The long-awaited VR zombie fest Arizona Sunshine was released December 6th for HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. It marks another step or maybe several steps up the ladder from previous virtual reality fps shooters. While the Brookhaven Experiment gives a solid experience it differs from Arizona Sunshine which delivers a lot of what one would expect from an FPS. One of the coolest things I noticed in the first few minutes of gameplay is the ability to search automobiles abandoned on the highway almost as you would in the real deal. Move too fast and miss some ammo. Don't open the right door or trunk and there goes another lost opportunity to stock up.
And of course, a bit of common sense rummaging too. If you see several cars in a group and a police car is among them which one would you be sure to search above all others? And it pays off too as looking into the trunk of real cop car might yield some goodies or ammo. The visuals were better than I expected. More like a mainstream non-VR title with a nice look to the real-time render. The ambiance was much improved with the Arizona sunshine seemly as hot as it looked. This title was impressive right out the gate in terms of visual quality for early VR. Like Solus you feel like you are in hostile environment.
The gameplay was good from the very beginning. The main menu is a safe house trailer type interior where you first experience the teleportation method and how to interact with objects including moving forward in the game. You select what looks like tape or old computer cartridges and place it into a machine that takes you to that selection such as Options, Horde or Campaign. From there you jump into the action by awakening in a cave and while it starts slow to get you acclimated it isn't long before you encounter your first swarm of flesh tearing, meat-eating zombies.
That first swarm was a tough one and I didn't survive it mainly out of purely bad gameplay on my part. I didn't fare much better on the second attempt either. Finally, I went as far back into a pile of cars as the game would let me which squeezed the advancing horde into a choke point between cars. I picked them off one and two at a time with head and upper body shots. This got the adrenalin pumping. The only thing missing was the smell of gunpowder and a real car to use for cover. As of this writing, I have never been so immersed in a VR first person shooter. They keep getting better as more FPS titles roll out and it may just become one of my favorite genres again. This title so far has allowed ample gameplay with a couple of critical point fights, i.e. the swarms that you must defeat to continue.
DEMANDS FOR DIRECT LOCOMOTION
Before the game had even launched there was an attempt by a few steam users to torpedo the release because the developers had not given in to their demands for direct locomotion providing only teleportation for navigation. They made it plain to anyone that teleportation was for wussies which the developers need to stop catering too. I guess the overwhelming 90% positive review rate and glowing reviews put a damper on their campaign of bullying the developers. I only bring this up because of the manner in which their demands were made and so far, how the developers have basically ignored them without showing any disrespect to the commenters. Why there is no direct locomotion is anyone's guess and it may be added later so this was a valid point. There are just better ways to get the developers attention.
I was just about to give up on FPS all together. Post-apocalyptic zombies are getting rather tiresome too but VR rekindled the fire and this title gives me what I expect. Arizona Sunshine raises the bar on VR FPS and so far has been an extremely enjoyable and gratifying experience. If FPS and VR is your thing then you are going to be in VR heaven with this title as the gameplay, visual quality and storyline work well together to produce a solid title that will be remembered for what it brought to VR First Person Shooters.
Steam Reviews: 90% Positive of 202 Reviews as of this writing.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord is an international award winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. M.D. is currently working on VR projects and characters. You can learn more about MD at his website.