Patient Zero and rather more importantly, find anyone else who may be alive. Between you and those objectives? Well, plenty of zombies to blast into oblivion, of course!
You won’t be going alone on this quest, as within a few minutes of starting the game you meet Buddy, your AI companion dog for the game. He is quite the bestest boy ever, chasing after zombies (or Freds as they are known in game), collecting keys for you and generally being adorable. For an AI companion he’s quite smart and automatically attacks the Freds nearest to you, though you can command him yourself to go rip the throat out of a specific Fred. He by far the most useful weapon you have, but that’s not to say the rest of the guns are rubbish.
From pistols to shotguns, miniguns to uzis, all the weapons handle exceptionally well and you can pull off headshots from quite a distance. Reloading the weapons is fiddly at first – you have to eject the magazine, grab a new one with your other hand, shove it in the gun, then finalise the loading with yet another action. It’s bit like playing Twister with just your fingers in the Sense controllers as you have to press and hold multiple buttons all at once. I frequently dropped the gun mid-reload at the beginning of the game, but you do eventually get the hang of it.
Thankfully you’ve got time to learn. The Freds themselves are generally slow moving, although your do get ’28 Days Later’ running zombies further on in the game, and the usual armoured and tank sized zombies who take multiple hits. There’s a good amount of dismemberment so you can shoot of legs or arms if you want to slow the Freds down, and attacking them with one of the an axe or meat cleaver is especially squelchy. You can also craft land mines, two sorts of grenades and molotovs.
The campaign is quite long for a VR game, clocking in at around 12 hours and taking you through various locations. The protagonist does that thing that only characters in single player video games do thoughout: talking to himself. Thankfully the script is quite dry and he’s not constantly saying things like “Hmm, maybe I should check that area” and spends more of his time reminiscing where dog testicles go after pooches are neutered, or making jokes about 1980s classic movie Weird Science. Just for once I didn’t hate a character chatting to himself all the time.
The game also manages to make you feel like you’re the only one alive after a zombie apocalypse, mostly during the quieter moments when you find yourself rummaging through empty hotels or trash cans for supplies, things you would actually be doing in that scenario. On the other end of the scale, there’s plenty of set pieces where you get to mow down a lot of Freds and it’s rather glorious.
So, squelchy head shots, atmospheric storytelling, the occasional chuckle, a dog you can pet, really good gun play, and you can pick up a dismembered arm and slap a zombie round the head with it. What’s not to love? Well…
Technically the game is a bit of a mess, from frame rate drops to incredibly low poly backgrounds including some cliffs that would look bad in a PSVR 1 game – this game has to scale to standalone headsets, but even so. It also crashes quite a lot – six times during my play through including a time in which a train was crashing in the game, which somehow pushed me under the map so I could see the train above me, and then when it finished exploding the game crashed. There’s also something very weird going on with your head in that if you bump against the top of a door frame you will get stopped, but you can also shove your head inside a pipe or some other part of the background and actually see the polygons inside, or in some cases the screen just goes black.
This is issue most prevalent during climbing sections. During an early area in the Sewers you have to climb monkey-bar style over a gap, but every time I reached for the handholds and gripped, my head popped through the ceiling and all i could see was black. I was being pursued by zombies at the time, so I couldn’t see or do anything while they took bites of out my legs until, after the eighth attempt, I just turned off the climbing in the menus. I’m not sure if that feature is there for comfort or because the developers know the climbing is very broken, because I had the same issue clambering Nathan Drake style around a crashed train.
It’s not just your head that has dodgy collision detection; zombies can walk straight through what are clearly solid panels in a hospital and Buddy can frequently be found with head shoved through a wall. My height also changed occasionally, where jumping out of train in a train yard knocked a good two feet off my character, which magically returned when I climbed a ladder, but then vanished again shortly after.
There’s also some very odd design choices: You can craft molotovs and other weapons but only at crafting stations, of which there about four in the entire game, and you can only hold two items. You may have enough crafting materials to make ten landmines but can you store them? Nope, just one slotted inside each of your wrists. Now, I know how many landmines I can slot inside my wrist in real life is zero, so I’m not really asking for the game to ask my suspend my disbelief any more than it already does. You’ve given me more than enough crafting materials to make fifty of the damn things let me make them!
There’s also no tutorials on how to load the weapons so after emptying a new gun you have to wave it around your face looking for the right things to push, pull or twist, and that’s really not ideal when there’s a swarm of the undead heading straight towards you.
You can play the entire campaign with an online co-op buddy and the game is cross-play across PC, Quest, Pico, and PSVR 2 so there should be a decent pool of players to help out. There’s also a horde mode, and while it’s fun, there’s just one map, which is rather inconsequentially.