By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Fans of Zombie shooters in the virtual reality front will find Zombie Gunship by Limbic Software very satisfying. It’s ported into a 3D battle royale for the Oculus Go and Gear VR. It became available June 1st in the Oculus Store and I have been enjoying it far too much in the past several weeks. I had to see how far I could get in about a month before writing this review.
I toyed with pretending to be Cyclops from the X-men by using the buttons on the side of the Gear VR (which I played in). With a proper controller, the experience is much better. In the vehicle, you are safe from these undead hordes, and blasting away with gleeful abandon! Precision aiming is required than to let the bullets spray all over. In the later stages, players might have to be careful about where they are aiming, lest they destroy the wrong thing!
I have yet to break past level three. It’s challenging when the zombies, true to form, come in hordes and they multiply faster than lemmings! The best part of this game is that you have a collection of weapons to choose from (i.e. buy) to make wiping away one or a bunch of these walking dead easy. Several plays are required in each level to accrue coins to buy upgrades, so you can inflict more damage, increase the speed of the primary weapon, and get more missiles. Supply drops help you reload on missiles and heat seekers (technically the dead are stone cold). There are a total of five missions to play, and they unlock upon clearing the prior level.
According to the marketing, the latter battle campaigns give players some control of the gunship—to swoop left or right. Sadly, this product is less like a flight sim and more like a classic shooter. A plane has exhibit some air turbulence. It cannot stay absolutely steady. Unlike a helicopter which can pitch and yaw, the VTOL craft must have some similar problems to make picking off tiny targets tough. I like to have some control of the plane too. Instead, it’s only the gun which is fully pivotable.
The zombies move fast and lurk in the shadows. To change positioning myself can offer better versatility. The fact they can hide requires players to switch view modes to look in the infrared or ultraviolet. Yes, this “Predator” mode is handy, but to learn how to use the controller to change modes requires practice since it handles everything players need to shoot them all down.
And just when you think the boss levels in Resident Evil were bad to take down, this game makes them seem simple in comparison. The stronger zombies can take the hurt and I had to make sure I was stocked up on the missiles to knock them down.
I had to pace out my plays since nausea gets to me after 30 minutes of hardcore gameplay. My smartphone drains fairly quickly too. The mobile VR technology is far from perfect for certain types of games, especially when motion-sickness is a concern, and thankfully this product handles this aspect with small doses of roller coaster action. Had there been more, it makes me glad I can handle it with an anti-nausea pill.
3½ Z’s out of 5